Which Lie lowest Did I Tell?: More 2021 Adventures in the Screen Trade online

Which Lie lowest Did I Tell?: More 2021 Adventures in the Screen Trade online

Which Lie lowest Did I Tell?: More 2021 Adventures in the Screen Trade online
Which Lie lowest Did I Tell?: More 2021 Adventures in the Screen Trade online__left

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William Goldman''s Adventures in the Screen Trade was a classic for moviephiles, revealing all the secrets behind the business of the big screen. Now, screenwriter extraordinaire Goldman returns to give us the latest lowdown on Hollywood moviemaking. He dishes the dirt, adventure by adventure, from his most recent films -- the successes and the failures --  with inside anecdotes from such star-studded sets as The Princess Bride, Misery, and Absulote Power. We find out what it''s like to work with Mel Gibson, Michael Douglas, Richard Donner, Rob Reiner, Clint Eastwood, and all the rest of Hollywood''s major power players.


But this is much more than just a tourist''s guide to the backlot. Goldman conducts a virtual writer''s clinic: he tells us exactly what works on film and why, dissecting classic moments in great screenplays ranging from the crop-dusting scene in North by Northwest to the zipper scene in There''s Something about Mary. He gives us insider tips on everything from good storytelling to effective pitch-making, and he shows us where his ideas come from and what he does with them when they get there. Finally, he brings together some of today''s top screenwriters to analyze, doctor, or destroy a screenplay he created just for this book.


Enlightening as well as entertaining, Which Lie Did I Tell? is certain to follow its predeccesor as the definitive guide to the real workings behind the glitzy facade of contemporary Hollywood.


"Bill Goldman has proven, once again, that he is the most observant, knowledgeable and intuitive screenwriter in the business today."
-- Joe Roth, Producer and former Chairman, Walt Disney Studios


"Almost as great as an evening with the irrepressible, brilliant, sometimes infuriating, always original -- one and only Bill."
-- Joel Schumacher, Director

Amazon.com Review

Something odd, if predictable, became of screenwriter William Goldman after he wrote the touchstone tell-all book on filmmaking, Adventures in the Screen Trade (1983), he became a Hollywood leper. Goldman opens his long-awaited sequel by writing about his years of exile before he found himself--again--as a valuable writer in Hollywood.

Fans of the two-time Oscar-winning writer (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President''s Men) have anxiously waited for this follow-up since his career serpentined into a variety of big hits and critical bombs in the ''80s and ''90s. Here Goldman scoops on The Princess Bride (his own favorite), Misery, Maverick, Absolute Power, and others. Goldman''s conversational style makes him easy to read for the film novice but meaty enough for the detail-oriented pro. His tendency to ramble into other subjects may be maddening (he suddenly switches from being on set with Eastwood to anecdotes about Newman and Garbo), but we can excuse him because of one fact alone: he is so darn entertaining.

Like most sequels, Which Lie follows the structure of the original. Both Goldman books have three parts: stories about his movies, a deconstruction of Hollywood (here the focus is on great movie scenes), and a workshop for screenwriters. (The paperback version of the first book also comes with his full-length screenplay of Butch; his are also worth checking out). This final segment is another gift--a toolbox--for the aspiring screenwriter. Goldman takes newspaper clippings and other ideas and asks the reader to diagnose their cinematic possibilities. Goldman also gives us a new screenplay he''s written (The Big A), which is analyzed--with brutal honesty--by other top writers. With its juicy facts and valuable sidebars on what makes good screenwriting, this is another entertaining must-read from the man who coined what has to be the most-quoted adage about movie-business success: "Nobody knows anything." --Doug Thomas

