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04/03/2003 - Book Review: ScreenTeen Writers

Brian A. Wilson

BOOK REVIEW: ScreenTeen Writers: How young screenwriters can find success, by Christina Hamlett

As the landscape of screenwriting books becomes ever more crowded, the challenge comes in finding a unique presentation of similar material.

Christina Hamlett has found a nice variant with ScreenTeen Writers.

This book targets young (say, junior high through college) writers who want to try their hands at screenwriting.

We'll pretend for a moment that youngsters don't run Hollywood already, and may in fact be in need of some help in advancing their careers. This is Tinseltown! We can pretend!

OK. I got that out of my system.

The book spends fourteen well-written chapters addressing the fundamentals: what story to write, how to write good dialogue, endings, scene pacing and a bit about career. All of it is nicely directed to the young scribes out there, without talking down to them.

The book mixes exposition on the craft of writing with from-the-trenches interviews with producers, writers and consultants. I find the Q-and-A format a bit tedious, but Hamlett's interviews do transmit a good deal of solid information and fresh insight. There's also a "workbook" component designed to get you thinking about how your own work relates to the industry.

All in all, the book offers a nice mix of lecture, stimulated thinking and industry insight.

While the primary audience for the book is the under-20 crowd, anyone in the early going of a screenwriting career would find ScreenTeen Writers valuable. And at only $11.87 on Amazon, it's a bargain to book. Check it out.

Keep writing.


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