David S. Cohen - Screen Plays

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Stacks Image 9
Hardcover, Paperback, e-Book
Written by David S. Cohen
HarperColllins/Dey Street
352 Pages
Released 2/10/2009

ISBN: 9780061431579
ISBN 10: 0061431575
Trimsize: 6.00 in (w) x 9.00 in (h) x 0.88 in (d)

Every green-lighted screenplay travels a long and harrowing road from idea to script to celluloid. In this fascinating survey of contemporary film craft, David Cohen of Script and Variety magazines interviews screenwriters from across the board—Oscar winners and novices alike—to explore what sets blockbuster successes apart from downright disasters. Tracing the fortunes of twenty-five films, including Troy, Erin Brockovich, Lost in Translation, and The Aviator, Cohen offers valuable insider access to the back lots and boardrooms, to the studio heads and directors, and to the overcaffeinated screenwriters themselves. Full of critical clues on how to sell a script—and avoid seeing it destroyed before the director calls "Action!"—Screen Plays is a book that both the aspiring screenwriter and curious cinephile will find irresistible.
Q: What are the best books you’ve read about Hollywood?

A: I recommend Screen Plays by David S. Cohen. It gives an overview of 25 films from their creative genesis through development, production and release, including the aftermath. You get a sense of the slow struggle and attrition of this business, not the 'legend' that is usually passed along.

"Bob Odenkirk: By the Book," New York Times Sunday Book Review
Cohen’s is a surefire crowd-pleaser for casual movie fans and true cineastes.
Great read. ... If you want to be in the business then you need to read this book.
Bill Cunningham,Pulp 2.0 blog
A great read for screenwriters, for anyone with screenwriting ambitions, or for anyone who has sat in a theater wondering, 'How did this piece of crap get made?
Jim Windolf, Contributing Editor, vanityfair.com
I am not usually one given to writing fan letters but I am making an exception in your case - I just finished your book Screen Plays and wanted to extend my highest praises - what a terrific book! ....Your book was inspiring and at the same time highly familiar to me - I could not put it down. Please write a sequel!”
Christopher Heard, author and screenwriter.
Perhaps you can't even count the number of times you've been sitting in a movie theater, thinking of all the other things you'll never buy with your misspent money, and you turn and say to your equally dismayed companion, 'How did this piece of crap ever get made?' A fascinating, detailed dissection of the screenwriting process, David S. Cohen's Screen Plays explores exactly that question .... There are roughly eight million "how to write a hit screenplay" books littering bookstore shelves. Avoid them all. Get your expertise from the mouths of those who have been through the process; learn from their mistakes and take their successes to heart. Screen Plays is a fascinating book that will inspire any screenwriter, professional or otherwise, and help guide him/her through the tangled morass of the modern film industry.
Robbin Parrish,GeekExchange
Most books on screenwriting focus on the craft of writing, but Cohen shows us what happens to the script after it’s written. For people who want to get into the screenwriting trade, it is a valuable look at what can and will happen to them and their scripts as the scripts turn into films.
Tom Stempel, screenwriting teacher and author
I just finished reading your Screen Plays book and I have to say it was the most enjoyable and informative book I have read about the art of screenwriting in years. It is so refreshing to get into the back story of how movies were put together, how the writers tick, that I am already wanting "How 25 More Scripts Made It To A Theatre Near You" and after that, "Yet Even More Scripts" Basically I am begging you to keep this going, make it into a regular series.
Todd Gordon, The Moviequill blog
Screen Plays is a great look into the life and work of a working screenwriter. The scribes interviewed are exceedingly honest about what the process of adapting a book, working with a partner, losing a project, or seeing a movie flop or suffer the fate of bad reviews was like. It would behoove any aspiring writer to read this. Learn how to protect your work, or if you’ll be able to. Read about what faith in a project can do and how to get (most) of what you like about a script onto the screen. Experience vicariously what it’s like to be told your picture won’t get a release because of content, or how your masterpiece is way too long and pricey. Find out which battles you’ll have to fight, and which you probably shouldn’t. Screen Plays deserves a spot on any screenwriter’s bookshelf.
Covering a very wide range of writers and film genres, and written in a consistently entertaining style, Screen Plays is highly recommended reading. I have but one suggestion for Mr. Cohen: bring on the sequel, already!
Wout Thielemans, Scriptwriting Secrets from... Belgium?!? blog