From Publishers Weekly

Two-time Oscar-winning screenwriter Goldman follows up his irreverent, gossipy and indispensable screenwriting bible, Adventures in the Screen Trade (1983), with this equally wise, tart and very funny account of the filmmaking process. He begins with the surprising admission that he was a "leper" in Hollywood between 1980 and 1985: after Magic (1978), he was unable to get any screenplays produced until The Princess Bride (1987). (Moviegoers'' loss was readers'' gain: during those years he wrote six novels.) Wildly opinionated ("Vertigo--for me, the most overrated movie of all time") but astute, Goldman is a 35-year industry veteran with lots of tales and a knack for spinning them. He knows how to captivate his audience, peppering his philosophical advice with star-studded anecdotes. Whether he''s detailing why virtually every leading actor turned down the lead in Misery before James Caan offered to be drug-tested to get the part, or how Michael Douglas was the perfect producer but the wrong actor for The Ghost and the Darkness, Goldman offers keen observations in a chatty style. In the last section of the book, he gamely offers readers a rough first draft of an original screenplay. Even more bravely, he includes instructive, intuitive and sometimes scathing critiques by fellow screenwriters, including Peter and Bobby Farrelly (There''s Something About Mary), Callie Khouri (Thelma & Louise) and John Patrick Shanley (Moonstruck). Movie buffs of all stripes, even those with no interest in writing for the screen, will enjoy this sublimely entertaining adventure. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA-In this sequel to Adventures in the Screen Trade (Warner, 1989), Goldman instructs his audience in the art and industry of screenwriting and filmmaking, while regaling them with stories from his career. From The Memoirs of an Invisible Man to Absolute Power, this master storyteller explains his role and his thought processes for each film, at the same time delivering an exposition on how stories are written and films are made. Sprinkled throughout is his advice for future screenwriters. In the second section, he analyzes classic film sequences, setting each scene, quoting excerpts from the screenplays, and then explaining what made them great. Finally, the author offers story ideas and examines their potential for the big screen. Students of films will find this book entertaining and informative.
Jane S. Drabkin, Potomac Community Library, Woodbridge, VA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

A famed screenwriter (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President''s Men) and novelist (Boys and Girls Together), Goldman follows up Adventures in the Screen Trade (LJ 5/15/83) by ruminating on his own more recent efforts (The Princess Bride, Misery, Maverick, The Ghost and the Darkness, and Absolute Power) as well as past and present cinema. He discusses screenwriting perils, explains how successful movies like Charade and The Sound of Music wreaked havoc by siring copycat films, describes how Andre the Giant always paid for lunch, complains that MTV''s impact on quick-cutting has helped make 1990s films awful, reveals that only Clint Eastwood and Sean Connery are tall, investigates how great comedy scenes worked in When Harry Met Sally and There''s Something About Mary, debunks auteurs, and divulges why no big star would play Superman in 1978. How can you not admire a writer who consistently pictures Cary Grant and Jean Simmons as his protagonists and argues that Gunga Din is the best movie ever made? An engaging expos? that is not mean-spirited; recommended for public and academic libraries and film collections.
-Kim R. Holston, American Inst. for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters, Malvern, PA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

Another entertaining hybrid of memoir and screenwriting advice from the two-time Academy Awardwinning writer of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. This sequel to Goldman''s Adventures in the Screen Trade (1983) picks up where the original left off, detailing his Hollywood experiences since the early 1980s and offering new insights into the screenwriter''s art. The autobiographical first section (``More Adventures'''') begins with his ``leper'''' period (198085), when the ``phone stopped ringing'''' and no studio would hire him, and goes on to describe his work on seven subsequent films, including both turkeys and hits, from Memoirs of an Invisible Man to The Princess Bride to Absolute Power. In the sections that follow, he turns screenwriting coach, analyzing favorite scenes from such films as Fargo and There''s Something About Mary; weighing the merits of various unused story ideas (culled from newspapers, history, and his imagination); and offering an unfinished comedy-adventure script called The Big A, with ruthless critiques by several colleagues. Goldman derides cinematic sequels as ``whores'' movies'''' that never compare well to the original, and there is some reason to apply the same principle to this book. It doesn''t offer the systematic guide to Hollywood madness that the original did, nor does it have new industry aphorisms on the level of the original''s ``Nobody knows anything.'''' The writing is flabbier, more prone to profanity and hyperbole. But the updating is valuable, and Goldman remains a virtuoso storyteller, expertly spinning yarns about movies that should never have been made, innocently egotistical stars, careers on the line (including his), and scripts miraculously salvaged. There are anecdotes about his early life, gossipy tidbits about celebrities (did you know Sylvester Stallone is only five-foot-seven?), and plenty of good advice for the would-be scenarist. A fun, instructive look into a veteran screenwriter''s workshop. -- Copyright ©2000, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Review

"If you are thinking of going to film school, don''t.  Read Which Lie Did I Tell? instead. It will save you a great deal of money and tell you more about the realities of the picture business than any academic course of study. Mr. Goldman has won two Oscars and the Writers Guild Lifetime Achievement Award.  He wears his credits like wound stripes, and if there is anything he does not know about the movies, it is not worth knowing. He has a New York bias that I do not buy into (I like Los Angeles), but beyond that, he is entertaining and, more importantly, right."
-- John Gregory Dunne


"Funny, insightful, and brutally honest ... Bill Goldman once again takes us inside the motion picture industry in an intensely personal way. So what if he''ll never work in this town again."
-- Alan F. Horn, President and COO, Warner Bros.


