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Writing in Pictures: Screenwriting Made (Mostly) Painless    by Joseph McBride order for
Writing in Pictures
by Joseph McBride
Order:  USA  Can
Vintage, 2012 (2012)
Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Carrol Wolverton

A key message from this book by a real-live screenwriter turned college prof is don't quit your day job. Like Red, from Jack London's famous short story, To Build a Fire, the uneducated and inexperienced make fatal mistakes.

Learn here the current and correct methods for writing in pictures. McBride defines key words and outlines formats. Step-by step, he turns London's story into a viable screenplay. Keep dialogue terse, he says, and don't write what you can't see. You must truly write in pictures. He reminds us that even the best successful, moneyed screenwriters are unemployed half the time. Most make little or nothing.

So why do it? Write for the joy of writing and creating. Don't write what you think the market wants, either. Be original, and write what you love and know. In addition, there is nothing wrong with producing and releasing screenplays locally and selling your own work. Theft of ideas a problem? You bet, but the author fails to mention one important way to self protect. Publish your own scripts. Upload works on amazon direct pub, smashwords,, or one of the free or near free publishing sites. Your publication date is recorded. Don't ever publish if you don't want to. Leave it in draft form, revise, rewrite, and order proof copies as needed. This beats sending yourself unopened, post-marked screenplays.

Like Red trudging through the frozen tundra, we are doomed without proper training and knowledge. I further learned from this author that London's early story had Red surviving. Only in a later version does he freeze to death. Sadly, his fate is an apt metaphor for most screenwriters.

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