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

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  1,950 ratings  ·  211 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 a billion dollars at the box
Kindle Edition, 338 pages
Published (first published July 5th 2011)
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3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,950 ratings  ·  211 reviews

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Nicholas Karpuk
Aug 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kevin Wright
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
mostly helpful but the ironic(?) sexism has not aged well
Jeff Strand
Oct 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
May 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
I have to say that this book made me laugh. It was funny and yet sad. Hollywood is a cruel place and it is clearly shown in this book which helps you to, or at least try to, become a successful screenwriter in Hollywood.
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hilarious but insightful look into Hollywood screenwriting.
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Helpful but very annoying. Please do less. Also, I was surprised when I googled these guys and found that neither have been called out for sexual harassment
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Super fun perspective on the movie industry loaded with jokes and inside perspective from these two talented screenwriters. Great tips on how to pursue a career in Hollywood and how to approach writing a screenplay.
Jul 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
May 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Stephen Kerr
Nov 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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,
Jan 01, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Andrew Campbell
Aug 14, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Nov 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Chris Aylott
Dec 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tv
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
Leila Cohan-Miccio
Jul 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
I read a NYT Book Review interview with Anna Kendricks and she said this book was "hilarious". I'm always up for hilarity so I got this book right away. Turns out the only hilarious aspect is the punctuation. This is one of those books which substitutes all caps, italics, bold type, multiple exclamation points, ellipses, underlining, asterisks, etc. for real words with real meaning. But, hey, I'm the idiot who is taking reading advice from a movie star.
Apr 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 articles with plenty of amusing bits mixed with actual information. One weekend day is all it takes to enjoy this book, so why not?
Jun 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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?
Jun 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
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.
Dylan H
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant. Brutally honest, practical and comprehensive.
Neal Morrison
Jun 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Pretty good guide for script writing.
Oct 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016-reads
Amusing reality check for aspiring screenwriters.
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Hilarious insight in Hollywood that not only provides advice on working & writing in films, but some funny tales to boot. Lennon & Garant are open with their tales of working on films from "Herbie" to "Night at the Museum", showing how Hollywood does and doesn't work while giving advice on how to keep making money in it (i.e. if your script is being rewritten, that's a good thing, because the studio will likely still make it). They fill it with plenty of tales of mistakes both they and t ...more
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
With chapters like "Why Does Almost Every Studio Movie SUCK Donkey Balls?" and "I'm Drinking Too Much. Is that A Problem?" how can this book not be hilarious?

I have no interest in writing screenplays, but I'm a big fan of Thomas Lennon and always enjoy a peek inside industries. Ben and Tom's humour comes through in every page, making this a quick and fun read. They have lots stories from their experiences to share, and hearing how movies actually get made from a screenwriter's perspective was f
Ryne Ziemba
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is hilarious! I am interested in writing, but more fiction than screenplays. Just seeing how entertaining these guys can make a how to book is an ultimate lesson in that it's not the steak, it's the sizzle that sells. If you were ever a fan of The State or Reno 9-11, you'll like this book.
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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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