Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Writing in Pictures by Joseph McBride - a review

"Writing in Pictures: Screenwriting Made (Mostly) Painless" by Joseph McBride is a new book written by a produced screenwriter and screenwriting instructor. 
While I enjoyed reading this book, and agree with the statement that there are very few, if any books that teach you to writer professional screenplay, I don't think this is a book for beginners, unless you've read scripts before.
As someone interested in the process of adaptation, I found this book extremely helpful. Any novelist looking to adapt their work would do well to read this book.
With great software available these days, formatting is done for you, so knowing how to tell a story is where a writer should be concentrating. That's what this book teaches, how to tell a good story.
McBride uses Jack London's short story "To Build a Fire" as his teaching tool. Taking the reader through the extensive (and VERY necessary) process of "breaking the spine" of the story, character bios, treatments and outlining, he prepares the writer for the process before typing FADE IN.
I loved the movie references throughout the book, and now have a long list of must see movies. It's obvious McBride loves film, and his extensive history as a critic gives the reader much food for thought.
I really enjoyed the way this book was written, as if McBride was sitting across from me, doling out nuggets of information.
As a produced screenwriter who has read many books on the subject, and the co-founder of Script Chat, I can tell you, this book was a breath of fresh air.
(Disclaimer - this book was given to me by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review)

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