Skip to Main Content (Press Enter)
Writing in Pictures by Joseph McBride
Add Writing in Pictures to bookshelf
Add to Bookshelf

Writing in Pictures

Best Seller
Writing in Pictures by Joseph McBride
Paperback $16.00
Feb 28, 2012 | ISBN 9780307742926

Buy from Other Retailers:

See All Formats (1) +
  • Feb 28, 2012 | ISBN 9780307742926

    Buy from Other Retailers:

  • Feb 28, 2012 | ISBN 9780307744890

    Buy from Other Retailers:

Product Details


“Impressively readable, unpretentious, and remarkably useful. Based on a lifetime of experience and observation, as well as conversations with some of the greats (like Orson Welles, John Ford & Howard Hawks), Joe McBride’s comprehensive yet very succinct work should become a standard text.”
–Peter Bogdanovich, screenwriter, director, film historian
“I must confess that I had never read a how-to book straight through for the sheer pleasure of it, and I never expected to—until I got my hands on the splendid Writing in Pictures.  . . . A word of warning: in this book you will not find the Six Keys to Compelling Characters, the Seven Secrets of Successful Plotting, or the Eight Jungian Archetypes No Studio Executive Can Resist.  There are no magic formulae here—but if you do have a story to tell, this book will give you the solid practical advice you need to tell it in the most effective way.  Writing in Pictures is a short course in how to think cinematically.  It will change the way you write.  It will change the way you watch.”
     — Sam Hamm, screenwriter of Batman, Batman Returns, and “Homecoming”

If this isn’t the greatest screenwriting book ever, I’ll eat my hat Writing in Pictures is the kind of how-to book Ben Hecht would have written on that subject: a Socratic tour of the profession the novice aspires to, filled with screenwriting lore, for illustration and entertainment. If you want to judge someone’s work by how personal it is, this may just turn out to be Joe McBride’s masterpiece.”
–Bill Krohn, author of Hitchcock at Work and Hollywood correspondent, Cahiers du Cinéma

“In this unique contribution to the screenplay literature, Joe McBride invites writers to connect themselves to literary tradition, relying less on formulas and more on intelligent uses of classic storytelling technique. He blends general precepts, concrete examples, hard-won experience, and lively anecdotes into something more than the usual script manual: an invitation to participate in the great human adventure of sharing stories.”
     –David Bordwell, author of Poetics of Cinema
“A real contribution to a much-abused genre.  Most screenwriting “how to” books are either formulaic, craven, or both. . . .McBride’s book is something else.  It’s a straightforward, considered and lucid meditation on the arts and crafts of storytelling for the screen, informed by McBride’s unsurpassed knowledge of, and deep love for, the movies.”
     –Howard A. Rodman, screenwriter, teacher, and vice president of Writers Guild of America West
“If it is possible for only one book to embody the ethos of screenwriting, this is the one, a guide to screenwriting that is more than a guide — craft, history, practical advice, philosophical bedrock, wisdom, wit — and through it all, as in the very best screenplays, the reassurance of one clarion voice.”
     — Patrick McGilligan, film biographer and editor of the Backstory series of interviews with screenwriters
“McBride offers the kind of friendly but honest advice that will make him the mentor to a new generation of aspiring screenwriters. Born of long experience and exceptional insight, he distills the lessons of screenwriting history into a first-rate primer for the screenwriters of tomorrow.”
     –Julian Hoxter, screenwriter and author of Write What You Don’t Know: An Accessible Manual for Screenwriters

Table Of Contents

Introduction: Who Needs Another Book on Screenwriting?
Part I: Storytelling
1: So Why Write Screenplays?
2: What Is Screenwriting?
3: Stories: What They Are and How to Find Them
4: Ten Tips for the Road Ahead
Part II: Adaptation
5: Breaking the Back of the Book: or, The Art of Adaptation
6: Research and Development
7: The Elements of Screenwriting
8: Exploring Your Story and How to Tell It
Part III: Production
9: Who Needs Formatting?
10: Actors Are Your Medium
11: Dialogue as Action
12: The Final Script
13: Epilogue: Breaking into Professional Filmmaking
Appendix A: The Basic Steps in the Screenwriting Process
Appendix B: “To Build A Fire” by Jack London
Selected Bibliography

Looking for More Great Reads?
21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read
Get the latest updates about Joseph McBride
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
By clicking SIGN UP, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to Penguin Random House’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use and understand that Penguin Random House collects certain categories of personal information for the purposes listed in that policy, discloses, sells, or shares certain personal information and retains personal information in accordance with the policy. You can opt-out of the sale or sharing of personal information anytime.
Something awesome is on its way.
Back to Top