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01/11/2001 - Book: 500 Ways to Beat Hw'd Reader

by Brian A. Wilson


500 Ways to Beat the Hollywood Script Reader
by Jennifer Lerch
Simon and Schuster

You're probably thinking to yourself, "For the love of papyrus, does my scriptwriter's sagging bookshelf really need one more book?"

If that book is "500 Ways to Beat the Hollywood Script Reader," the answer is an emphatic yes.

Jennifer Lerch's pithy presentation (a scant 175 pages) charts a path through that most dangerous territory in all of Tinseltown: The professional reader's desk. Lerch spent eight years sifting scripts for WMA, so she makes an excellent and reputable guide.

The book's savvy advice serves writers working at any of three levels. For the beginning screenwriter, it presents a cautionary tale, allowing the new writer to avoid mistakes, rather than learning from them. For the screenwriter in mid-script but feeling lost in the desert of the second act, "500 Ways" can provide checkpoints that help identify and solve problems with story, dialogue, character and/or plot.

Perhaps the book's greatest value, however, is to the tenacious writer who has finished a draft (or two or five) of the great American screenplay, and is now tempted to fill Hollywood mailboxes with it. Here's a tip: don't, at least not until you use the 500 ways as a final, rigorous, exacting checklist.

If your script can stand up to the 500 demands this book puts on it, you might have a winner. At the very least, you're likely to have a Hollywood-reader-pleasing script, and that's the first big step on the journey to screenwriting nirvana.

___Pass ____ Consider __X__Recommend (highly)

Available at Barnes and Noble, Larry Edmunds, Amazon.com and the same places you bought the other 327 movie biz books on your shelf.

Brian A. Wilson is an LA-based writer, director and filmmaker. His latest effort is a parody of "The Perfect Storm" entitled "The Really Bad Storm," which was shot in one day for just under a million dollars.


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