Writing Movies for Fun and Profit: How We Made a Billion Dollars at the Box Office and You Can, Too!
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Writing Movies for Fun and Profit: How We Made a Billion Dollars at the Box Office and You Can, Too!

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  940 ratings  ·  156 reviews
This is the only screenwriting guide by two guys who have actually done it (instead of some schmuck who just gives lectures about screenwriting at the airport Marriott); “These guys are proof that with no training and little education, ANYONE can make it as a screenwriter” (Paul Rudd).

Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon’s movies have made over...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published July 5th 2011 by Touchstone
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Nicholas Karpuk
Some reviews of this book have referred to sections of it as "fluff". What they call fluff, I call the funny bits. This book is as much a mockery of screenwriting guides and Hollywood as it is an in depth look into the matter.

Even though I write, I've never really had a compulsion to go out to LA and give the world of big studio screenwriting a whirl, and this book has in no way changed my mind. While they pretty explicitly state some parts of this, it's valuable to remember that these guys prim...more
First off, if you are expecting to really get some good informative information about how to write your first screen play for the big screen, then you probably will get your hopes let down with this book. Not to say that Mr. Garant and Mr. Lennon did not provide the reader with some good street smarts and lessons that they have learned in only a way that Mr. Garant and Mr. Lennon can do. While, I did enjoy Mr. Garant and Mr. Lennon's let it all hang out their sense of humor and say anything atti...more
Kevin Wright
Jul 27, 2011 Kevin Wright rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone who wants to make a living writing films in Hollywood.
This was great! Absolutely great.

1) This is a book about screenwriting written by people who are funny, have sold numerous scripts, and have had hits as well as stinkers. Not only that, they continue to work, so the scenarios they describe are current and things aspiring writers will probably run into. They aren't describing what writing in Hollywood used to be like, rather, how it is right now.

2) Like most of you who would consider picking this book up, I've read just about every screenwriting...more
Andrew Campbell
Probably one of the best books on being a professional screenwriter. It's no wonder these guys are successful— they've figured out how to navigate the system and provide it with what it needs and rewards, handsomely.

Like their movies, though, it goes a long way on concept and is padded with filler. Sure, give me an example of an outline- but possibly *not* the one for the unmade RENO 911 sequel, 'kay?

Also, the majority of their creative advice is applicable only to writers of mass-market comedie...more
I should start by mentioning that I have no interest in writing a screenplay. I do however love The State, Viva Variety, and Reno 911!, so I was very familiar with the authors of this book. Naturally I was dying to read it. It was everything I expected and more. There was tons of humor mixed with some really useful information. My favorite section was probably the chapter on determining if you had made it in Hollywood by where the different studios sent you to park.

Through all the humor, you ge...more
Interesting glimpses of the screenwriting industry, even if the style is sometimes aggressively informal to the point of excess.
The test screenings were SO GOOD, in fact, that we made what was (at the time) our BIGGEST PAYDAY EVER to write the sequel: Taxi 2. Yes, this is how crazy things in Hollywood can be. One of our biggest deals EVER was for Taxi 2—cue the silly punctuation marks!?!?!!?!?
Then, of course, Taxi was released, and not only did it pretty much end the film career of our friend
Leila Cohan-Miccio
What a fantastic corrective to the many truly unhelpful books about the industry I've read recently. I've never read a screenwriting book so concrete and through. I loved it.

Related: I went to see Lennon & Garant speak at the Paley Center last night, which was great. When they were signing my book (I am a nerd), I mentioned that I'm a teacher at UCB. They immediately asked me when the Beast is going to open.

So, to recap: things Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant and I have in common: we would...more
This book is like Entourage minus the parts most reviewers describe as "douchey."

It's two smart and funny dudes [the State! Reno 911!] talking about their job. Their job just happens to be screenwriting.

They describe the mystique of what happens and how and why in an entertaining and enjoyable manner. Loved it and learned from it.
This is a placeholder review that will be updated when I sell the screenplay I wrote post reading this book. Either way, it's a fun read, but this review is going to seek to give the authors an eReacharound if I end up selling the script.

Speaking of which, anyone know places accepting SUPER-SELLABLE COMEDY SCRIPTS?
Hilarious, short, and more informative about the realities of screenwriting for the studio system than anything else I've come across. It reads like a batch of Cracked.com articles with plenty of amusing bits mixed with actual information. One weekend day is all it takes to enjoy this book, so why not?
Garant & Lennon, two very successful (according to them and their credits) screenwriters, have written a how-to on writing, and perhaps more importantly, selling screenplays.

