The Screenwriter's Survival Guide: Or, Guerrilla Meeting Tactics and Other Acts of War

The Screenwriter's Survival Guide: Or, Guerrilla Meeting Tactics and Other Acts of War

by Max Adams


$13.11 $13.95 Save 6% Current price is $13.11, Original price is $13.95. You Save 6%.


In a town without pity -- namely Hollywood -- all you need is a map, a guide, and a ticket to success. The first two you're holding in your hands, the third is up to you. From the screenwriter who broke all the rules and made the movie industry sit up and take notice, this is the book that will help you where the Guild can't. Will you make that million-dollar first deal? We can't guarantee you will. We wouldn't say you won't, either. But you will stand an excellent chance of always being able to have lunch in this town (or any town at all) again.

About The Author

Max Adams is a working Hollywood Screenwriter. Recipient of a Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences and winner of an Austin Heart of Film Festival Screenwriting Award, Adams' original script "Excess Baggage" was purchased by Columbia Pictures and released in 1997 starring Alicia Silverstone. Since dubbed "Red Hot Adams" by "Daily Variety," she has worked with Columbia Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Studios, and Tri-Star Pictures. Her non-filmic writing credits include journalism, short fiction, essays, theatre, humor, and radio. She is the author of "The Screenwriter's Survival Guide: Or Guerrilla Meeting Tactics and Other Acts of War" (Warner Books); the sponsor of Three Pages, a comedy scene writing competition for screenwriters; and is currently attached as writer/director to her script "My Back Yard."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780446676229
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 03/01/2001
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.75(d)

Table of Contents

1.Why I Wrote This1
2.Starting from Ground Zero4
3.Who Buys Scripts7
4.Getting Read17
5.What a Pitch Is, and Isn't19
6.Pitching a Spec Script22
7.Pitching a Concept You Want to Write30
8.Writer Speak vs. Mogul Speak36
9.The Pitch Letter41
10.Cold Calling48
12.Happy Birthday, Read My Script58
13.Who Gets Read62
15.Submissions and Presentation69
16.Simultaneous Submissions77
19.Submission Records88
20.The Cost of Submission93
21.Following Up, Staying in Touch97
22.Selling Ideas101
23.Protecting Ideas103
24.Business Meetings106
25.Guerrilla Meeting Tactics114
26.Meeting People in General120
27.The Screenwriter's Uniform123
28.The Dating Metaphor127
30.Bad Agents146
31.Leaving an Agent152
32.Cheating on Agents158
33.Managers vs. Agents160
36.The Free Option177
37.What the Hell Do I Call This Chapter, or, Do It Right183
38.Who You Want to Work With190
39.On Writing That Works and Writing That Doesn't198
40.On "Visual" Writing, or, Your Lit Professor Lied203
41.Parentheticals and Other Lies206
42.What You See On Screen210
43.High Concept214
44.That Genre Is Dead216
45.Teen Girls Don't See Movies218
46.Writing for Ratings220
47.Don't Write Batman222
48.Writing "Marketable"225
49.Why You Do This228
50.The Green Light and Turnaround231
51.What You Really Get Paid235
52.The Guild239
53.Screen Credit and Arbitration245
54.Separation of Rights250
55.Entertainment Attorneys and Business Affairs253
56.Death and Taxes257
57.Reading Fees and Consultants260
58.Classes and Seminars266
59.Workshops and Critiques270
60.Clubs and Memberships278
62.Where to Get Scripts288
63.Do You Have to Live in L.A.?291
64.The Last Word294
Resources for Screenwriters296
Generic Release Form303
Sample Script Title Page307
Sample Script Page308
Sample Query Letter309

What People are Saying About This

Richard Walter

I see a zillion of these books, there seem to be two new ones a week: yours is an authentic standout! (Richard Walter, UCLA Screenwriting Chairman)

David Trottier

Practical and empowering this tactical guide arms you with the real rules of making it in Hollywood. (David Trottier, author, The Screenwriter's Bible)

Greg Beal

If you want to understand how hollywood works when you're the new kid on the block, this is the book to read. (Greg Beal, Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting )

