Essentials of Screenwriting: The Art, Craft, and Business of Film and Television Writing

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Hollywood's premier teacher of screenwriting shares the secrets of writing and selling successful screenplays
Anyone fortunate enough to win a seat in Professor Richard Walter's legendary class at UCLA film school can be confident their career has just taken a quantum leap forward. His students have written more than ten projects for Steven Spielberg alone, plus hundreds of other Hollywood blockbusters and prestigious indie productions, including two recent Oscar winners for best original screenplay-Milk (2008) and Sideways (2006).

In this updated edition, Walter integrates his highly coveted lessons and principles from Screenwriting with material from his companion text, The Whole Picture, and includes new advice on how to turn a raw idea into a great movie or TV script-and sell it. There is never a shortage of aspiring screenwriters, and this book is their bible.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Revised edition (June 29, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452296277
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452296275
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces

Customer Reviews

Direct, no nonsense, meaningful writing

 on October 12, 2017
By j.v.v
This is among the top three most useful books I have read on writing, maybe the most useful. Years into writing a novel that kept branching further and further out out of my control, it occurred to me to rewrite it as a screenplay outline. Having to imagine all scenes as visual and contributing to a particular conclusion helped me to greatly pare material away and reign in one pre-dominant theme as a through-line.

Any new screenwriter would be smart to get Walter’s book and learn from his wit …

One person found this helpful.
 on October 7, 2017
By Sonya
I got this book because I took Richard Walter’s class at UCLA. I learned so much from the book and his lectures. Any new screenwriter would be smart to get Walter’s book and learn from his wit and experience.

Useful, Informative and a few good laughs, enjoy.

One person found this helpful.
 on October 12, 2014
By Anthony R. Kassel
I enjoyed the read so much I bought a second copy for a friend. Mr. Walter also has some great youtube videos.

This book saves time, money and frustration!

 on April 13, 2015
By L.J. O'Neal
I absolutely LOVE this book. I believed that I’ve saved so much time and money by reading this book and putting Professor Walter’s suggestions into practice. Highly recommended.

Just Buy it now.

 on April 19, 2016
By Panos
That’s exactly what the title says, the ESSENTIALS of screenwriting. There are many myths in what is important in screenwriting. Richard Walter destroys them and teaches you how to think in the write way if you want to realise what GOOD MOVIE is. Don’t read any other book for screenwriting before you read Richard Walter – Essentials of Screenwriting and Aristotle – Poetics.

Very informative. Highly recommend.

 on December 8, 2016
By Lynnann Lane
The chapter breakdown of information made it easy to research and find just what I was looking for. Plus, I liked the fact I was able to gather information on both features and television pilot scripts. Very informative. Highly recommend.

Five Stars

 on November 3, 2017
By Chris Penney
great book for any film student.

Review of Essentials

One person found this helpful.
 on September 6, 2011
By JennBrown
Walter’s book is extremely helpful to both amateur and professional screenwriters tasked with writing a script. His instructions and advice for formulating the most effective screenplay are clear and concise. However, unlike many textbooks that successfully accomplish that successfully supply the necessary information, Walter’s book does it in a fun, interesting way as his text is riddled with anecdotes and bits of humor. Also, you know you are getting your moneys worth because as a student of Richard Walter I can say that you are getting the same information as he gives in his classes for a FRACTION of the price!

Excellent Writing Resource

One person found this helpful.
 on July 24, 2013
By Janet
Richard Walter puts it all out there for screenwriters. He gives amazing tips, practical advice and stories to back up what he is suggesting writers do. He’s insightful, intelligent and easy to follow. I enjoy the book and have made tons of highlights. He keeps it real and it’s a book worth having on your tablet or library shelf if you’re serious about screenwriting and the business of Hollywood.

Five Stars

 on April 13, 2017
By Rachel & Henry
Good read. Bought it for a class but learned a lot from it too!

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