I have no desire to ever write one (not least of which because I have less than no desire to ever live in L.A. one of the things the authors stress many times is absolutely necessary in order to be a screenwriter), but this seems to be a fairly practical guide. It's also pretty hilarious.

What I learned from this book:

Jeff Talbott
While probably most enjoyable to a very narrow part of the reading population (aspiring screenwriters or movie buffs), this extremely pragmatic and entertaining book from the creators of RENO: 911 and NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM is a breezy but practical guide from two guys who have made a fair amount of money navigating the studio system as screenwriters. Full of stories of their adventures and chockablock with information, it's also a business guide much more than an artistic guide to using the Hollyw...more
This book would be a great stocking stuffer for an intermediate level screenwriter. While the book is quite funny (studio parking lots, In-N-Out locations) it's a real quick read, lasting only three to four hours (two-thirds of it is on writing while the last third is made up of a few treatments; including The Reno 911 sequel, which is pretty funny). After the comedy bits, which are spread evenly throughout the book, the majority of its content deals with the studio system and how to navigate it...more
Jeff Strand
Screenwriting books are not typically written by successful screenwriters. Apparently, if you're making lots of money as a screenwriter, there's no real motivation to make substantially less money writing a non-fiction book. (In one of the first screenwriting books I read 20+ years ago, the author actually wrote about how nobody in Hollywood would read his scripts, even though he told them he had a book coming out on the subject!)

So it's very refreshing to have a book written by actual screenwri...more
I've read more than one book on screenwriting, and if you want to write screenplays so should you, and I will happily recommend this one. It's not so much a guide for how to write, it's more about how to survive in Hollywood. They don't even get to the writing tips until the second part of the book. The insight into this mad, crazy industry though is priceless. It's told with a sense of humor that makes you smile even when the anecdote is cringe inducing.

Some of my favorite bits: The insight in...more
Check out my spanish blog review: http://lunairereadings.blogspot.com/2...

This book goes to the point: strike out the fun; you will write for profit. And a lot of profit (millions; billions of dollars) for the movies you write. Of course you will need to work your ass off and brown-nose your way up to the fat checking account; but if you invest your time; energy and loads of money (fancy car; good clothing; nice invitations); you will find that there on the top; where the millions are; there are...more
As an aspiring screenwriter (among many other things) I, obviously, wanted to read this book. There's no doubt that these two are successful, and I've enjoyed some of their work in the past. Plus, in a rarity, they are comedy screenwriters talking about the business and work of screenwriting. Usually, it's either people who can barely call themselves screenwriters, and especially not comedic ones (which is the field I'd mostly consider myself in). As great as this book is for learning "the ropes...more
Stephen Kerr
A realistic and humorous look at writing big budget screenplays for the Hollywood studio system. These guys have gone through the whole process from all the different angles and have lived to tell the tale, often very humorously. Fans of The State and Reno 911 will get extra mileage out of the sense of humor and especially the entire "scriptment" for the unproduced Reno 911 sequel movie, which is pretty great. What NOT to expect: bullet-point breakdowns of how to write a screenplay. There is som...more
Bryan Hall
Nov 05, 2011 Bryan Hall rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes movies
[I'd actually give it 3.5 stars if I could.]

Very good look at the movie industry, quite funny. It loses some points with me for a being a little too 'inside baseball', even though I realize that's exactly what it's supposed to be -- if I were the target audience for this book and wanted to break into the Hollywood writing game, that stuff would be invaluable, but as it is I thought some of those parts dragged a bit.

Regardless, I highly recommend it for anyone who cares at all about movies -- ev...more
Let me make this clear: I don't want anything to do with the screenwriting process. I'm not that creative. I can only get creative with a baking pan or a needle and thread. Writing is not my forte. Well, screenwriting is not my forte. And if I'm being brutally honest, I only read this book because I have a slight crush on Thomas Lennon. But he has to be in his Lt. Dangle outfit. Because those shorts are PHENOMINAL.

Anyways, I'm getting off topic here. I thought this book was very informative for...more
Mitch Clem
This was actually the second time I've read this book. I was trying to recommend it to someone who's a nerd for behind-the-scenes Hollywood stuff and, though he still inexplicably refused to take my recommendation, I wound up talking myself into reading it again.

