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Tales from the Script: 50 Hollywood Screenwriters Share Their Stories
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Tales from the Script: 50 Hollywood Screenwriters Share Their Stories

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  260 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Discover the secrets of Hollywood storytelling in this fascinating collection, in which fifty screenwriters share the inside scoop about how they surmounted incredible odds to break into the business, how they transformed their ideas into box-office blockbusters, how their words helped launch the careers of major stars, and how they earned accolades and Academy Awards.

Paperback, 343 pages
Published January 26th 2010 by Dey Street Books (first published 2010)
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Jun 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
I suppose Tales from the Script counts as a book in that it has words printed on pages bound between two covers, but it comprises less writing and editing than a freshman research paper. There's not much more in there than snippets of interviews with screenwriters cut-and-pasted together and loosely categorized by theme in a desperate attempt to make them seem informative. Nothing in Tales from the Script qualifies as a tale and very few of the snippets even rise to the level of anecdote. They'r ...more
Bridget LaMonica
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Of all the film and writing reference books I've read, I was starting to think I couldn't find one that said anything new.

So Peter Hanson's book came out, filled with 50 screenwriters who set out to prove me wrong.

I enjoyed this book immensely. The wisdom, cynicism, humor and determination filling these pages was just what I needed to start the new year.

It is sometimes equal parts inspiring and terrifying, with many stories about successes and failures and the very personal feeling of being r
Betty Loven
Mar 07, 2018 rated it liked it
A good read if you're interested in the industry. I am not, I just thought there would be fun stories and anecdotes of some of my favorite writers. Also I feel like some of the advice goes without saying, like duh, of course everyone's first screenplay wouldn't be backed. ...more
Mar 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Solid, no-nonsense book regarding the perils and joys of being a screenwriter. It creates a respect for the required tenacity of being a creative person, in general, while providing truly juicy anecdotes of Hollywood's process, past and present. ...more
Madeleine McLaughlin
Jan 07, 2015 rated it did not like it
Before you become a scriptwriter in Hollywood, you should read this book.
William Adams
May 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing-how-to
I picked this book up because I enjoy movies and I thought it might help me understand what goes on behind the scenes. It did. The Title is apt: most of these anecdotes fall into the category of “horror stories.” It’s about scripts rejected, discarded, ruined, stolen and rewritten, and screenwriters, the same fate for them, plus doublecrossed, outwitted, betrayed, and and rarely, successful. It’s a mean life, and if I learned one thing from it, it is that I would never, ever want the job of a Ho ...more
Michelle Miller
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book. It is a great depiction of any Artist's plight and how we are all not alone. I related to the screenwriter who wrote and who's stories never got made, the successful writers who wrote our most beloved films, the ones who were rewritten, the ones who worked for years without success only to get one film made. All of it. I highly recommend this specifically to anyone who writes, but also to any artist pursuing a dream. ...more
Malcolm Frawley
Apr 24, 2021 rated it liked it
Although only published in 2010 there is something about this collection of interviews that seems a little out of date. Not that the 50 screen writers sharing their thoughts don't have useful information & fascinating tales to share. Having been around this block a little there wasn't a whole lot I hadn't previously been aware of but, for any writer starting out, this may well be a treasure trove. ...more
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked the book because it has so many different perspectives. What else can I say. It was fun learning a little about the lives of screenwriters and how Hollywood works. It makes me want to be a screen writer even though it sounds as if its a tough job.
Vincent Eaton
Apr 23, 2018 rated it liked it
For someone starting off in Hollywood for a possible screenwriting career, this book would be of immeasurable help. If not, it is still a fun read of what a screenwriter's life and career in Hollywood is like, the ups and the many downs. ...more
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This full of fascinating anecdotes, information, and stories regarding the pursuit of a screenwriting career. It's covering material from respected and award winning writers who have worked across a variety of genres. It also covers advice for all points of a screenwriterly career. ...more
Jun 28, 2015 rated it liked it
"You can write a script a day, every day, for your whole life, if you're that motivated."

Invaluable information about Hollywood procedures from the people who lived it: major motion-picture screenwriters. I often felt like I was having coffee with the writers while reading their take on industry elements like arbitration. If you try to internalize the lessons they're imparting here, this is what you should remember:

* Your first screenplay will not sell, but it may work as your calling card;
* st
May 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing-how-to
Horror Stories from Hollywood

Hanson, Peter, & Herman, Paul Robert (Eds.) (2010) Tales From the Script: 50 Hollywood Screenwriters Share Their Stories. New York: Harper Collins.

The Title is apt: These are anecdotal reports from scriptwriters falling into the category of “horror stories.” It’s about scripts rejected, discarded, ruined, stolen, savaged; and screenwriters themselves doublecrossed, outwitted, betrayed, and and rarely, successful. It’s a mean life, and if I learned one thing from this
Oct 24, 2010 rated it liked it
While I admire Peter Hanson and Paul Robert Herman greatly for gathering the staggering amount of participating scribes, the book's strength is also its weakness. With so many screenwriters, nothing is explored deeply. The anecdotes told are just that, anecdotes -- it's not done in an interview style, so there's no follow up questions, or, at times, clarity to the writers' original statements.

