Book Review: FilmCraft: Screenwriting


Publisher: Focal Press

Release Date: April 11, 2013

The FilmCraft book series focuses on specific disciplines within the filmmaking profession using interviews from noteworthy professionals in the field. This volume by Tim Grierson features interviews with 15 screenwriters, and profiles of 5 other important screenwriters.

The screenwriters interviewed in this volume are:

Hossein Amini
Guillermo Arriaga
John August
Mark Bomback
Jean-Claude Carrière
Lee Chang-dong
Stephen Gaghan
Christopher Hampton
David Hare
Anders Thomas Jensen
Billy Ray
Whit Stillman
Robin Swicord
Caroline Thompson
David Webb Peoples

The screenwriters profiled are:

Woody Allen
Ingmar Bergman
Paddy Chayefsky
Ben Hecht
Billy Wilder & I.A.L. Diamond

There will certainly be those that question Tim Grierson’s choice of screenwriters, but it would be nearly impossible to include every relevant writer in a single volume. The writers were chosen come from very diverse backgrounds, and this makes the individual interviews unique and valuable. Any reservations that one has about these particular choices are likely to fade once they start reading the book.

Those looking for a manual about script structure or a manual on “how to write a screenplay” will likely be disappointed with the text. The book is meant to be a resource of inspiration. There is a wealth of conflicting information (and advice) related to the readers. The idea that holds the volume together is that there are as many approaches to writing a screenplay as there are screenwriters. The writers interviewed talk passionately about their craft, and engage the reader immediately. The text is illustrated with wonderful photos, set drawings, and storyboards that make the book a visual treat. FilmCraft: Screenwriting is another addictive volume in the FilmCraft series. It will be a treasured addition to the libraries of anyone who loves the cinema, and a wonderful resource to future screenwriters.

Review by: Devon Powell

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