"People in the industry love to quote Bill Goldman''s line that ''nobody knows anything,'' but in fact, Goldman knows a great deal about storytelling and filmmaking and he superbly sets forth this wisdom in his latest book."
-- Peter Bart, Editor-in-Chief, Variety


"If you ever wanted to understand the power of the written word, William Goldman''s Which Lie Did I Tell? tells all brilliantly."
-- Peter Guber, Chairman, Mandalay Entertainment


" Which Lie Did I Tell? is funny, tough, honest, true and also beautifully written.  It is as personal as a long and delightful letter from the smartest friend you ever had."
-- Robert Benton, two-time Academy Award-winning Screenwriter


"This is entertaining -- even by Goldman''s usual standards. Just about the most fun you can have reading."
-- John Cleese


"Bill Goldman has done it again with his highly entertaining and self-deprecating humor. He''s one of the best writers I''ve ever had the pleasure of working with. He takes Hollywood apart -- which, in this case, is a very good thing."
-- Clint Eastwood

From the Publisher

"Two-time Oscar-winning screenwriter Goldman follows up his irreverent, gossipy and indispensable screenwriting bible, Adventures in the Screen Trade (1983), with this equally wise, tart and very funny account of the filmmaking process...Wildly opinionated but astute, Goldman is a 35-year industry veteran with lots of tales and a knack for spinning them...Movie buffs of all stripes, even those with no interest in writing for the screen, will enjoy this sublimely entertaining adventure."
-- Publishers Weekly (starred)

"Which Lie Did I Tell? is funny, tough, honest, true and also beautifully written. It is as personal as a long and delightful letter from the smartest friend you ever had."
-- Robert Benton, two-time Academy Award-winning screenwriter

"Bill Goldman has done it again with his highly entertaining and self-deprecating humor. He''s one of the best writers I''ve ever had the pleasure of working with. He takes Hollywood apart -- which, in this case, is a very good thing."
-- Clint Eastwood

"Almost as great as an evening with the irrepressible, brilliant, sometimes infuriating, always original -- one and only Bill."
-- Joel Schumacher, Director

"Funny, insightful, and brutally honest ... Bill Goldman once again takes us inside the motion picture industry in an intensely personal way. So what if he''ll never work in this town again."
-- Alan F. Horn, President and COO, Warner Bros.

"This is entertaining -- even by Goldman''s usual standards. Just about the most fun you can have reading."
-- John Cleese

"If you are thinking of going to film school, don''t. Read Which Lie Did I Tell? instead. It will save you a great deal of money and tell you more about the realities of the picture business than any academic course of study. Mr. Goldman has won two Oscars and the Writers Guild Lifetime Achievement Award. He wears his credits like wound stripes, and if there is anything he does not know about the movies, it is not worth knowing. He has a New York bias that I do not buy into (I like Los Angeles), but beyond that, he is entertaining and, more importantly, right."
-- John Gregory Dunne

"People in the industry love to quote Bill Goldman''s line that ''nobody knows anything,'' but in fact, Goldman knows a great deal about storytelling and filmmaking and he superbly sets forth this wisdom in his latest book."
-- Peter Bart, Editor-in-Chief, Variety

"Bill Goldman has proven, once again, that he is the most observant, knowledgeable and intuitive screenwriter in the business today."
-- Joe Roth, Former Chairman, Walt Disney Studios

"If you ever wanted to understand the power of the written word, William Goldman''s Which Lie Did I Tell? tells all brilliantly."
-- Peter Guber, Chairman, Mandalay Entertainment

