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The Screenwriter's Bible: A Complete Guide to Writing, Formatting, and Selling Your Script
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The Screenwriter's Bible: A Complete Guide to Writing, Formatting, and Selling Your Script

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  1,276 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
This book provides a concise presentation of screenwriting basics. The author shows the correct formats for both screenplays and teleplays, and takes the writer through the writing and marketing process.
Paperback, 386 pages
Published September 15th 2005 by Silman-James Press (first published November 1st 1994)
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Apr 10, 2010 Ann rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Screenwriters - especially new/unsold screenwriters

This is a fantastic addition to the aspiring (and maybe accomplished) screenwriter.

The book is broken down into sections, which author Trottier states you can read in any order (but suggests you go cover to cover if you can). Mostly I read the book from start to finish, but a few sections I skipped and read at the end.

I like that Trottier gives solid examples of proper formatting. But he also gives pointers on how to strengthen a script's story, structure and depth.

I like that Trot
Joe Albanese
Apr 02, 2013 Joe Albanese rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This books tells you everything a beginning screenwriter needs to know abut the screenwriting business. The first half of the book teaches you how to write a great screenplay (how to create characters, story concepts, plot points, etc) along with formatting information so your script looks how people in the industry expect it to look. He then gives a detailed explanation of how to sell your screenplay and really start your writing career. It gives a potential screenwriter great insight into the ...more
Kristin Dow
Jun 18, 2016 Kristin Dow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An essential guide for aspiring screenwriters that covers all the bases. Easy to read. I'm sticking with novels for now, but this manual helped me get on track and get going on my next book. I'd only suggest that Trottier use more popular/classic movie examples to illustrate his points vs. his own scripts (Like he did so well with Casablanca). A reader can take away more from his point if they know the material.
Jozeph Daniel
Oct 12, 2015 Jozeph Daniel rated it really liked it
كتاب the screen writer's bible او انجيل السيناريست
اتسمي بالاسم ده لانه بيعتبر من اكتر الكتب المقدسة عند السيناريست او كاتب الفيلم ... لأنه مليان بbasics او قواعد دايما بترَجع اي مؤلف للمسار الصحيح في الكتابة و الاكثر عمقا في خلق الشخصيات و صناعة الحبكة و تعلم التيمة و ال genre
انا اشتريت الكتاب ده من Amazon
لكن عملا بمبدأ التبشير زي ما حصل في الانجيل ... انا كمان هبشر بالكتاب ده جدا
لو اي حد حابب يتعرف علي الكتاب و محتواه يقولي .... هبعتله الفهرس
اما لو عجبك محتوي الكتاب فـ ياريت تقولي انك محتاج
Sep 14, 2011 Jim rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Aspiring screenwriters and film makers
This book is chock-full-o useful information about how to format your scripts. It might seem like a minor point, and you might have the mindset, "Well, my story is so good, they'll overlook any formatting errors." However, professional script readers have tons of scripts cross their desk and if they see a bunch of formatting errors, they are likely to assume they are dealing with an amateur and may toss your script aside unread.

Anyway, Trottier's book is like a Strunk and White's for the screen
Jan 01, 2013 Stephen rated it it was amazing
Simply the best formatting guide for screenplays.

There is not a better resource and it has a permanant place bside my desktop for finding out obscure rules for formatting.

Add on some great advice for writing, and it should be on every writer desk.
Mar 31, 2011 Rickey rated it it was amazing
I actually read this in 2007 when my sister-in-law converted my novel Rendezvous Rock to a screenplay. Both of us knew nothing about writing a screenplay and found it extremely informative. I recommend it for anyone who is contemplating writing their first screenplay.
Jan 17, 2015 Celise rated it it was amazing
Super helpful on formatting!
Oct 26, 2013 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What are the basics of screenwriting? What does a screenplay look like? What’s the basic format and structure? How do you format things like flashbacks?

One of my husband’s co-workers was at square one, he had what he believed was a good idea for a movie, but he didn’t know how to write it. He’d never written or read a script before. I didn't even need to look at my screenwriting books to know exactly which one he'd get the most value from. I went right to this book. The man almost moved cross-c
Al Schmitty
Trottier is giving us bad information: he's saying that there's a major difference between a spec script and a shooting script. There isn't. The one difference is that shooting scripts have scene numbers for production. Directors don't put in camera angles after the script is purchased. When you see a script with every camera angle in it, it's a Continuity Script, assembled after the film is edited, for copyright and other legal records. Working pros know this, but new writers don't.

