Book – “Hollywoodaholic: Confessions of a Screenwriter”

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It seems like everybody wants to sell a screenplay. Everybody else wants to sell them a book or seminar on how to do it: How to format. How to structure. How to pitch an idea to an agent or producer. There’s even software available that will create a plot for you.

Nobody tells you what the real experience of a working screenwriter is like. Once and a while you’ll get a William Goldman or Joe Eszterhas, but these guys are millionaires. For every screenwriter who’s sold a million-dollar script there are 150 others just making a living at it, working in the trenches. And, for real writers, that’s usually enough.

The major studios typically read 50,000 scripts per year each. They buy about 150. They shoot about 10. At that point, politics often dictate which scripts get made and not quality. That’s why there are so many bad movies. But even without making the lucky 10 out of 50,000, you can thrive in the industry. First, you have to answer this question: Did I write this screenplay to become an instant millionaire, or will I continue to write screenplays because I can’t stop thinking in words and pictures? Answer the last part true and you just might be a screenwriter. Answer both parts true and you are definitely a Hollywoodaholic.

I wrote five screenplays before I sold one. I wrote 40 more by the time I sold 12 to the major studios. The mind games you play with yourself and within the industry to not only survive, but to sustain your focus and dreams are unbelievable. But they are no less an essential part of the process than format, or story, or structure. This is a book about the mental life of a working screenwriter. Enter it at your own risk.

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This book is really the original blog – it’s short letters written to friends, family, and a  good writer pal back East about what’s going on with my adventures in Hollywood. There was a LOT going on. There were a LOT of emotions. These letters kept me from getting down or taking anything too seriously. Maybe it will help others do the same.

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A. Wayne Carter is a produced screenwriter who worked in Hollywood for more than 16 years. He has written more than 40 screenplays and sold more than 12 to Universal, Paramount, Fox, HBO, Cannon, CBS, National Lampoon and others. Carter currently writes out of Orlando, consults on feature and television projects, guest lectures, and has taught college courses on screenwriting.

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