Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood and Screenwriting

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Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood and Screenwriting

Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood and Screenwriting

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In "Part Three: Da Vinci", Goldman shows the reader how he would go about adapting his own short story "Da Vinci" into a screenplay. You can read this book this book as a Hollywood tell-all, although having been written in the early 1980s, it's a bit dated now; but its real value is Goldman's insights about the business of writing for movies, which are like taking a master class.

However, the inclusion of the screenplay for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid makes the book even more valuable, especially since he also analyzes the screenplay and what works and what doesn't. Bill Goldman is painfully frank about his struggles, his weaknesses, and the seamy underbelly of the business that has paid his bills for decades. They give fascinating and practical insights into what they think of this screenplay and what makes a movie work in general, sometimes contradicting one another.Two big bonuses of this book: Goldman provides his entire screenplay of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and then analyzes what worked and what didn't. Written in 1982, but evidently Hollywood anxieties are eternal: sequels, television, IP, fragile egos of specific stars that are still with us. Art Kleiner wrote, "This is one of the three most engrossing 'creative confessional' books I've ever read. I'm really fond of Philip Kaufman's script and direction of The Right Stuff, which is faithful to Tom Wolfe's book, so it's probably fortuitous that Goldman was fired, particularly since he had no interest in Chuck Yeager, the most compelling character from Wolfe's book.

Perhaps the best Hollywood story in the book concerns the courtroom drama The Verdict, a movie that Goldman didn’t work on but one that perfectly illustrates the perils of working in Hollywood. He then solicits feedback from a suite of movie insiders: a director, editor, cinematographer, etc . Although he himself is a bona fide insider, it's clear that he holds Hollywood at arms'-length and doesn't take it or himself too seriously, which allows him to be free and candid with his observations. But if you're interested in the movie industry and are willing to weed through 600 pages (and twice as many ellipses), it's sometimes fun to watch the spray of Goldman's vindictive bloodletting. The recent sad news of the death of William Goldman reminded me of an episode (October 2017) of the wonderful Backlisted Podcast about his book Adventures in the Screen Trade.He then adapted his novel The Princess Bride to the screen, which marked his re-entry into screenwriting. According to Goldman, the single most important fact in the movie industry is that "Nobody Knows Anything". Goldman died in New York City on November 16, 2018, due to complications from colon cancer and pneumonia.

After reading this very good look at how movies get made, it is kind of amazing that any truly good movies ever make it to the finish line. I don't think I have much to say that hasn't been said repeatedly below but yes, this is an excellent behind-the-scenes look at the craft of screenwriting and yes, it's kind of crazy how well it holds up 30 years after it was written. Dustin Hoffman refused a scene in Marathon Man that required his character to keep a flashlight in his nightstand, Goldman insists, because Dustin thought it would make him look weak on screen, and every male movie star, deep down, will never allow himself to look weak on screen.

That strange blend of bitterness and false modesty permeates the rest of this farrago of a -- what is it, a memoir? I'm not quite enough of a film buff to really care about Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid or Marathon Man. Adventures in the Screen Trade is a sparkling memoir and every bit as entertaining as some of the landmark films he helped create (including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President's Men, and Marathon Man). Anyway, Goldman goes on to cheerfully disparage studio execs, actors, directors, actors, audiences, and also actors. The business is constricting, studios are making fewer movies, and all anyone cares about anymore is IP and blockbusters.

This] is that big, sad, funny, incisive, revelatory, gossipy, perception-forming book about Hollywood that publishers have been promoting for years -- and now the real thing is finally here. Goldman's insider's approach is still compelling, though I wondered how much of what he says about how Hollywood works is still true 36 years later. He devotes a section to subtext but doesn't seem to have a clear idea of the difference between subtext and basic cinematic storytelling techniques. He illustrates his advice by including the entire screenplay for Butch Cassidy, then analyzing its strengths and faults. Part Two: Adventures" has stories from 11 projects that Goldman has been involved with, from Charly and Masquerade, to the Academy Award-winning Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the President's Men, to some projects that remained unrealised, such as a musical remake of Grand Hotel.

He's so irritating, in fact, that after a two-week break away from Adventures in the Screen Trade I cashed in with over 100 pages left, because I couldn't stand the thought of going back to have him bitch at me like my worst film school instructors used to, bitter that a lack of work forced them into talking about their job instead of doing it. Goldman starts by telling readers that Nobody Knows Anything in Hollywood, by which he means that the movie business is extremely hard to predict, marked by frequent failures and occasional big hits. I think they should consider giving Oscars for meetings: Best Meeting of the Year, Best Supporting Meeting, Best Meeting Based on Material from Another Meeting.

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