Book Review: Tales from the Script

Tales from the Script

50 Hollywood Screenwriters Share Their Stories
by Peter Hanson and Paul Robert Herman


In a nutshell: Filled with cautionary tales and intriguing anecdotes from writers such as Shane Black and William Goldman, this book should be on every writer’s reading list.

Recommended for: Every writer, no matter their ability. Beginning writers will get a blunt reality check about some of the unfairness in the business, while professional writers will relate with the anecdotes on a more personal level.

This book has some of the most profound, useful advice out there from professional writers who have been down that road many times. Now, they’ve made it back alive and want to share their wisdom. It’s on my required reading list not only because it’s an entertaining and speedy read, but because aspiring writers need to hear the truth about the business in order to avoid being crushed by the obstacles they aren’t aware of yet. Working writers should read this book because it’s inspiring. It proves that they aren’t alone in the industry trenches, hoping for green lights and timely checks.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

“I am a writer by choice, a producer through necessity, and a director in self-defense. I learned that being able to control all of those areas was a way to get your ideas on screen.”

“On a deeper level, learning to separate one’s professional life from one’s creative life is among the most complex growth experiences that any working artist undergoes. Those who find this delicate balance can retain enthusiasm for their work.”

Takeaway: The industry is bitterly competitive and often unfair. The good news is you can prepare yourself as best as you can for the challenges ahead by listening to what these experts have to say. Learn from their mistakes, their successes, and keep in mind that nothing good in life is easy.

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