From the Inside Flap

man''s <b>Adventures in the Screen Trade</b> was a classic for moviephiles, revealing all the secrets behind the business of the big screen. Now, screenwriter extraordinaire Goldman returns to give us the latest lowdown on Hollywood moviemaking. He dishes the dirt, adventure by adventure, from his most recent films -- the successes <i>and</i> the failures --  with inside anecdotes from such star-studded sets as <i>The Princess Bride, Misery</i>, and <i>Absulote Power</i>. We find out what it''s like to work with Mel Gibson, Michael Douglas, Richard Donner, Rob Reiner, Clint Eastwood, and all the rest of Hollywood''s major power players.<br><br><br>But this is much more than just a tourist''s guide to the backlot. Goldman conducts a virtual writer''s clinic: he tells us exactly what works on film and why, dissecting classic moments in great screenplays ranging from the crop-dusting scene in <i>North by Northwest</i> to the zipper scene in <i>There''s Someth

From the Back Cover

"If you are thinking of going to film school, don''t. Read Which Lie Did I Tell? instead. It will save you a great deal of money and tell you more about the realities of the picture business than any academic course of study. Mr. Goldman has won two Oscars and the Writers Guild Lifetime Achievement Award. He wears his credits like wound stripes, and if there is anything he does not know about the movies, it is not worth knowing. He has a New York bias that I do not buy into (I like Los Angeles), but beyond that, he is entertaining and, more importantly, right."
-- John Gregory Dunne

"Funny, insightful, and brutally honest ... Bill Goldman once again takes us inside the motion picture industry in an intensely personal way. So what if he''ll never work in this town again."
-- Alan F. Horn, President and COO, Warner Bros.

"People in the industry love to quote Bill Goldman''s line that ''nobody knows anything,'' but in fact, Goldman knows a great deal about storytelling and filmmaking and he superbly sets forth this wisdom in his latest book."
-- Peter Bart, Editor-in-Chief, Variety

"If you ever wanted to understand the power of the written word, William Goldman''s Which Lie Did I Tell? tells all brilliantly."
-- Peter Guber, Chairman, Mandalay Entertainment

"Which Lie Did I Tell? is funny, tough, honest, true and also beautifully written. It is as personal as a long and delightful letter from the smartest friend you ever had."
-- Robert Benton, two-time Academy Award-winning Screenwriter

"This is entertaining -- even by Goldman''s usual standards. Just about the most fun you can have reading."
-- John Cleese

"Bill Goldman has done it again with his highly entertaining and self-deprecating humor. He''s one of the best writers I''ve ever had the pleasure of working with. He takes Hollywood apart -- which, in this case, is a very good thing."
-- Clint Eastwood

About the Author

William Goldman has been writing books and movies for forty-five years. He has won three Lifetime Achievement awards for screenwriting, two Screenwriter of the Year awards, two Academy Awards (for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the President''s Men), and one English Academy Award. His novels include Marathon Man, which has made him very famous in dentists'' offices around the world, Boys and Girls Together, The Temple of Gold, and The Princess Bride. He lives in New York City.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The Leper
[1980-85]


I don''t think I was aware of it, but when I started work on Adventures in the Screen Trade, in 1980, I had become a leper in Hollywood.

Let me explain what that means: the phone stopped ringing.

For five years, from 1980 till 1985, no one called with anything resembling a job offer. Sure, I had conversations with acquaintances. Yes, the people whom I knew and liked still talked to me. Nothing personal was altered in any way.

But in the eight years prior to 1978, seven movies I''d written were released. In the eight years following, none.

I talked about it recently with a bunch of young Los Angeles screenwriters, and what I told them was this: If I had been living Out There, I don''t think I could have survived. The idea of going into restaurants and knowing that heads were turning away, of knowing people were saying "See him?--no, don''t look yet, okay, now turn, that guy, he used to be hot, can''t get arrested anymore," would have devastated me. In L.A., truly, there is but one occupation, the movie business. In New York, the infinite city, we''re all invisible.

Example: my favorite French bistro is Quatorze Bis, on East Seventy-ninth. Best fries in town, great chicken, all that good stuff. Well, I was there one night last year when another guy came in, and we had each won two Oscars for screenwriting, and we lived within a few blocks of each other--

--and we had never met. (It was Robert Benton.)

Impossible in Los Angeles. But that kind of thing was my blessing during those five years.

My memory was that the leprosy didn''t really bother me. I asked my wonderful ex-wife, Ilene, about it and she said: "I don''t think it did bother you, not being out of Hollywood, anyway. But one night I remember you were in the library and you were depressed and I realized it was the being alone that was getting to you. You always enjoyed the meetings, the socialness of moviemaking. You were always so grateful when you could get out of your pit."

