Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “What Happens Next: A History of American Screenwriting” as Want to Read:
What Happens Next: A History of American Screenwriting
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

What Happens Next: A History of American Screenwriting

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  113 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Screenwriters have always been viewed as Hollywood’s stepchildren. Silent-film comedy pioneer Mack Sennett forbade his screenwriters from writing anything down, for fear they’d get inflated ideas about themselves as creative artists. The great midcentury director John Ford was known to answer studio executives’ complaints that he was behind schedule by tearing a handful of ...more
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published October 23rd 2007 by Harmony
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  113 ratings  ·  14 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Henry Sheppard
This is a large, dense, fascinating history of the rise and fall of screenwriters, individually and collectively, across the history of the movies. I enjoyed and recommend it, but I have to caution that it is not 'The Moon's a Balloon,' or anything like that.
Greig
Jul 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Greet history of screen writing especially during the Hollywood years.the account of the attempts to set up a guild in the 1930's is fascinating. I think the account of HUAC and the blacklist is perhaps the best I've read. A very clear account. I found the chapters on the auteur theory and writer directors in the 70's and 80's less than compelling.
Paul
Jun 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A history of screenwriting done with real panache. Not as systematic as a scholar might approach it (see works by Kristin Thompson for that kind of thing), but this is a very thorough, fun read.
Luke Devenish
Feb 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was so entertaining. And totally fascinating. Finally a book about Old and New Hollywood told from the POV of those who are always somehow left out of the picture: the writers. Or should I say, THE LONG SUFFERING writers, because, man, did they do a lot of suffering. They also got paid a lot, too, so I won't shed too many tears, but perhaps the most illuminating aspect of a book that provides so many illuminations is the section explaining the origins of the schism between writers and produ ...more
Adrian
Nov 09, 2010 added it
A chatty, breezy history of Hollywood through the medium of screenwriting. But this description is not to belittle it, Norman is thorough and enlightening and covers all the major shifts in moviemaking- the advent of sound films over silent, the studio system, the unionization of screenwriters, the McCarthy blacklist and auteur era. He's liberal in his use of juicy anecdote. There are also excellent portraits of wannabe screenwriters like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nathaniel West and William Faulkner ...more
Duncan
Jun 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I told I read a lot of filmmaking books. Ok, writing. But, of course, what makes this book great is the gossip, none of which I can remember right now.

Lots of research went into this book, and it gives a great history of the rise, fall and rise of unions in Hollywood. Best quote: "I was too fucking busy, and vise versa," Dorothy Parker.

A really entertaining read of which I can remember very little. I read it in winter; perhaps that's why.
Ben
Jun 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Norman's history of Hollywood from the POV of the Screenwriter provides one of the most cogent takes on the film industry. It is through the changing use of story (and storytellers) that cinema has evolved. The book plays out generally chronologically, with major sections devoted to major events and major writers, particularly those who best encapsulated a particular era or were a force unto themselves (Ben Hecht, Paddy Chayefsky).
Steven
Jun 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Really cool history of the film industry from the perspective of the writer from the silent era, through talkies, the blacklist, Easy Rider days, 80's blockbusters and post modern Tarantino. The early writers were interesting characters themselves. Cool insights into the writing of Star Wars and a breakdown of Pulp Fiction.
Karen Krizanovich
Sep 25, 2008 rated it it was ok
A bit overwritten so far but hey...
Mike Horne
Oct 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Nice little history of Hollywood from the perspective of screenwriters. Read it for my Film Studies class. Good reading!
Brynn
May 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2008
Fascinating history. The writers so often get shorted in favor of the stars, directors and even producers. It was great to finally read a book about the industry that puts the story tellers first.
Nancy Loe
Oct 25, 2007 marked it as to-read
"Of all the Christ-bitten places and businesses in the two hemispheres, [Hollywood] is the last curly kink on the pig's tail." - Stephen Vincent Benet

This book sounds great!
Sidney
Dec 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating book for anyone with a serious interest in the history of the film industry
Phil Thompson
rated it really liked it
Feb 20, 2013
Matthew Richards
rated it it was amazing
Jan 03, 2019
Christian
rated it really liked it
May 13, 2012
Matthew Zoni
rated it it was amazing
Nov 17, 2014
Clay Griffith
rated it really liked it
Apr 14, 2015
Jonathan
rated it it was amazing
Jan 14, 2009
Max Lance
rated it it was amazing
Nov 23, 2009
Bing Gordon
rated it really liked it
May 07, 2016
Graham
rated it really liked it
Dec 21, 2010
Isaac
rated it really liked it
Feb 28, 2008
Nick Martin
rated it liked it
Feb 11, 2010
Deek Kay
rated it really liked it
Nov 09, 2011
David Copelovici
rated it really liked it
Feb 07, 2019
Glenn Møane
rated it it was amazing
Feb 19, 2015
Edward Crawford
rated it really liked it
Dec 02, 2014
paul cantor
rated it really liked it
May 02, 2017
Adam Morgan
rated it liked it
Mar 27, 2009
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »