Neil Landau’s The Screenwriter’s Roadmap: 21 Ways to Jumpstart Your Story is no simple “how-to” book. Instead it’s a book that guides the writer through the numerous elements of a successful screenplay. The reader is invited to be pro-active with assignments in each chapter. Landau doesn’t give advice on selling your screenplay but concentrates on the construction of the story. He tells you there are no set formulas and proves his point with in-depth interviews with some of Hollywood’s most successful screenwriters who all express differing views on the art of screenwriting. The roadmap may have signs indicating the general direction to go but the writer will only reach their destination with a mixture of talent, basic storytelling skills and something Landau believes is lacking in many screenplays he reads – imagination.
The chapter-by-chapter interview sunjects include Scott Z. Burns (Contagion), Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton, The Bourne Legacy), Laeta Kalogridis (Shutter Island), David Koepp (Spider Man), Jeff Nathanson (Catch Me If You Can), Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close), David S. Goyer (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight Rises), Billy Ray (The Hunger Games), Melissa Rosenberg (the Twilight trilogy), Sheldon Turner (Up in the Air), and many others.
Landau’s book is complex without ever becoming boring. He keeps the subject fresh by keeping the roadmap open to individual interpretation. Each writer he interviews explores their own particular approach – and none are the same. You learn the basics and then let your imagination take over. But without those basic principles you are like a driver without directions – on the road to nowhere in particular. Landau provides you with the map. His book is “a field guide to writing movies” that “provoke us, inform us and inspire us.” The rest is in the hands of the writer and their individual talent.
About The Author: Neil Landau is co-author of the bestselling 101 Things I Learned in Film School (Grand Central Publishing, 2010). His numerous film and television credits include the cult teen comedy “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead,” and the new 3D animated feature “Tad, The Lost Explorer” (Paramount, 2012). In addition to his numerous TV credits, including “Melrose Place,” “The Magnificent Seven,” “Doogie Howser, M.D.,” “The Secret World of Alex Mack,” “Twice in a Lifetime,” MTV’s “Undressed,” plus one-hour drama TV pilots for CBS, ABC, Warner Bros., Disney, and Lifetime. He currently teaches in the MFA in Screenwriting and Producing Programs at both UCLA School of Film & Television (his alma mater), and USC School of Cinematic Arts.