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The Complete Book of Scriptwriting

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  203 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
J. Michael Straczynski, writer/producer of Murder, She Wrote and xreator of Babylon 5 teaches scriptwriters how to write and sell work for television, movies, animation, radio and the theatre. Straczynski covers each medium in depth. He reveals facts, tells stories and offers observations from the vantage point of a career in the business.
Paperback, 448 pages
Published December 3rd 2005 by Writer's Digest Books (first published 1982)
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Oct 18, 2010 Sammy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tv
Straczynski's book is overwhelmingly comprehensive, and looks at every angle of scriptwriting. Look, no one can teach innovation or individuality: as a teenager I remember being thoroughly disgusted with every scriptwriting book I devoured, because they all focussed on becoming a freelance "Law & Order" writer; offering advice on churning out formulaic scripts, and how to fit your thoughts into existing characters and pre-packaged situations. In retrospect, I acknowledge that a) being a scri ...more
Jun 09, 2012 Philip rated it it was amazing
Shelves: film, writing
I’ve had this book sitting around for several years (it was published in 1997) since I first moved to LA and caught the Hollywood bug.

Now, after countless hours of sitting in front of the TV and exclaiming, “I could write better dialogue than that!”, I have a better handle on the pragmatics of scriptwriting – the differences between TV and script formats, don’t submit entire unsolicited scripts (it won’t be opened for legal reasons), film pays better than television, and the importance of joinin
Nov 20, 2012 Malcolm rated it it was amazing

From the man who brought us the glorious Babylon 5, besides his contributions to Murder She Wrote, but more recently The Changeling and Thor, and endless comic books, this is a masterful 'how to' book on writing screenplays. However, his advice is also useful for all writers and not just screenwriters as he's also written some novels, single-handedly reinvigorated comic franchises such as Spiderman, and he really knows his craft. This book is insightful, funny in places, confidence building stuf
Sep 08, 2008 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: general-nf
Okay, I got lazy and didn't finish the book. It's very dense and not entirely relevant to the type of writing that I would want to write (if I were to) in the future. BUT, what I DID read was entirely useful and thorough, acting as part writing and business book. The author at one point mentions a fellow writer who used his book as his Bible to break into the movie business, and I can definitely see why it worked out for him.
Daniel Kukwa
Feb 04, 2011 Daniel Kukwa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
In my younger days, when I was still experimenting with script writing, this book became a valuable bible to different formats, and how to pitch what, and to whom. I might have some issues with JMS's Bablyon 5, and his opinion on rival SF shows...but his writing how-to advice is solid.
May 10, 2010 Jerjonji rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
Being a huge Babylon 5 fan, I found I could hear Straczynski's voice while I read this. Encouraging, serious, yet very real, it ruined TV viewing for me forever. It should have come with a warning on the cover. He tells you it will, but if you plan to write for TV, it's a must own!
Jul 11, 2012 T rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i found this book to be incredibly helpful, providing tips to get your script in front of the right eyes, as well as proper script formatting for each media. i fully intend on getting the most recent edition of this book as it's a great writer's reference.
Roger Market
May 24, 2014 Roger Market rated it really liked it
Although even the latest edition is now out of date, this book is invaluable for the aspiring screen or TV writer. The chapters on TV craft and TV marketing, in particular, are incredibly helpful.
Whenever I work on any sort of dramatic work (whether it be a screenplay, radio play, etc.) I ALWAYS have this book on my desk! Invaluable!!!
Oct 14, 2012 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
highly informative, seriously if your interested at all in script writing and want to know more, this book is where its at :)
Brendan Creecy
May 02, 2016 Brendan Creecy rated it liked it
A lot of information was extremely out of date but there's still enough helpful information that it's worth a read.
Dec 31, 2013 Anne rated it liked it
Come for the writing advice, stay for the Murder She Wrote, Babylon 5 and He-Man anecdotes.
Aug 09, 2008 Denise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The last book on scriptwriting you'll ever need, written by the Great Maker himself.
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Joseph Michael Straczynski (born July 17, 1954), known professionally as J. Michael Straczynski and informally as Joe Straczynski or JMS, is an American writer and television producer. He works in films, television series, novels, short stories, comic books, and radio dramas. He is a playwright, a former journalist, and author of The Complete Book of Scriptwriting. He was the creator and showrunne ...more
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