Snyder, Blake. Save the Cat!

Studio City, CA: Michael Wiese Productions, 2005.

The late Blake Snyder was one of the most successful screenwriters of the past few decades, at least in terms of sales of scripts for “genre” films. The subtitle is “The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need,” and it’s hardly that, but it’s definitely worth reading. (Syd Field’s books come much closer to that description, and Snyder recommends them, too.)

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Published in: on 2 May 2018 at 10:04 am  Leave a Comment  
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Swierczynski, Duane. Fun and Games.

NY: Mulholland Books, 2011.

This is the first volume in the author’s rather off-the-wall “Charlie Hardie” trilogy, and it’s a doozy. Charlie, now around forty, was never actually a cop but he used to work with the Philadelphia PD on legally questionable crime-fighting assignments. Then everything blew up (almost literally) and his partner (together with his wife and kids) was massacred by a drug gang and Charlie’s own wife and son are in Witness Protection while Charlie himself scratches out a living around the country as a house-sitter.

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Published in: on 18 June 2017 at 10:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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Leonard, Elmore. Get Shorty.

NY: Delacorte, 1990.

Leonard is justifiably highly regarded as the author of a couple of dozen generally first-rate crime novels, and they’re all a lot of fun (sometimes viciously so), but this relatively light-hearted caper is still arguably his best. There’s a lot of Damon Runyon in it, in fact.

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Published in: on 24 March 2014 at 5:40 am  Leave a Comment  
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Fraser, George MacDonald. The Hollywood History of the World, from One Million B.C. to Apocalypse Now.

NY: Morrow, 1988.

Any book which undertakes to argue the author’s choice of the best or worst of anything has a good shot at being a lot of fun — and an even better shot when the author is a very knowledgeable, highly opinionated, and notably talented wordsmith. Fraser is best known for his “Flashman” comic-historical novels — highly regarded for their detailed accuracy — but he was also an experienced and professional playwright and screenplay writer. And in this volume he considers how history has been treated in the (mostly) English-language films of Hollywood and Britain.

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Published in: on 17 May 2011 at 5:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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