Trottier's e
Rachel Frank
Bible correctly describes this book. It's dense and huge. While the information was good, the book itself is HUGE. So huge I couldn't comfortable read it and ended up selling the print copy and buying the ebook just so I could manage to hold it. The information was good and as a beginning screenwriter I got some tips from it. Overall, I felt I got better info from Syd Field's Screenplay and Blake Snyder's Save the Cat for the basics. Together those books give you a lot more food for thought and ...more
Kelan O'Connell
Jan 24, 2014 Kelan O'Connell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great resource that covers the many aspects of screenwriting, including the realities of the business side that anyone attempting to shop a screenplay must fully understand.

As someone who turned a screenplay into a novel, I recently went back to update and polish the spec my novel was based on. Reading the "Bible" again has been a great refresher course.

If you're already grounded in story structure, screenplay formatting, and the business end of Hollywood, I highly recommend getting David's T
Mar 31, 2014 MJ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although no books can completely solidify the experience, from one perspective, of collaborating and producing a film, this manual has all the techniques answering a newbie's questions in regard to screenwriting. If only one book is acquired, or even a first book, for the subject of screenwriting, this should be the first one purchased.

I have two shelves of screenwriting books and manuals, and two of them are this title. One of them is so marked up, highlighted and dog-eared, I keep it for note
Jun 04, 2007 elizabeth added it
Recommends it for: scriptfrenzoids
Shelves: on-writing
I signed up on to write a screenplay this month. So far I am behind by roughly 2,521 words (the site suggests writing 667 per day to achieve the 20,000 word count by the end of June). Don’t people say that admitting goals publicly (or on goodreads) is a way of motivating/shaming oneself? In any case, this book seems like a good resource so far, though perhaps it’s time to stop reading and try writing (isn’t that always the case?).
Soul Rhallin
Mar 02, 2013 Soul Rhallin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book truly lives up to its title. Any and every question I have had about writing and distributing screenplays, I have found a relevant answer to.

The writing is unfettered by unfamiliar jargon, plainly communicated, ans liberally sprinkled with examples. I keep this book on hand at all times.

If you are new to writing screenplays, or looking for some fresh tools to incorporate into your current screenwriting endeavors, I highly recommend this book.
Michael Lawrence
Jul 08, 2008 Michael Lawrence rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Screen Writers
Recommended to Michael by: Evan Somers
This was the textbook I had to buy for my very first screen writing class about 4 years ago. And I still use it for reference from time to time not to mention have I yet to find a better ref style book for Hollywood Screen writing.

This is well written, well organized and easy to understand. The workshop method will have you writing in no time and before you know it you will be finishing a script.

Great book for all screen writers.
Rick Barry
Aug 18, 2015 Rick Barry rated it it was amazing
What an excellent book for anyone who wants clear explanations of how to format screenplays for today. David Trottier writes in a clear way and includes vivid examples that both experienced and novice script writers can grasp and apply. If you're interested in scripts, this is the one that was recommended to me by an award-winning screenwriter, and this is the one I recommend to you. Check it out!
Roger Mendoza
Dec 17, 2016 Roger Mendoza rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. It gave me a broad insight into the life of a screenplay. I will definitely be referring to this book often as I write my screenplays. I like that it gives you little tidbits of information that isn't intuitively obvious. For example, I was wondering how to write a telephone conversation in a script. Low and behold he gives multiple examples of how to do that. I like that the book makes sense too. Anyhow, I highly recommend this book.
Oct 22, 2008 Jane rated it it was amazing
Ever wondered how to handle writing a montage. Simultaneous or overlapping dialogue? How to enter your names on the title page if you're writing with a partner and what that means for the Writer's Guild of America? Name just about any detail of screenplay formatting, no matter how arcane, and Trottier explains it.
And that not all! He lays out a clear approach to developing, writing, and marketing your script. Bible is right.
Daniel Douglas
Jun 10, 2015 Daniel Douglas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the Best Writing Books I've Ever Read

