Crafty Screenwriting: Writing Movies That Get Made

Amazon Price: $20.99 $9.50 You save: $11.49 (55%). (as of November 30, 2017 11:26 PM – Details). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

The most innovative and creative screenwriting book yet, from an author who knows first-hand what it takes to get a movie made.

Based on an award-winning website hailed as "smart enough for professional screenwriters and accessible enough for aspiring screenwriters", Crafty Screenwriting is the first book not only to offer a successful screenwriter's tricks of the trade, but to explain what development executives really mean when they complain that the "dialogue is flat," or "the hero isn't likeable." Fresh, provocative, and funny, Alex Epstein diagnoses problem that other screenwriting books barely address, and answers questions they rarely ask, like "Why is it sometimes dangerous to know your characters too well before you start writing," or "Why does your script have to be so much better than the awful pictures that get made every day?" As a development executive who has accepted and rejected countless screenplays, and a produced screenwriter himself, Epstein can take you into the heart of the most important question of all: "Is this a movie?" A crucial book for anyone who has ever wondered what it takes to get their movie made.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; 1st edition (October 8, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805069925
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805069921
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15 ounces

Customer Reviews

Could be one of the best investments you make.

One person found this helpful.
 on January 18, 2016
By Amazon Customer
In recent months I’ve shifted from learning how to write scripts to learning how to sell them. Writing is hard, selling is harder. I’ve also reached the point where any time I run across a book about screenwriting and the business I check IMDBPRO so see if the author has credits. This author has a long list of credits. With a few exceptions such as John Truby and Robert McKee on story, I am only interested in books by people with real experience in the industry. It appears that almost anyone can read some books about screenwriting and set themselves up as a guru. One of Epstein’s ideas is that your title and log line are key elements in the selling process. I just finished writing a query letter based on that notion so we’ll see if it works. Keep in mind that you will probably have to write many query letters before you get a hit- direct mail returns are 2% on average.

A movie that gets made, or one to make yourself.

 on November 2, 2013
By Jackie Smalls
Don’t get me wrong, I would have no problem with a big studio coming to snatch a script out of my hand in exchange for some filthy lucre, but I am more interested in making them myself.

Practical information without arrogance.

 on March 24, 2014
By Amazon Customer
This book presents practical information coming from someone who has obviously “been there – done that”. It is what a writer needs to know from a first-hand source – and not some college professor who has an uncompleted novel somewhere in the bottom drawer of his desk. This book smacks of realism – and I would rather know the stark and brutal truth than to waste my time doing stupid things that will not help me to accomplish my mission – to write a successful commercially viable screen play adaptation of my own novel. The advice should keep my head on firmly and my feet nailed to the ground – not trapped in self-indulgent denial of the the way things are in the real world of the commercial production of movies. I am grateful that Alex Epstein took the time to write it. Even his writing feels super streamlined and efficient. I read it fast…….just got that vibe from his style.

Good job Alex Epstein

 on December 15, 2013
By mrphyjammusashi
I think I’ve read about every book on screenwriting, and almost all were worthless, and for the most part, were written by persons that make their living writing about writing instead writing screenplays, and many of them had a bad attitude. This book was different, for it gives some practical advice, and Alex Epstein is a witty guy. I read it through once, then turned back to page one and started reading it again, if that tells you anything. One of the best pieces of advice is to use a script consultant after you have polished your screenplay. I found Barb Doyan of, and she is so insightful. She is an IMDB credited writer, director, and editor, and she only charges $75 per evaluation. I would never query a script again without sending it to Barb first.

The Business of the Craft

15 people found this helpful.
 on June 28, 2005
By Ars Gratia Artis
It’s show business, folks. And in Alex Epstein’s book, “Crafty Screenwriting” the emphasis is on the word “business”. As someone who has been a development executive, Epstein reminds writers of the bigger picture: a screenplay is just one element in a deal. The screenplay doesn’t get made until other elements come together in a package that includes a producer, a director and the star and serious money. He urges the aspiring screenwriter to write his story with the goal of making it an effective selling tool, a catalyst to getting a deal done. Otherwise the chances of the script actually seeing the projector light in the darkness of a movie theater are slim to none.


 on June 6, 2014
By Kindle Addict
This is a brilliant guidebook, and I constantly felt Alex was talking to me one on one, hand on my shoulder. Answered a lot of my doubts in technique, and gave some rather numbing and blunt account of what I am setting myself up for. The best piece though w

For the advanced screenwriter

One person found this helpful.
 on October 30, 2012
By Marty Nemko
If I were teaching Screenwriting, I’d assign four books in this order:

Simply put – I’m glad I bought this book.

12 people found this helpful.
 on January 30, 2005
By Yeah
I’m completely new to the “craft” of screenwriting, and I think there’s nothing wrong with a book that starts at square one for people like me. I think the book is well-written, and it seems to have been carefully proofread and edited (you’d be surprised by the mistakes I’ve found in other books). I like how Epstein talks about both the business side of writing and selling screenplays as well as the actual skills and strategies you need to write them. I need to know about both. He makes his points clearly and concisely – he doesn’t use five pages to say something that can be said on one page. Makes for a quicker read, without sacrificing information.

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