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The Complete Book of Scriptwriting

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  248 ratings  ·  16 reviews
J. Michael Straczynski, writer/producer of Murder, She Wrote and creator 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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4.05  · 
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 ·  248 ratings  ·  16 reviews

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Oct 06, 2010 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 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
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bless his soul for being so helpful in writing this book.
Enzo Nicolini
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Uno de los mejores libros que he leído sobre escribir guiones. Cubre los formatos de varios medios, entrega tips y técnicas útiles, y también te dice algo que nadie se atreve a decirte: que en realidad, nadie puede enseñarte a escribir. Debes aprender tú mismo, y encontrar tu propia voz.
Nov 19, 2012 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 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: practical-books
Une excellente introduction à ce métier, et qui m'a motivée à écrire mon premier drame radiophonique.

J'ai lu cette édition, et ce fut suffisant pour mes besoins. Je n'ai aps eu besoin de feuilleter la dernière édition, dont la couverture ne montre (étourderie de montage sans rapport avec la conscience de l'auteur) QUE des acteurs blancs (plus de 10 monsieurs). Et jeunes.

JM Straczynski a été le production/auteur de Babylone5, une des meilleures série-TV de science-fiction.
Aug 13, 2008 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 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 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 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Come for the writing advice, stay for the Murder She Wrote, Babylon 5 and He-Man anecdotes.
Brendan Creecy
Jan 02, 2016 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.
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!!!
Roger Market
Jul 02, 2013 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.
Sep 18, 2012 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 :)
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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