978-1-883318-18-5 / 9781883318185

Screenwriters: America's Storytellers in Portrait


Publisher:Angel City Press



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About the book:

Even if you don't agree with the editors that screenwriting is the toughest and riskiest profession in the movie business, this lovely book holds tremendous appeal. Screenwriters offers unique visual and verbal portraits of each of the 47 writers covered. The striking photographs presented here were exhibited at the Cannes Film Festival, as well as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The book also offers brief comments from the screenwriters on the art of writing, particularly for the silver screen.

Paul Schrader, who wrote the screenplays for Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and Affliction, claims, "Everybody wants to talk. It's like a compulsion." Nora Ephron, who scripted You've Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, and When Harry Met Sally..., compares writing for the screen to "delivering a great big beautiful plain pizza, then the director sees it and wants to add mushrooms, and others want to add green peppers and anchovies, until you have a pizza with everything and you think, 'Why didn't I lie down in traffic to prevent anyone's putting green peppers onto the pizza?'" Novelist Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, from whose pen flowed the Merchant-Ivory adaptations of Howards End, The Remains of the Day, and A Room with a View, maintains: "Whether I'm writing films or fiction, I feel I'm always the same writer with the same concerns--about making a story move; about establishing interesting characters and developing the relationship between them."

Reading this book, one realizes how little most of us know about screenwriters. Considering the media attention lavished upon actors and actresses, it is refreshing and revealing to hear from the people who craft the words uttered onscreen. Although we may have listened to screenwriters' words without recognizing their authors, this book gives us the chance to pay attention to their voices. --Raphael Shargel

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