Friday, October 10, 2008

Fully Booked

Two new screenwriting books are on the market. You may have seen them mentioned here and there. But they deserve another plug for a number of reasons, namely if you’ve forgotten to buy a copy or if you’re on the fence about whether to stump up the cash for yet another screenwriting book.

The good news is that neither fall into the ‘yet another screenwriting book’ category. One is a ‘how to get ahead’ manual and the other details ‘what the process is actually like’. They don’t tell you how to write or what to write. They simply inform you of the basic practicalities and the absolute essentials of what being a writer is all about.

First up is Adrian Mead’s Making It As A Screenwriter. A book chock-full of brilliant advice and common sense thinking on how to strategise your career from zero to hero. There’s no false hope or wishy washy sentiment, it’s just the basic nuts and bolts of applying yourself in a dedicated and professional capacity, and getting desired results through this hard work and focus rather than moaning about the system or railing against the world. ALL proceeds of the book go to Childline so you’ve no excuse not to buy.

Next is Russell T Davies’s The Writer's Tale, a devastatingly honest exposé on what it's like writing Dr Who. This is an absolute ‘must have’ book for any writer. (The website has six full scripts from series 4 of Dr Who, a neat bonus.)

In his book, Davies regales you with his writing process and all the stress, fun and anxiety that comes with showrunning the country’s most popular TV programme. For those who think they can do better, and could put up with the strain and pressure of this type of workload, read this book and think again. It reminds me of Diablo Cody’s already immortal quote about whether or not you can cut it as a professional writer, despite plenty of envious and bitter eyes on the industry. “If you were me for one day you'd crumble like fucking stilton. I am better at this than you. You're not strong enough, Film_Fan78. Trust me.

It's time to toughen up, people. Raise your game. If these two books don't inspire you and put you on the right track, then nothing ever will. Now go write.


? said...
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Anonymous said...

Many thanks for the plug Danny, and to all the folk who have bought the book, sent such great reviews and are continue to spread the word.

Sales of "Making It As A Screenwriter" have generated over £1,000 for ChildLine in the first week.

More than a third of the children who attempt to call ChildLine are unable to get through. The centres around the UK receive more than 2,500 calls a day.

No child's call should go unanswered and all you lovely writers are helping towards making that a reality. Many thanks and please keep spreading the word.

Adrian Mead

Danny Stack said...

I didn't pick up Diablo Cody's remark as arrogant, more like a justified defence to those who backlashed against her so fiercely, and personally. You see it around the net, too, with remarks about Russell T. Whether he's a screenwriting saviour or talentless hack, people should just get on with their own stuff, and a lot of times they have no idea of the real process of what it takes to do anything.

Lucy V said...

Amen to that!

I hate loads of stuff on telly and whatnot, so I don't watch it. But I also know that to make that stuff I hate takes guts and loads of hard work. Plus other people love it, so it must be doing something right. Loads of people hate soap, I love it. That doesn't mean I have a low IQ, the stories and way soap is appeals to me in a way it doesn't to others. Big hairy deal! Move along now, nothing to see here.

Grand news on the £1000, Adrian - meant to reply to your emailon weds but um, forgot. Doing it now!!!

Jason Arnopp said...

Yes, as I understand it, Film_Fan78 drew first blood, so deserved every bit of acid Cody spat back at him/her. Cody was indeed once Film_Fan78, but I doubt she wasted her time slagging off professional writers.

I don't why there's this feeling that professional writers should just absorb all the abuse thrown their way. It's ideal not to respond to critical jibes, but writers are only human.

Anonymous said...

Mmmm... stilton said...

Yeah, I see that on first reading Diablo Cody's remarks it smacks of 'get her' but she's right. Too much faceless whinging about writers goes on in forums such as IMDb message boards. Have you ever sneaked a peek at the script writers board, yikes! Scary stuff.

Congrats to AM on the fabulous amount raised for such a worthy cause. I've just downloaded my copy and will check it out in between taking daughter for her hospital appointment and hand-making sixty-one wedding invitations.

Oh, and Mr Arnopp, (sorry to do a quick threadnap here, Danny) did you see my response to your article on twelvepoint? Big thanks to you.


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Danny Stack said...

I get grumpy when I see people, especially new writers, just mouthing off about stuff they know nothing about, and yet they expect to get ahead somehow. I see a lot of it, even on the scribosphere, and it drives me nuts. And books like Adrian's and Russell T's helps to cut through all the bullshit.

Diablo Cody did it, she's getting on with it, and good luck to her and anyone else who can achieve such lofty heights.

On a much smaller level, I've had criticism chucked at me over the blog and the Red Planet Prize, and you think: bloody hell, what's all that about? Of course, not all unproduced writers are of the same ilk but empty vessels sure do make one hell of a racket.

There. Must go for a walk now. :)

Jason Arnopp said...

If you still have any steam to vent, Lord Stackington, please e-mail Dr John Plainville on and call him a twat. I thank you.

? said...

My grumpiness wasn't directed at you, Danny or Diablo for that matter. I just heard the same argument off a friend in LA.

I just hate being on the other side of the line, still.

Danny Stack said...

Oh yes, never thought that. And my grumpiness wasn't directed at you either, just the world in general. Feeling better now after a walk in the sunshine.

And Mr Arnopp, what are you saying about my good friend Dr Plainville, eh? He's a man of great repute, and no mistake.

Adrian said...

Personally, I think Diablo Cody is a very good example of a writer who understands branding, and excels at putting hers across. Which more writers should be able to do, since it uses many of the same skills as screenwriting. And begs the question, if you're narked at her, is it by a woman you don't know, or her ability to provoke a response in people, in LA and even beyond..?

Anonymous said...

Incidentally, above comment comes from me, Adrian Reynolds of, and not the similarly forenamed Mr Mead.