I'm reading Marc Norman's WHAT HAPPENS NEXT, a history of screenwriting. It's fun, rousing stuff, from Anita Loos's first silent photoplays through Herman Mankiewicz's famous telegram ("Millions to be made out here and the only competition is idiots. Don't let this get around.") up to the present. Of course now I'm sorry I'm not a newspaper writer (or failed playwright) in the 20's who could go out to Hollywood and make it big.
If you don't want to read about screenwriters, but just want to do it, try Epes Winthrop Sargent's TECHNIQUE OF THE PHOTOPLAY, a fine tome from 1913 about how to write for the new medium. On a quick glance through the chapter headings ("one main character," "deriving plots from nothing," "the value of the title"), there's much that has not changed from the 15 minute silents. So it's not just a historical document. It's still-wise advice -- and possibly easier to grasp since it's from a time when people did not assume they knew what movies are
You can also read it online as a Google Book
Labels: books, reading
I'm currently reading 'What Happens Next' as well. I got it as a Christmas gift.
I've read 'Flashback', which is essentially a textbook on film history, but I'm enjoying Norman's retelling. His writing style makes the history lesson quite interesting.
Still, just as reading Flashback, so much time is spent on Edison and how he didn't care for film. I, in return, don't care that much for him. At least when trying to read about film.
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