Mr. Trottier's Bible is an excellent resource for learning screenwriting and gave me the faith and courage to start writing in that medium. Can't thank the author enough for this invaluable reference that now sits within reach of my writing desk.
Jul 28, 2015 Syntax787 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in conjunction with several other books about writing for entertainment (TV sitcom, dramas and flash fiction). Everything that I've read in those other books goes along with what is in this book. This is the real reference book for any kind of format writing you're thinking about doing.
Josh Barkey
Jan 26, 2010 Josh Barkey rated it really liked it
This is another important book for the aspiring screenwriter. Not only does it have two large sections on structure (which takes away a lot of the fear you will inevitably feel as you approach such a monumental task), but it also has pretty much everything you need to know about proper formatting - which is very, very important.
Dale Zawada
Dec 29, 2014 Dale Zawada rated it it was amazing
Do you want to be a screenwriter? Thinking about writing a screenplay?



This book is forever next to my computer desk. It has everything you need to know about formatting a screenplay and also has a lot of information on how to deal with story and plot.

This book isn't kidding when it refers to itself as a BIBLE. Buy this book immediately.
Bob Steele
Sep 18, 2015 Bob Steele rated it it was amazing
Shelves: screenwriting
I actually read the 5th Ed. This is a must have book for new, aspiring, and experienced screenwriters as well. It's comprehensive, provides good illustrations/examples, includes helpful templates for developing characters, and marketing tips/guidelines. I bought/read it in 2010 and have referred to it dozens of times (and still do).
Eric Bove
Feb 03, 2011 Eric Bove rated it it was amazing
One of the few books on screenwriting I still pick up and flip through regularly. I first read this when I first started screenwriting and I believe knowing how to format everything correctly before I ever wrote a screenplay has saved me a lot of time during the editing process. It's the best Bible I've ever read!
Sep 01, 2008 Hena rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: media
this book is a good intro to screenwriting but it is very conformative to hollywood standards, and as such teaches very formulaic writing. still, its a good starter book and good for reference. but don't be afraid to think outside the box, something which the author is against
Aug 30, 2010 Meiran rated it it was amazing
This is an absolute must have for anyone who would like to become a screenwriter, or just try their hand at screenwriting. It answers nearly every question you could think to ask, and it's value as a reference is far higher than the money you'll spend on it.
Jennifer Griffith
Mar 17, 2008 Jennifer Griffith rated it really liked it
Fantastic. Absolutely worth every penny of its purchase price. Well written, easy to follow, encouraging, authoritative. If you're even considering writing a screen play, this book is exactly what its title promises. Yehaw!
Jun 01, 2016 Brian rated it really liked it
Great comprehensive resource that goes into all aspects of screenwriting from craft to business. Dated whenever it mentions technology or forms of communication. The author seems to think highly of himself and his writing
Judith Kohnen
May 21, 2014 Judith Kohnen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've learned so much from this book! It's definitely not just for screenwriters. It holds valuable information about breaking down your story in a timely manner, from beginning to end, using movie examples. It focuses on how to create a good, successful story. Another of my favorites!
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The Screenwriter's Bible, 6th Edition: 1 2 Sep 08, 2014 04:03PM  
  • The 101 Habits Of Highly Successful Screenwriters: Insider's Secrets from Hollywood's Top Writers
  • Making a Good Script Great
  • How to Write a Movie in 21 Days
  • The Screenwriter's Workbook
  • Writing Screenplays That Sell: The Complete, Step-By-Step Guide for Writing and Selling to the Movies and TV, from Story Concept to Development Deal
  • Your Screenplay Sucks!: 100 Ways to Make It Great
  • How Not to Write a Screenplay: 101 Common Mistakes Most Screenwriters Make
  • Cinematic Storytelling
  • Screenwriting: The Sequence Approach
  • The Art of Dramatic Writing: Its Basis in the Creative Interpretation of Human Motives
  • The Complete Book of Scriptwriting
  • The TV Writer's Workbook: A Creative Approach To Television Scripts
  • Emotional Structure: Creating the Story Beneath the Plot: A Guide for Screenwriters
  • Directing Actors
  • Lew Hunter's Screenwriting 434
  • The Hollywood Standard: The Complete and Authoritative Guide to Script Format and Style (Hollywood Standard: The Complete & Authoritative Guide to)
  • 20 Master Plots: And How to Build Them
  • The Coffee Break Screenwriter: Writing Your Script Ten Minutes at a Time

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