Story at a Glance

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Review – That’s Not the Way It Works

I list on my “Resources” page what I believe comprises the base library necessary for new screenwriters to begin learning how to find the best version of the story hidden in their idea. But as I say there, they are by no means the limit of the fantastic advice available to screenwriters of all levels about both the craft and trade. Hence this ongoing series.

Bob Saenz is a rock star in the main Facebook screenwriting group, and for good reason. Having started as an actor in the late ’80s, he made the transition from that to pro screenwriter, from TV to streamers to features, and over the years has shared generously from that journey. His no-nonsense, behind-the-scenes look at everything involved in being a working screenwriter, from story development to deals to notes to networking is a refreshing turn from theory and hypotheticals.

How does a sale or option work? Bob explains them as he personally does them himself. What’s the process of adapting a novel for the screen? Bob narrates his own personal process. How do you work with a manager or agent? Bob relates his own personal experiences. What are the rules you need to follow when it comes to screenwriting? Oh—Bob definitely has an opinion on that. You won’t find a more “you are there” approach to screenwriting advice.

After years of sharing it all on Facebook, though, he distilled all of that experience and knowledge into his excellent That’s Not the Way It Works. Especially if you’re just starting out, buy it. You owe it to yourself to know exactly what the real nature is of this bizarre, frustrating art/business hybrid of a profession called screenwriting. and Bob spells it out as plainly as if he were sitting across the table from sharing a beer. You simply won’t find a better introduction to the day-to-day life and methods of a pro screenwritier.

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