by Syd Field
This was the first book I read on screenwriting, and I’m glad of it. This book breaks down the basics, teaching story structure and formatting for beginnings. This is a great book to start with if you want to learn or know more about screenwriting. The author, Syd Field, is well known within the Hollywood system as a screenwriting guru, probably the best known of any of the screenwriting gurus since he been around for years.
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Screenwriting
by Skip Press
This is probably my favorite book about screenwriting, but I tend to like the Idiot’s Guide books and Skip Press has a very engaging and entertaining way of writing. This book goes over the basics again, and in a simple format so that anyone can understand. The author also gives plenty of tips and strategies on not only how to write your screenplay, but on how to get it into the hands of a producer or production company. Well worth the money you pay for the book and the time it takes to read it. I highly recommend.
Lew Hunter’s Screenwriting 434
by Lew Hunter
Next to Syd Field, Lew Hunter is the next best-known screenwriting guru, and it shows here. This book goes beyond the basics, and covers tactics by some of the more successful screenwriters. Lew Hunter also offers several screenwriting workshops, so check out his Web site if you are interested. There’s a lot to learn from this man.
Secrets of Film Writing
by Tom Lazarus
As of this writing, Tom Lazarus has had nine of his screenplays made into movies. I think that, and his other experiences in film and television, more than qualify him as someone who can offer strong advice about writing screenplays. This book was excellent at giving me a new and more modern way to look at screenwriting beyond the basics.
How Not to Write a Screenplay
by Denny Martin Flinn
This author passed away in 2007, but he left behind a solid book that was backed up by his experience as a writer, director, dancer and actor. Flinn was quite well known for his Broadway work and even Off-Broadway, and he had some ties to the Star Trek crowd since he was a screenwriter for the movie “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.” This particular book, as the title suggests, tells you what not to do when writing a screenplay. Lots of basic, but solid, information here.