This is a stellar book. Very funny, very readable, but also incredibly informative. I should note that I have no aspirations of ever becoming a Hollywood screenwriter, but I am interested in the behind-the-scenes goings-on of moviemaking...more
This was great! Good, practical advice, mixed with lots of gossipy insider stories, peppered with tons of humor. Honestly, I laughed out loud more at this book than I have at the last few "humor" books I've read. And a lot of books about screenwriting don't seem to have been written by people who ... are very good writers? That feels mean to say, but with the exception of William Goldman's terrific pair of memoirs on the topic, most of the screenwriting-related books I've read -- while very usef...more
Even for someone with no interest in writing a studio film, Writing Movies for Fun and Profit is an illuminating look at the Hollywood system.

Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon avoid giving many writing tips, and instead focus on what those other screenwriting books (mostly penned by people who have never gotten a script greenlit) don't tell you - how to actually make it in the business. How to pitch, how to agree with "notes," where your parking spot reveals you are on the Hollywood hierarchy,...more
Chris Aylott
Super-successful and critically despised screenwriters give you the SECRET to selling and writing billion dollar movies!!!! Written almost as a parody of screenwriting books, the funniest part is that Garant and Lennon are giving Really Good Advice.

Yes, this is a manual for formula writing. But it's really hard to argue with the idea that a movie should be tightly structured, that it should have characters the audience cares about, and that it should above all be entertaining. Lennon and Garant...more
This is seriously one of the best books I have read in while. The authors are comedians, but also writers and this book tells you how to break into the writing industry in Hollywood, but in a funny yet true way. Facts are all there, true stories are all there yet I laughed out loud so much, for a non-fic how-to book. I loved it! My favorite part was their description of all the parking lots at all the studios in Hollywood. I didn't realize how many I have actually been to. The one I have been to...more
Jon Forisha
I like both of the authors - particularly when they're making things more akin to Reno 911! and less like Night At The Museum - and they did not disappoint. This book is very funny, in addition to offering some sound advice.

I'd like to make a career in film and it became clear to me early on in the reading of this book that I do not necessarily want a career in writing STUDIO films, which this book is entirely geared towards. It's all in the title, after all: the "fun" part is crossed out - a fa...more
Flat out the best book about screenwriting I've ever read. Lennon & Garant manage to layer in fantastic and inspiring advice while being laugh-out-loud funny at the same time. There are 2 million screenwriting books out there written by people who have never sold a script. No matter what you think of Lennon & Garant's movies, the fact remains that they GET THEM MADE. And I'm not walking away from this book ready to sacrifice my sense of humor and/or creative influences to churn out studi...more
Spencer Seher
This book was not only really funny, but it was also fascinating because it offered an insider's insight into the movie studio system that we rarely get a glimpse of (most likely because it is dysfunctional and borderline nonsensical, as the authors of this book make abundantly clear). After reading this, you see why so many bad movies are made, and how the studio system is mostly to blame for the dreck that is released so often in theaters. It's also a great description of what a screenwriter's...more
This book is real stupid. It's also real funny. These guys are hacks and they know it. They talk about what it's like to make such crap-tocious movies as "Herbie: Fully Loaded". Which they wrote. And they know it was a stinker. Ever wonder how that works? How Hollywood churns out so much drek each summer? Read the book. Surprisingly this book also dishes a pretty insightful scoop on the movie biz. While making stupid fart jokes at the same time. They hold up Die Hard as the ultimate screenplay....more
This is a fantastically funny, short and sweet guide to writing popcorn movie screenplays. It's written by Those Guys from Reno 911/The State/Other Humorous ventures, in a straightforward and almost urgent format.

It's got quick, helpful things to say about how to structure a movie and how screwed you are if you are assigned to park in a certain studio lot.

It made me excited to write a blockbuster style screenplay. It made me laugh. It made me SMILE!

It's just a damn shame that Benny G and Tommy L...more
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“There are many self-proclaimed “screenwriting gurus”—though how you get to be a “guru” of something you’ve never actually done is beyond us. Screenplays are like blueprints. A guy who’s drawn up a lot of blueprints that have never actually been made into buildings is not an “architecture guru,” he’s an “unemployed douchebag.” A guy who talks about screen-writing but who’s never sold a screenplay is not a “screenwriting guru,” he’s a “lecture circuit bullshit artist.” From now on, that’s what we’ll call them.” 0 likes
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