I wrote five books in those five years (couldn''t do it now, way too hard) and then the phone started ringing again.

This is why it stopped in the first place.



There is a famous and amazingly racist World War I cartoon that showed two soldiers fighting in a trench. One was German, the other an American Negro who had just swiped at the German''s throat with his straight razor. (When I say racist, I mean racist.) The caption went like this:
German Soldier: You missed.
American Soldier: Wait''ll yo'' turn yo'' head.
The point being, in terms of my screenwriting career, I never turned my head. Looking back, there was no real reason to. I was on my hot streak then. I was a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval in those years. Between ''73 and ''78 this is what I wrote:

Three novels:
The Princess Bride   (1973)
Marathon Man           (1974)
Magic   (1976)


And six movies:
The Great Waldo Pepper  (1975)
The Stepford Wives  (1975)
All the President''s Men  (1976)
Marathon Man          (1976)
A Bridge Too Far  (1977)
Magic  (1978)


If you had told me, that 1978 November day when Magic opened, that it would be nine years before my next picture appeared, I doubt I would have known what language you were speaking.

It wasn''t as if I''d stopped writing screenplays after Magic. But the lesson I was about to learn was this: studios do not particularly lose faith in a writer if a movie is terrible. Producers do not forget your name if a movie loses lots of money. Because most studio movies lose lots of money (they survive on their hits). If, say, they chose directors who had only hits, they would be choosing from a practically nonexistent list. All anybody wants, when they hire you, is this: that the movie happen.



The change came after A Bridge Too Far.

Joseph E. Levine, the producer of that film, thought of me as a kind of good luck talisman. His career was not exactly rocketing the years before Bridge, and when that movie brought him back close to the fire, he attributed a lot of it to me. And he wanted to go into business with me. He bought my novel Magic, made that movie, and then proposed a three-picture deal: I would write three original screenplays for him, pretty much of my own choosing. I had never signed a multiple deal before, never thought I would. But I jumped at it. The work experiences with him had been so decent, unlike a lot of the standard Hollywood shit we all put up with.


One thing that made Mr. Levine unique was that he was the bank. He made his movies with his own money, took no studio deals until late in the game, when he had something to show. He was gambling that he would find movie studios who would want to buy, and he had gotten rich that way. Bridge had cost him $22 million. An insane gamble in today''s world, nuttier back then. But the day it opened it was $4 million in profit. Mr. Levine sold the movie everywhere, Europe, Asia, country by country, territory by territory; he had collected $26 million by opening day.

Typical of his bravery was one day when he was in a hospital in New York after surgery. I was visiting him, and the director, Richard Attenborough, called from Holland. They were shooting the crucial parachute drop, and the weather had been dreadful. The parachutists were willing to work the next day, a Saturday.

Attenborough requested that extra day. It would cost Levine seventy-five thousand of his own dollars. Levine screamed at Attenborough for even suggesting such a thing. Attenborough repeated his request. Levine asked if he had sufficient footage for the sequence as it was. Attenborough said he had more than enough but it was all drab-looking. Levine screamed at him again. It was a ridiculous request. Attenborough held tough, saying the extra day might make all the difference. Levine then asked what was the weather report for Saturday. Attenborough admitted it was for more of the same: dreary.

Now Levine really let fly. You limey bastard, on and on, and he finally hung up on Attenborough. But not before he agreed to the extra day. The weather turned glorious and almost the entire wonderful drop sequence comes from that extra day.

Try getting a studio to do that.

So the fact that Mr. Levine did not need studio backing, that he cared not at all for studio money or thinking, was a huge factor in my agreeing to the three-picture deal.

It turned out to be a huge contributor to my downfall.



The Sea Kings was the first of the three-picture deal. A pirate flick. Came from a great snippet of material. In the early 1700s, the most famous, and most lethal, pirate was Blackbeard. At the same time, living on the island of Barbados, was a fabulously wealthy planter, Stede Bonnet.

Bonnet had been a soldier but had never seen action. He had a monstrous wife. Had almost died the previous winter. And, in a feat of great lunacy unmatched just about anywhere on earth, Bonnet decided to become a pirate. He commissioned a ship--the only such one in history, by the way. Pirate ships were always stolen.

So off he sailed.

And met, for a blink, Blackbeard.

They did not sail together for very long, but the idea of these two strange and remarkable men knocked me out. So I wrote The Sea Kings about them. (Butch and Sundance on the high seas, if you will.)

The decision that I made was this: Bonnet, rich beyond counting and miserably unhappy, a student of piracy, wanted one thing more than any other: an adventure-filled life (and if that included death, so be it). Blackbeard was sick up to here with his adventure-filled life. Piracy was getting tougher and tougher, and he was broke, as all pirates (save Bonnet) were. What he wanted was a long, comfortable life and a sweet death in bed.

So I wrote a movie about two men who were each other''s dream.

It was filled with action and blood and double crosses and I hoped a decent amount of laughter. When I was done, I gave it to Mr. Levine.

Who just loved it.

The Year of the Comet was my second original, a romantic thriller, about a chase for the world''s greatest bottle of wine, and you can read all about it in the chapter with its name on it. I will add only this here--

--Mr. Levine loved it too.

I wrote the part of Blackbeard for Sean Connery, and Mr. Levine got the idea of casting the two James Bonds, having Roger Moore play the more elegant Bonnet. Another casting notion was the two Moores: Dudley ( 10 had happened) as Bonnet, Roger shifting over to Blackbeard.

In the wine movie, he wanted Robert Redford in the Cary Grant part.

Obviously, you did not see these movies.

What happened?


When Mr. Levine had come to me for A Bridge Too Far, he was pushing seventy, and he hated being out of the loop, was willing to take almost any gamble. Now that Bridge and Magic had helped restore him, his needs were lessened.

He was also older now.

But most critical: the price of movies had begun to skyrocket. So the fact that he was his own bank, so wonderful earlier, was now a huge problem--he was rich, but not that rich. Some research was done on the cost of constructing that everyday little item, the pirate ship.

You don''t want to know.

Stars'' salaries.

You don''t want to know.

He had chances to lay the scripts off to studios but he couldn''t do that, y''see, because then he''d be just like everybody else, taking shit from the executives. When he was the bank, he gave shit. I heard him blow studio heads out of the water. I saw him sit at his desk, smiling at me, while he hurled the most amazing insults at these Hollywood powers--

--and the...

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4.6 out of 54.6 out of 5
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Top reviews from the United States

purrkz
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A keeper
Reviewed in the United States on December 27, 2018
I loved this book! I had read his book, ADVENTURES IN THE SCREEN TRADE some years back. I didn''t even know this book existed until I read about it in Goldman''s obituary. (RIP) There is something interesting on almost every page. Normally I like to be a matchmaker and... See more
I loved this book! I had read his book, ADVENTURES IN THE SCREEN TRADE some years back. I didn''t even know this book existed until I read about it in Goldman''s obituary. (RIP) There is something interesting on almost every page. Normally I like to be a matchmaker and pass on books to someone else, but this one is a keeper to read again. I would even say it made me a more knowledgeable film viewer, and not only for the films he discusses.
7 people found this helpful
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Irvin Levy
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A peek behind the curtain into the mind and process of a screenwriting legend
Reviewed in the United States on July 8, 2018
Not only a terrific instructional book for anyone aspiring to (or attempting to return to a place where he can) write, it''s a great read and a peek into the mind and often tortured soul of an icon of the screenwriting trade. The word generous is so over used by actors but... See more
Not only a terrific instructional book for anyone aspiring to (or attempting to return to a place where he can) write, it''s a great read and a peek into the mind and often tortured soul of an icon of the screenwriting trade. The word generous is so over used by actors but it fits here. Goldman lays bare his soul and allows the reader to read blisteringly honest critiques by major sreenwriters of a draft of one of his unpublished screenplays as we get an unfiltered view of these critically and commercially successful scribes. So revealing of each of them and of our hero, as well and shows that having a thick skin can be as important as being a good writer. The best thing about this book is that it makes me want to finish some things I''ve started and gives me more tools to do so effectively. I guess I buried the lede, but I couldn''t put this book down and enjoyed every minute of it.
4 people found this helpful
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Michael Hatmaker
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
better than great...this book is legendary
Reviewed in the United States on July 11, 2014
If you are interested in writing, you must read this book. I can''t begin to give a summary because the book is more like a stream-of-thought thesis than a structured narrative. It includes fascinating anecdotes, tangible writing tips, dissection of existing works, and... See more
If you are interested in writing, you must read this book. I can''t begin to give a summary because the book is more like a stream-of-thought thesis than a structured narrative. It includes fascinating anecdotes, tangible writing tips, dissection of existing works, and insight from other successful writers. That Goldman pulls this off (this unstructured narrative full of screenwriting advice) is nothing short of amazing. And he doesn''t just pull it off, he makes it shine.

