Featured Book of the Month
The Hollywood Standard 2 by Christopher Riley
The Complete & Authoritative Guide to Script Format and Style
Early last year, we reviewed The Hollywood Standard: The Complete & Authoritative Guide to Script Format and Style, by Christopher Riley -- glowingly.
At the risk of repeating ourselves, we're about to do it again -- glowingly.
The expanded 2nd Edition of this exhaustive reference is now available. If you've been putting off buying a copy, now's the time to take the plunge!
Good screenplay formatting is often treated as negotiable, variable, even optional -- maybe so, for writers who are already famous.
But if you're a spec script writer trying to break into the business, you want your pages as clean and well-formatted as possible. You don't want to give those readers even the slightest excuse to pass it by!
Also, and perhaps equally important, knowing your formatting helps you focus less on the technical and more on the creative. It gives you the tools you need to communicate your vision clearly and sharply, to tell the exact story you want to tell.
There are many formatting manuals out there, but only this one comes from a veteran script proofreader for Warner Bros. In his 15 years there, Riley learned formatting at the knee of his venerable predecessors, and went through thousands of scripts. It's that rock-solid cred that separates this book from the others.
The 2nd Edition has a few minor improvements here and there -- for example, the section on Flashbacks has a new John August-approved convention which, as the book notes, "passes the tests of clarity and economy".
More significantly, in this edition you'll find formatting guidelines for handling text messages, caller IDs and e-mail. What's more, there's a new Quick Start guide and a section on common formatting mistakes, to ease you into the reference, and get you off to a good start.
Many sections also have new, chatty FAQs to discuss some of the ins and outs of the formatting under discussion.
The first edition was more trade paperback size -- this one is a full 8 1/2 x 11, with a "lay flat" binding so that you can keep it open on your desk for easy reference.
This book is the one screenplay format reference we use. As the final arbiter and argument-settler, it's the only formatting guide you really need.
Author Riley, though, never sets himself up as the final word on anything, and is happy to incorporate new information, as noted above, where it's warranted. What The Hollywood Standard offers is "a set of time-honored guidelines" to produce scripts which are "highly readable, clear, and professional."
That's what this book is -- and with its help, that's what your scripts will be too! Get your hands on a copy of this excellent reference...you'll be glad you did.
StoryPros Verdict: Recommended
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