INSPIRATION FROM A BRILLIANT TEACHER
'This is a real hands-on practical book that really helps you to focus on how to make your script stand out. What makes it so different from all the screenwriting guides out there is that it's like having a brilliant and inspirational teacher who also has experience of writing screenplays at your elbow, encouraging you to develop your own story in your own way.
But it's also different because it gives practical breakdowns of how the most original and distinctive screenplays get written, then gives exercises to apply to your own script. Particularly helpful are all the weblnks which direct you to clips and scripts to illustrate what is being discussed at any given point.
It shows why the best screenplays have what Kiernan calls 'Emotional Pull'. It's the characters and the story you need to focus on, not a pre-designed formula that's supposed to be applied to every script. The chapter on 'The Power of Cinematic Visuals' is the best thing I've ever read about how to tell a story for the screen. It's full of ideas and suggestions not found in the manuals. For example, there are weblinks to paintings by masters of visual storytellers like Caravaggio (who inspired Coppola) which make you realise how important it is to be thinking in pictures as you write your script.
Another real plus is all the 'Think Outside The Box' sections. Instead of spending all your time trying to squeeze your story into a rigid structure, you're encouraged to develop your creativity and trust your story-telling instincts.
A brilliant book.'
An independent film producer and tutor of film
‘I've been consistently impressed with Dr. Kiernan's work and this book adds to this view. Throughout the book the reader is guided through a process of screenwriting that is both logical and geared towards allowing creativity to blossom. I am not a screenwriter myself but I have numerous friends who are and there does seem to be a belief that you must write a script with a rigidly prescribed structure (of the sort seen in Hollywood's big summer offerings) in order to write a great movie. The premise of this book is that this approach is actually a hindrence to creativity and that the movies which are held by audiences and critics alike to be the best ever made have not followed a three act structure. This is evidenced with numerous examples and detailed analyses throughout the book; such films as Apocalypse Now, Fight Club, Pulp Fiction and Slumdog Millionaire are referenced.
Although I'm not a screenwriter myself I found it to be an extremely interesting read. If I were a screenwriter it seems it would be an incredibly useful tool when writing a script. The book includes exercises where you can put into practice the techniques and methods you've learnt. The reader is also told where they can find clips and scripts online which will allow you to see for yourself the topic being discussed at that particular point in the book. There are even a few pages at the end of each chapter which can be used for 'Your Notes'. Everything is designed so that this little tome can be a comprehensive workbook for any screenwriter.
The book is also aesthetically very pleasing and ergonomically well designed.
All in all then, this is an excellent book that is both interesting to non-professionals and very useful for screenwriters who are either just starting out or who wish to refine their craft to write a great movie.
US Amazon Review
‘If creative (as distinct from functional) writing can be taught - always a matter worth debating - then the beginners needs teachers. As do, if they're smart, the experienced. For the novel, few can match the kindness and acuteness of Dorothea Brande's famous "Becoming a Writer." Now, at last, the screenplay has its equal. "Screenwriting They Can't Resist" is an essential book, accessible, hugely informed and, like all great handbooks, underpinned by the writer's passion for the subject and generosity to the reader. From "Hamlet" to "Mad Men," from Kurosawa to the Coen Brothers, Kiernan ranges with warmth and ease between the classics and commonsense, and nails it chapter by chapter. Read this book with your computer, click on the myriad links she gives you to movie clips and interviews, and enjoy the new depth of learning available via the Internet. Go to the texts she quotes, see the depths she's coming from, and understand that writing for the screen springs from the same earth as all art. And at last here is somebody unafraid to build a solid bridge between the emotional and the commercial; become a good, elegant and knowing screenwriter, in touch with what you see, imagine and believe, is her message, and you'll sell your work. Five shiny stars - plus a footprint at Grauman's.
US Amazon Review