If it sounds like I am a William Goldman fanboy, it''s probably because I am. A brand new one, mind you - this is the first of his writing I have ever read. But he is unique and interesting and, in my opinion, genius. Read this book. You will not be disappointed!

(Interesting aside: I started reading this book because someone somewhere mentioned that Mr. Goldman claims to have written the Good Will Hunting script in this book. In fact, he says just the opposite, but because he uses sarcasm, it seems that some people have misinterpreted his comments.)
9 people found this helpful
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Cliff Rives
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Too much Butch, but still a fun read
Reviewed in the United States on April 8, 2000
I''m a huge fan of Goldman''s books and most of his screenplays, and the original Adventures in the Screen Trade still stands as the definitive how-Hollywood-works primer. It''s great to have him deconstructing the industry once again, praising some unlikely subjects--who... See more
I''m a huge fan of Goldman''s books and most of his screenplays, and the original Adventures in the Screen Trade still stands as the definitive how-Hollywood-works primer. It''s great to have him deconstructing the industry once again, praising some unlikely subjects--who would think the 67-year old author of Marathon Man would have picked the Farrelly brothers'' There''s Something About Mary as 1998''s best film?--and attacking even more unlikely subjects--would you expect the screenwriter of A Bridge Too Far to loathe Saving Private Ryan? Goldman does, and how.) I have two key problems with Which Lie Did I Tell, however. One is, many Goldman fans will have seen a lot of this text before. Much of this material has appeared in Premiere Magazine over the years, as well as in collections of Goldman''s screenplays. Long-time Goldman enthusiasts, then, might be a bit miffed about buying recycled material. My other misgiving is Goldman''s tendency to rely too much on Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when he''s trying to get a point across. The original Adventures, remember, included the complete Butch screenplay and a lot of background material about the real-life duo and the making of the film. So it''s disconcerting to see scene after scene from Butch used in the new book, along with many of the same anecdotes Goldman told us the first time around. On the other hand, if you''re going to use a single film for a lot of your examples of screenwriting, you could do a lot worse than an Oscar-winning Western classic. So, if you read (and liked) Adventures in the Screen Trade and haven''t read Goldman''s movie pieces elsewhere, give this review an extra star and give Which Lie Did I Tell a try. If you know every line of Adventures and sought out everything Goldman has written since then, you might consider waiting for the paperback. (Hey, he''s rich and his children are grown, no one''s going to starve if you pass on the hardcover.)
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Becky B
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Nice Follow-up
Reviewed in the United States on May 22, 2002
I loved Adventures in the Screen Trade, so I bought Which Lie did I tell? While not quite as good as the first book, it was still entertaining and informative. I loved reading his section on The Princess Bride, and I was glad to read that he actually liked that movie... See more
I loved Adventures in the Screen Trade, so I bought Which Lie did I tell? While not quite as good as the first book, it was still entertaining and informative. I loved reading his section on The Princess Bride, and I was glad to read that he actually liked that movie (since he tends not to like anything he''s written).
Unfortunately, since I read Adventures in the screen Trade so recently (and he wrote it 20 years ago), a lot of the information--especially when he would talk about Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid--seemed like he was repeating himself. It wasn''t that bad, though. It was still fun to read it a second time around.
As with Adventures..., I loved the section at the end of the book where he included a screenplay and had people analyze it. It''s very interesting to see what works and what doesn''t in other people''s eyes. It helps to give a good idea to what to include in my own screenplays.
Overall, it was a wonderful book--just not as good as the first one. C''est la vie.
6 people found this helpful
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Canary
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Another Great Read from Goldman
Reviewed in the United States on November 7, 2004
I loved Goldman''s Adventures in the Screen Trade and loved this book almost as much. It''s interesting, funny and revealing, written in a casual and frank manner that you''d expect from a good friend. Goldman writes books and screenplays in multiple genres because he focuses... See more
I loved Goldman''s Adventures in the Screen Trade and loved this book almost as much. It''s interesting, funny and revealing, written in a casual and frank manner that you''d expect from a good friend. Goldman writes books and screenplays in multiple genres because he focuses on whether each story is one he wants to tell - not whether it''s the same type of story he succeeded with before. What amazes me about this versatile writer is his generosity. In this book he discusses his creative processes and offers detailed, useful guidance to aspiring writers (for comparison, Joe Ezterhaus did not do this in his interesting but mean spirited memoir). At the end of the book, Goldman even has the guts to offer up a new script draft for criticism by top screenwriters whose comments he includes. Who else would dare to expose his work-in-process like that? Not I! He is my hero.
2 people found this helpful
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Ryan S
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
My favorite screenwriter!
Reviewed in the United States on January 6, 2020
Goldman continues to be at his best! Tales and wisdom from one of the greatest screenwriters ever. Worth a read and adding to your library.
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Carol Miller
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Hollywood star witness
Reviewed in the United States on October 18, 2017
The first half of this invaluable testimony, by a Hollywood star witness, is brilliant, revealing and delightful, unveiling countless secrets and personal anecdotes. The second half goes off on an insider tangent the just doesn''t apply. It often makes no sense.
2 people found this helpful
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Jon Pleckaitis
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Must-read for film buffs
Reviewed in Canada on October 17, 2019
If you like film, you should read everything Goldman ever wrote about the industry. It''s fascinating. In my opinion, this is a better read than ADVENTURES IN THE SCREEN TRADE. It generally deals with more mediocre movies than the first novel and Goldman writing about his...See more
If you like film, you should read everything Goldman ever wrote about the industry. It''s fascinating. In my opinion, this is a better read than ADVENTURES IN THE SCREEN TRADE. It generally deals with more mediocre movies than the first novel and Goldman writing about his challenges and failures is more insightful than his thoughts on his successes.
If you like film, you should read everything Goldman ever wrote about the industry. It''s fascinating.