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Screenwriter's Survival Guide: Or, Guerrilla Meeting Tactics and Other Acts of War 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've never seen a book go into such itsy bitsy detail - this is usually the stuff you find out the hard way. Most horrifying - the chapter on the screenwriter's uniform. (Can I really bring myself to wear gleaming tennis shoes?) Most edifying - how to write a pitch. Thanks for the tips, Max.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As an author who has contracted 4 books in the last 17 months and is currently working on a 5th book - a novel which I hope to turn into a movie, I was wondering, where I could get a book that would introduce me to the world of SCREENWRITING, but be as entertaining, as it is insightful and helpful!. This is the book. I would say this book is a must read for all Novelists! Max Adams writes with insight, and 'pitch'. She knows how to sell the point she is making, to you, the reader, in a way that isn't intimidating, but is engaging. Aside from her true life experiences, she's a wonderful writer. I hope to read her novels one day, as well as her screenplays. Marsha Marks
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is not another 'How To...Book' to be read once and put on a shelf. Written from the heart, the Screenwriter's Survival Guide is a book that can be used over and over again for profit, but can still be read for pure pleasure. A must have for any writer, or wannabe writer, of screenplays. Thanks, Max Adams, for sharing your experiences with us.
Guest More than 1 year ago
To be sure, there are scores of books that claim they will teach you how to write screenplays, how to write better screenplays, how to make good scripts great, and how to sell those scripts that have been made better by applying the lessons learned. Max Adams cuts through all that in 'The Screenwriter's Survival Guide,' in an engaging and witty style, with loads of useful information. ~~~~ What makes this book unique and useful is that Max Adams has not just researched her subject, she's lived it. Max Adams, a Nicholl Fellowship winner (the Academy's big-time screenwriting competition) and a produced Hollywood screenwriter (Excess Baggage), is the protagonist of this piece, and takes the reader along for the roller-coaster ride of getting a spec script read, repped by an agent, sold, and after surviving the development and rewriting gauntlets, produced. In many ways this book is as much about the script's survival as it is the scriptwriter's. ~~~~ All the stock characters play a part in 'The Screenwriter's Survival Guide.' If you've been around the block a couple of times, you've met some of them yourself, and if you're new to the scene ... hang on, you will. The bozos, the bad agents, the users -- they're all here -- and Max Adams tells you how they're all lurking in Hollywood, trying to keep you out, or trying to take advantage of you once you're in. ~~~~ Adams covers everything from the spec pitch (getting them to read the script you've already written), to the concept pitch (getting someone to pay you to write the script that's still in you're head), writer's speak vs. mogul's speak, taxes, getting around in Los Angeles, agents vs. managers vs. entertainment lawyers, the agent horror stories (all writers have 'em. Can't wait for the opportunity to share mine. Watch out, Maddie and Sam!) and so much more. Max Adams pulls no punches and even takes aim (boldly) at the Writer's Guild! But the mantra throughout is 'get read.' That's the most important hurdle you have to overcome trying to break into and remain in this business. First and foremost you must get read. If you don't get read, you're not going to sell, and if you don't sell ... you aint in. ~~~~ Above all, this book is as hilarious as it is useful. The 'dating metaphor' had me laughing out loud. The section on 'parentheticals and other lies' had me nodding with delight. And I breathed a sigh of relief reading Adams's chapter on 'the screenwriters' uniform.' I was properly dressed for the occasion, in a well-worn pair of Levis 505s (writers should have many, in varying stages of wear), a 'Fight Club' t-shirt (shamelessly plugging Chuck Palahniuk's book), a newish pair of sneakers, and a sports jacket draped over the back of my chair. Screenwriters don't wear Armani. If I had to pick the single most important piece of actual 'writing' advice in this book, it would be '[Screenwriters] write verb driven action sentences, free of clutter, that move story.' That's it. Boy, if you can get a handle on that, you're halfway home. So while Max Adams doesn't get bogged down in telling you how to write a movie script, she provides a great example, as the book is written in the same staccato style as one of her screenplays. ~~~~ Being someone who's written about screenwriting in Hollywood (Writing with Hitchcock), I recommend Max Adams' book highly. You'll love it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Max Adams' book is a real help to those of us who didn't know where to start and didn't know anyone in the business. It gives excellent tips and advice for surviving the business. The book is written in a very straight forward style never leaving you wondering what Adams is talking about. There is much humour in the book, helping make it an enjoyable read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Honest and helpful. Goes on the screenwriter's reading list. A quick read too, and humorous.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A book for students, working artists, industry professionals, and movie-goers alike -- Max Adams takes us into the world of screenwriting by translating her own hard-bought experiences into specific, easy to read chapters. By treating her career with passion and admirable honesty, Max Adams has accomplished what most gifted screenwriters work years toward but regrettably never find. Her book is a necessary guide to survival in Hollywood. As a mentor and an artist, Max Adams illustrates how to make success a habit. A great book and a great read!