Friday, 31 October 2008

REVIEWS: 1st Edition, 1996 (

by Big Dave (Boise, Idaho)
[December 3rd, 2001]
5 Stars

I read this before reading Syd Field, Christopher Vogler, and the others. This book is almost intimidating in its detail, but for a self-teaching writer I recommend it above the others because:
1. MORE DETAILED STRUCTURE. Frensham breaks down the structure of a script into smaller, tighter detail than simply having three acts, or three plot points. Once you know the material, cliche cliche, you can play with it, but it's revealing to see how the whole thing hangs together.

2. MORE KINDS OF STRUCTURE. Having broken movie structure down by scene and climaxes, Frensham then proceeds to break it down by sequences. Additional analytical tools give you more ways to think about a movie and therefore more ways to diagnose the illnesses of your own writing.

3. EXERCISES. Frensham explains a concept and then gives you homework. Go watch movies A, B, C and D and identify X, Y and Z about them. Great practice, and once you've done it with the films you know, it becomes very easy to do it with new films.

4. ALL ABOUT WRITING. Frensham wastes very little time on trying to tell you how to second guess the reader, the producer or the market or whining about pet peeves or sharpening his ax for bloodshed. There is some information about marketing, but mostly this book is what it declares itself to be in its title -- a tool for teaching yourself to write.
Bon appetit.

by avdr (San Diego, California, USA)
[August 21st, 2000]
4 Stars

This book covers pretty much everything about screenwriting. it teaches you everything from structure, dialogue, characters, re-writes, but it makes it kind of difficult for the novice screenwriter. the author talks to much and confuses you. also as you read, there are excercises that you do. apperently the author wants you to be working on a screenplay while reading this book. bad idea. finish any book and then start your screenplay so you wont be confused.

by James Henry (Tokyo)
[August 14th, 2000]
5 Stars

There's a deliciously sweet irony here in that this humble (teach yourself series) little gem of a book is, in my opinion, better organized and more comprehensive and inspiring than other big-name books (including those written by screenwriting titans Robert McKee and Syd Field) I've read on scriptwriting. It's an intelligent, no-nonsense, nuts and bolts instruction manual that is sprinkled with humor, insight, and inspirational comments, suggestions, and encouragement. You won't be disappointed.

By Mark J. Janky (Batavia, Illinois, USA)
[July 11th, 2000]
4 Stars

I've been trying to get my hands on any and every screenwriting book I can find. I have the desire and ideas but I want to make sure I'm following the rules, and Mr. Frensham does a very good job explaining them. There are plenty of exercises to keep you busy for a long time before writing one word of screenplay. The underlying theme of the book is: THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS!

This book could easily take the place of one of the intensive week long writing classes being offered these days. The areas covered are Layout, Originating Your Ideas, Developing the Ideas, Creating Characters, Character Growth, Sequences and Scenes, Emotions, Rewrites, Assembling Portfolios, Copyrighting, Agents, Your Writing Career, The Industry, and finally an excellent Appendix of addresses for various screenwriting related topics.

Out of the 22 chapters included, the shortest one at two pages is entitled THE ACTUAL WRITING, and if you read this book you will realize the actual writing of the screenplay is the least amount of work. A very, very, good book and it fits in my pocket.

by williedynamite (PlanetEarth)
[May 6th, 2000]
4 Stars

I found the teach yourself screenwritng book to be extremely useful in my attempts to write a screen play. This is the first book that really breaks down stories into it's smallles fragments sothat you can understand it. Throughout the book the author uses the movie Witness as a model story. What I appreciated about this book is how it explains each and every part of a story. From the initial idea to the resolution. There is also a handy appendix section that provides info on screenwriting books, magazines, workshops, organizations, seminars and web sites. Very useful

By Mark Brown (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)
[April 3rd, 2000]
4 Stars

In this book Frensham assumes that every novice writer is out to make millions from Hollywood. Hollywood scripts have become a formula. A formula that is often very effective but none the less a formula. However this is a great book for new writers who need to learn the rules before they start breaking them.

Most importantly Frensham takes us through a step by step writing process from the generation of ideas through to editing the script. This is an important skill for new writers who are reluctant to do any prewriting.

Buy "Teach Yourself Screenwriting" and learn about character motivation, the 3 act structure, sequences and the 8 basic stories. Whether or not you agree with Frensham’s ideas this book will definitely get you thinking.

by A Customer
[March 7th, 2000]
5 Stars

Awesome, awesome book! I've purchased six books on screenwriting and so far this is the best one I've found!

By N.A.Bhatti (Birmingham, UK)
[February 28th, 2000]
2 Stars

I found this book to be cluttered up with rules and what not. It was more like filling out an application form and checking if you're making the requirements rather than a movie with themes and emotions. I found it disheartening and it nearly made me give up screenwriting One to avoid I urge you.

By A. Customer
[July 29th, 1996]
5 Stars

Mr Frensham knows all the tricks and knows all the pitfalls. Read this book and you will have everything you need to know at a fraction of the price. No need to go to expensive script gurus and listen to their high powered sales talk. No need to read all the others on how to do the thing. Read this and then just write, and write well.

The message of this book is that nothing succeeds better than having something to say and the chutzpah to make sure the right people get to see it. It is a simple lesson and sums up about everything anyone else has to say on the subject.

Mr Frensham is also a little crazy and it is worth reading this just to see how a career in scriptwriting can affect one's psyche. Mr Frensham should be given a lecture tour and paid large sums of money because he is the only person who really understands the sheer idiocy of the system and at the same time has no personal axe to grind. He can also be funny

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