In my opinion, this is a better read than ADVENTURES IN THE SCREEN TRADE. It generally deals with more mediocre movies than the first novel and Goldman writing about his challenges and failures is more insightful than his thoughts on his successes.
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Alix
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fantástico
Reviewed in Spain on July 23, 2015
Lo leí en español prestadode la biblioteca y no he parado hasta encontrarlo en inglés. Ya leí el primero: Adventures in the Screen Trade, y me encantó. Para fans de La Princesa Prometida, este es todavía mejor, sobre todo si lo que...See more
Lo leí en español prestadode la biblioteca y no he parado hasta encontrarlo en inglés. Ya leí el primero: Adventures in the Screen Trade, y me encantó. Para fans de La Princesa Prometida, este es todavía mejor, sobre todo si lo que más os gusta de los DVD son los extras.
Lo leí en español prestadode la biblioteca y no he parado hasta encontrarlo en inglés. Ya leí el primero: Adventures in the Screen Trade, y me encantó. Para fans de La Princesa Prometida, este es todavía mejor, sobre todo si lo que más os gusta de los DVD son los extras.
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Richard Stephens
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Best advice ever
Reviewed in Spain on October 20, 2017
This book totally blew me away. It’s full of down to earth advice given by somebody who talks like a person talking to another person. Totally understandable and enjoyable even if you never ever thought about writing. Totally recommendable to everybody
This book totally blew me away. It’s full of down to earth advice given by somebody who talks like a person talking to another person. Totally understandable and enjoyable even if you never ever thought about writing. Totally recommendable to everybody
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Andy
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Four Stars
Reviewed in Canada on December 27, 2016
Love William Goldman. He wrote The Princess Bride, Butch Cassidy etc. Great read.
Love William Goldman. He wrote The Princess Bride, Butch Cassidy etc. Great read.
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Muz MURRAY
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
This is more for aspiring screenwriters to realise what a ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 16, 2015
This is more for aspiring screenwriters to realise what a pain it is to try to work with Hollywood. It seems composed of bits of screenplays, scrappily put together and does not live up to its hype. No juicy filmset gossip or behind scenes stories about the stars. I found...See more
This is more for aspiring screenwriters to realise what a pain it is to try to work with Hollywood. It seems composed of bits of screenplays, scrappily put together and does not live up to its hype. No juicy filmset gossip or behind scenes stories about the stars. I found it rather disappointing and somewhat boring in parts.
This is more for aspiring screenwriters to realise what a pain it is to try to work with Hollywood. It seems composed of bits of screenplays, scrappily put together and does not live up to its hype. No juicy filmset gossip or behind scenes stories about the stars. I found it rather disappointing and somewhat boring in parts.
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