Crafty Screenwriting Writing Movies That Get Made

Alex Epstein

Holt Paperbacks



Trade Paperback

288 Pages



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Most screenwriting books focus on how to write a "good" screenplay. But in the movie business, a screenplay isn't "good" unless it might one day get made into a movie. A seasoned development executive, Alex Epstein has not only seen his own television and movie scripts produced, he has accepted and rejected countless screenplays and supervised dozens of writers. Now, in this indispensable guide, he shows how to write a script that will make a producer think, "This is a movie!" Fresh and provocative, Crafty Screenwriting answers questions other books don't ask and cheerfully slaughters the sacred cows of "how-to" screenwriting.


Praise for Crafty Screenwriting

"From the most elevated artistic concerns to the mundane details of how many brads to bind your script with, Alex Epstein shines the light of common sense and experience on this tricky, delicate, and profitable art. Every page sparkles with wisdom and wit. It is my new answer to the dozens of questions I'm asked by new writers eager to get it right."—Don Roos, screenwriter of Love Field, Boys on the Side, The Opposite of Sex, and Bounce

"Alex Epstein brings a screenwriting pro's honesty, skill, and expertise to a field otherwise crowded with how-to-write quacks."—John Badham, director of Saturday Night Fever, War Games, and Stakeout

"I wish more writers knew what makes a script worth producing—not just how to structure a plot and write good dialogue, but how to come up with a story that people want to see on the screen. Crafty Screenwriting explains all of that in a clear and often hilarious way. I hope a lot of writers read this book; then I'll get more screenplays I want to make into movies."—Paul Colichman, president of Regent Entertainment, producer of Gods and Monsters

"This is that rare kind of book about screenwriting that is truly helpful. It tells you how to write not merely a script that shows you off, but a script that convinces producers to make it into a movie."—Eleanor Bergstein, screenwriter of Dirty Dancing

"Crafty Screenwriting explains what no one else seems to be explaining: how to write a screenplay that's not only a good read, but a good movie project that a producer can make into a good movie. Shrewdly realistic and funny."—Pieter Kronenburg, producer of The Hotel New Hampshire, Treasure Island, and more than two dozen other films

"Crafty Screenwriting is an invaluable tool for anyone attempting to penetrate the dangerous thickets of Hollywood with an idea in their hand and not much else. This book gives you an actual, workable road map, if followed with a strict loyalty to your own creativity, will guide
up0you through the often terrifying journey of confusion and rejection toward the bright realization of your singular talent!"—Henry Jaglom, writer and director of Deja Vu, Eating, and Always

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

Crafty Screenwriting
1HOOKWhat's a screenplay? Good question. After all, if you're going to write one, you ought to know the answer. Right?You probably already know an answer. A screenplay is writing intended to be turned into film. It's a hundred-odd pages held together by brass brads, in which you have written down whatever you want the audience to see and hear in your movie.If it gets made, the director will come up with a whole new vision, the actors will change your dialogue, the editor will concoct another way to order the scenes, and it won't be "your movie" anymore. That's okay. A screenplay
Read the full excerpt


  • Alex Epstein

  • Alex Epstein has worked as a development executive, screenwriter, and television story editor for more than a decade. He has helped develop projects with directors such as Richard Attenborough and John Badham. A graduate of Yale University and the UCLA School of Film and Television, he is the creator of the popular website
  • Alex Epstein