Thursday, April 5, 2012


Photo Credit: Michael Wiese Productions

When I was in high school my greatest dream was to become a Hollywood screenwriter. I envisioned going to film school and being successful. I loved writing scripts for my creative writing class in high school, and it was great practice. Though my love of writing never diminished, becoming a screenwriter was a massive dream that went into dormancy. However, as a hopefully ever-growing creative, writing scripts is still something I’d like to do someday as part of my writing portfolio.

That’s why I was really excited to pick up a screenwriting book by D.B. Gilles called THE SCREENWRITER WITHIN: NEW STRATEGIES TO FINISH YOUR SCREENPLAY & GET A DEAL. For anyone interested in becoming a screenwriter, this book is an incredibly helpful introduction to what it takes and what steps to take toward that career pursuit. Gilles breaks down the information in the book into five parts:

1. Storytelling
2. Characterization
3. Dialogue and Conflict
4. Finding Your Niche
5. Game Plans for the Business You’ve Chosen

I’ve read a lot of books on storytelling, and what I like about this book was the simple and helpful way Gilles described how to structure a story for a screenplay. He separates the standard three-act structure into what he calls “The Punctuation Theory of Screenwriting.” This is a really helpful concept in formulating a screenplay’s plot. Gilles gives really helpful information about high concepts, using life to find story ideas, developing the plot, and writing story outlines that become treatments that become screenplays.

His discussions of characterization and dialogue are spot on, and the book closes with some very practical tips and encouragement for aspiring screenwriter. Gilles doesn’t make light of what it takes to be a screenwriter, but he does encourage writers to develop thick skin and the perseverance to pursue writing a winning screenplay.

THE SCREENWRITER WITHIN is an easy read and comes in at only 235 pages. It’s a practical and realistic guide to screenwriting. I’d encourage anyone with a dream of writing a screenplay to pick it up and take Gilles’ advice.

I received this book for free for review from Michael Wiese Productions

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