When Shane Black (pg. 111) says he felt cursed by the money he made after the Leathal Weapon movies, and
Apr 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic! The authors interviewed, as the title indicates, fifty Hollywood screenwriters from veterans to newbies, and arranged the results into chapters which feature snippets from those interviews. The chapters start at the beginning — their breaking-in stories — and move to topics like: what it's like to work with the "power players" like executives and directors; the "slings and arrows" screenwriters have to put up with; turning director; what it takes to go the distance. Through it all, yo ...more
This is a great collection of interviews with screenwriters (and writer-directors) from Hollywood past and present (or present as of 2008, when the hardcover version was published), including Allison Anders ("Gas, Food Lodging"), Shane Black ("Lethal Weapon"), John Carpenter ("Halloween"), Frank Darabont ("The Shawshank Redemption"), Nora Ephron ("When Harry Met Sally"), William Goldman ("Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"), Paul Mazursky ("Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice"), Billy Ray ("Shattered Gla ...more
Catherine Howard
Feb 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Yay! It's nearly the end of February and I've read my first book of 2014. Shameful but then I am trying to finish writing my own...

TALES FROM THE SCRIPT has been on my To Read list for a while, and it while it wasn't as gleefully entertaining as I hoped (like SAVE THE CAT or TALES FROM DEVELOPMENT HELL are) it was still an intriguing insight into the life of a Hollywood screenwriter. I would say though that's it about 60:40 on Advice: Anecdotes, and it's the anecdotes I prefer. Still, definitel
Joshua Pruett
Aug 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Forget the screenwriting gurus and "how to write a screenplay in eight days" books, this is right from the horse's mouth - real advice from the writers who write, NOT the talkers who talk. Great stuff in easily digestible anecdotal bites; highlights include John Carpenter, Paul Schrader, Shane Black and Frank Darabont and some real zingers from Melville Shavelson that ends the book on a high note. All the best advice is proved out by repetition - don't be a dick, take the note, complaining is fo ...more
Mar 23, 2012 rated it liked it
It's an interesting look at screenwriting from the perspective of a number of established screenwriters. However, each snippet from a writer lasts only a paragraph or two, so it sort of all ends up blending together into one overall story about screenwriting without letting us see the personality of any particular writer. Which is a shame, because one of the main reasons I was interested in the book in the first place was to get to know some writers better. Still, the main theme throughout the b ...more
George Shubin
Mar 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
By interviewing over 50 established screenwriters, this book provides a broad-spectrum look behind the scenes of an industry that fascinates so many people. We learn of all the struggles, frustration, disappointment, joy, and satisfaction that a screenwriter experiences in his dealings with agents, producers, studio executives, directors, and actors.

If you are the least bit interested in learning how the hamburger that is a movie comes to be, then this book is both a cautionary tale and an inspi
May 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Not so much a screenwriting manual, but lessons in what to expect within the film industry as a writer told in the form of cautionary tales, harsh realities and inspiration.

The books strong point is the great cross section of writers they interview: Shane Black, John August, William Goldman, Frank Darabont, Paul Schrader, David Hayter (Snake! Snaaaaaake!),John Carpenter and these are just the ones off the top of my head.

There are also some great "behind the scenes" stories in the book (the cha
Rick Barry
Sep 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
A screenwriter recommended this book as a fascinating inside look into the stories of the screenwriters behind today's film industry. My friend was right. I had no idea how brutal this industry could be. Movie scripts getting rewritten THIRTY to FIFTY times. Writers who toil and slave away to develop their story--only to have it yanked away from him and given to other writers to rework and get credit for it. If you have any inclination toward writing for the film industry, you might want to star ...more
Jul 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
A good collections of stories and insights from successful Hollywood screenwriters dealing with the struggles and successes that being a screenwriter entails. The editing of these stories seems purposefully done so that there is no one agenda being presented; one writer will say something that is immediately contradicted by what the next writer says. But that's to be expected; each person has there own sotry and experiences, there is no one size fits all way to being a screenwriter. ...more
Michael January
Aug 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Fascinasting look into the real world of screenwriting. From the people who do it. Go past all the hype about the whole movie glamour thing and look at the process of what it takes to thrive...and survive. No sugar coating here. It's oddly inspiring, presenting the challenge of the business in raw terms, but making you realize that if this is something you want to pursue, you have to view it with clear eyes and a steel spirit. ...more
Mar 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book will not teach you rules but it will teach experiences. It will give you a clear picture of what writing is in reality from getting an idea to finishing the script and finding a buyer. Real life screenwriters, talk about their experiences on various topics guiding you from step to step. Very good book. Will recommend it.
Oscarito Martiruiz
Nov 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Interesting stories from screenwriters. Good advise and insight from Hollywood, considering the current state of the movie industry, it would be valuable in future editions to include more content on experiences working with online platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, etc when it comes to original content.
Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
The book is a cold bucket of water about the realities of being a screenwriter. It gives a quick snapshot of many experiences from successful screenwriters, the good, the bad and everything in-between.
Feb 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great book, mostly focused on the shittier side of screenwriting from people who would know. If you finish this book and still want to pursue a screenwriting career, you know it's for you. I've seen the documentary and also recommend it. ...more
Sep 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
"Excellent accounts of the under appreciated screenwriters of Hollywood. If you plan on becoming a screenwriter, plan on reading this book." ...more
Harri Kauhanen
Jan 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Insightful book for anyone trying to achieve a hard goal. You don't need to be a screenwriter or even wanna-be screenwriter to like the real-life stories of these real-life people. ...more
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