I have been a huge fan of audiobooks for over 20 years. Whether I’m shopping or driving around or waiting for my son to get out of soccer practice, I’m always learning about something new. It all started back with the library in the small town where I grew up. I was never a very good reader, but I always felt like there was an easier way to get information into my brain. So my car became my school. My backseat was always full of all sorts of books. And these were the days when the books were on a cassette tape.
I remember when the iPod came out. Instead of looking at it as this wonderful device for music, I wondered if there was a way to put audiobooks on it. And sure enough, it was about the same time as Audible came on the scene. That was before they were part of Amazon.
I wanted to put together a quick article that highlighted some of my favorite Audiobooks about one of my favorite topics, screenwriting. If you have listened to the podcast, you know I’m kind of obsessed with the process of breaking down screenplays and the writing process. So here are some of my favorites. And, as an added bonus, you can get any 2 of these Audibooks completely free when you sign up for an Audible account.
10. The Hollywood Pitching Bible
Finally, a book that tells the truth about the art of pitching in Hollywood. In clear language, suitable for the beginner or the seasoned Hollywood professional this book breaks it down, step by step. From choosing the right idea, to selling it in the room, this book tells you how it’s done.
With decades of combined experience working in Hollywood as buyers, sellers and teachers, the authors have created the definitive book that will demystify the pitching process. It shows a reasoned, logical point of view and is supported by numerous specific examples. If you want to work in the Hollywood creative community, you must know how to pitch. This book will show you how.
9. Screenwriting for Anyone
Have you ever had an idea and thought to yourself “this would make a great movie?” Of course, storytelling is engrained in us all and movies have become our modern means to tell them. Recent innovations in film technology have made it easier than ever to get your ideas put onto the big screen. So what’s stopping you from writing that award winning screenplay? Screenwriting for Anyone is a four book box set that is a comprehensive guide to writing your script starting from the ground up. Each book will detail different aspects of the writing process beginning with the first book. Book One outline how to develop your idea into a feature length screenplay. Book Two gives you a detailed schedule to complete the first draft within 30 days and Book Three is a comprehensive guide on the dos and don’ts when creating a modern masterpiece. Book Four dives into the business side of screenwriting with proven methods on how to pitch your script and negotiate a deal. Screenwriting for Anyone is a one of a kind four book box set that will help you finally get that idea on paper and up onto the silver screen.
8. The Elements of Style
The Elements of Style has long been a valued and beloved resource for all writers. Hailed for its directness and clever insight, this unorthodox textbook was born from a professor’s love for the written word and perfected years later by one of his students: famed author E. B. White. Ever since its first publication in 1959, writers have turned to this book for its wise and accessible advice.
7. Stephen King On Writing
“If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.” Here is Stephen King’s master class on his craft.
On Writing begins with a mesmerizing account of King’s childhood and his early focus on writing to tell a story. A series of vivid memories from adolescence, college, and the struggling years that led up to his first novel, Carrie, offer a fresh and often funny perspective on the formation of a writer. King then turns to the tools of his trade, examining crucial aspects of the writer’s art and life, offering practical and inspiring advice on everything from plot and character development to work habits and rejection.
King was in the middle of writing this book when he was nearly killed in a widely reported accident. On Writing culminates with a profoundly moving account of how his need to write spurred him toward recovery, and brought him back to his life.
A central figure in the Hollywood Ten and one of the most successful screenwriters in Hollywood history, two of Trumbo’s screenplays earned Oscars (Roman Holiday and The Brave Ones) while he was blacklisted and unable to receive public credit for his work. Trumbo was also the author of Johnny Got His Gun, winner of the National Book Award and one of the most powerful antiwar novels ever published. He epitomized the spirit of American capitalism, yet he went to jail refusing to talk about his membership in the Communist party.
As a result of his relentless fight for political freedom and the right to work for those blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee beginning in 1947, he ended the blacklist era in 1960 by earning proper screen credit for his work on the blockbuster films Exodus and Spartacus. An extraordinarily complex character, he was, as author Bruce Cook states, “an exemplar of a certain set of American virtues: toughness, independence and persistence”. Dalton Trumbo was the central figure in the Hollywood Ten, the blacklisted and jailed screenwriters. One of several hundred writers, directors, producers and actors who were deprived of the opportunity to work in the motion picture industry from 1947 to 1960, he was the first to see his name on the screen again. When that happened, it was Exodus, one of the year’s biggest movies.
