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What Happens Next: A History of American Screenwriting
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What Happens Next: A History of American Screenwriting

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  105 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
“Fascinating.”
Los Angeles Times

A brilliant, wildly entertaining history of Hollywood from the screenwriters’ perspective

In this truly fresh take on the movies, veteran Oscar-winning screenwriter Marc Norman gives us the first comprehensive history of the men and women who penned some of the greatest movies of all time. Impeccably researched, erudite, and filled with unfor
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Paperback, 576 pages
Published September 30th 2008 by Three Rivers Press (first published October 23rd 2007)
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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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
A bit overwritten so far but hey...
Mike Horne
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
"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  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating book for anyone with a serious interest in the history of the film industry
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