5. Save the Cat! Strikes Back
The only Save the Cat! book on audio! This is the unabridged audiobook, which runs six hours and three minutes and includes a PDF of supplementary material. The book is read by MacLeod Andrews and was produced and directed by Arthur G. Insana.
Blake Snyder, author of Save the Cat! and Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies, has delivered the audiobook countless readers and students have clamored for. Inspired by questions from his workshops, lectures, and emails, Blake listened to you and provides new tips, tactics, and techniques to solve your writing problems and create stories that resonate:
- The seven warning signs that you might have a great idea – or not
- Two surefire templates for can’t-miss loglines
- The difference between structure and formula
- The Transformation Machine that allows you to track your hero’s growth step by step
- The five questions to keep your story’s spine straight
- The Five-Point Finale to finish any story
- The Save the Cat!® Greenlight Checklist that gets to the heart of every development issue
- The right way to hear notes, deal with problematic producers, and dive in to the rewrite with the right attitude
- Why and when an agent will appear
- How to discover the potential for greatness in any story
- How to avoid panic, doubt, and self-recrimination…and what it takes to succeed and dare to achieve your dreams
4. The Hero With A Thousand Faces
Since its release in 1949, The Hero with a Thousand Faces has influenced millions of readers by combining the insights of modern psychology with Joseph Campbell’s revolutionary understanding of comparative mythology. In this book, Campbell outlines the Hero’s Journey, a universal motif of adventure and transformation that runs through virtually all of the world’s mythic traditions. He also explores the Cosmogonic Cycle, the mythic pattern of world creation and destruction.
As relevant today as when it was first published, The Hero with a Thousand Faces continues to find new audiences in fields ranging from religion and anthropology to literature and film studies. The book has also profoundly influenced creative artists – including authors, songwriters, game designers, and filmmakers – and continues to inspire all those interested in the inherent human need to tell stories.
3. Conquering Hollywood: The Screenwriter’s Blueprint for Career Success
There are over 1,094 books on Amazon that show you “how to write a screenplay,” but next-to-nothing on how to break into Hollywood, sell your script, and build a successful writing career. Until now.
As a producer, Gary W. Goldstein’s movies have generated well over $1 billion in global box office receipts. His portfolio includes Pretty Woman, Under Siege, and The Mothman Prophecies.
But more importantly – over the last two decades – Gary has nurtured, mentored, and launched some of Hollywood’s most successful screenwriters. In this audiobook, Conquering Hollywood, he reveals proven career-making strategies, planning and advice for aspiring (and established) screenplay writers.
The strategies in this audiobook will help you whether you’re looking to sell a spec script, option your screenplay, land a writing assignment and get hired, attract an agent or manager of your dreams – or get a producer to take a meeting with you.
2. How to Write a Screenplay That Doesn’t Suck
Want to learn how to write a screenplay that doesn’t suck and can actually make you money? Want to know how to write a movie script that’ll get you the attention of managers, agents, directors, actors – the talent of the industry? Think you got to go to film school and take out thousands of dollars in student loans to learn how to write a script that’s marketable?
There are nearly 50,000 screenplays registered with the Writer’s Guild every year. And 99 percent of them suck. But they don’t have to. That’s why I decided to write this book.
So before you head out to another hundred-dollar screenwriting conference to learn how to write a screenplay or buy another paint-by-the-numbers 3-act script formula give my audiobook a try. I can’t guarantee you’ll sell your script. (Who knows…you might just be that guy who sent me the zombie farmer script.) But I can guarantee if you follow the 10 steps outlined in this audiobook, you’ll know more about the craft of screenwriting and the way the film business works then 99 percent of the writers out there. And having that kind of knowledge and wisdom can absolutely change your life.
1. Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and The Principles of Screenwriting
Robert McKee’s screenwriting workshops have earned him an international reputation for inspiring novices, refining works in progress, and putting major screenwriting careers back on track. Quincy Jones, Diane Keaton, Gloria Steinem, Julia Roberts, John Cleese, and David Bowie are just a few of his celebrity alumni. Writers, producers, development executives, and agents all flock to his lecture series, praising it as a mesmerizing and intense learning experience.
In Story, McKee expands on the concepts he teaches in his $450 seminars (considered a must by industry insiders), providing listeners with the most comprehensive, integrated explanation of the craft of writing for the screen. No one better understands how all the elements of a screenplay fit together, and no one is better qualified to explain the “magic” of story construction and the relationship between structure and character than Robert McKee.