Riding The Alligator – Pen Densham

Just read a great book on screenwriting. Riding The Alligator by Pen Densham.

He’s a writer / director / producer, but not the kind who makes self-indulgent bad movies because he’s in charge. He wrote ROBIN HOOD PRINCE OF THIEVES and produced a bunch of marvelous movies.

I highly recommend you read it. It’s got great stuff in it about writing and ways to approach the beast.

What it has got that’s FANTASTIC, and worth all the money, are the chapters (by him and his screenwriter guests) that deal with the ongoing brutality of the agony of self-doubt and anguish that come hand in hand with the writer’s personality and situation. Some of his advice I had NEVER heard before, and it is very, very useful.

Knowing other people worry just as much as I do makes a big difference. Knowing other people fear the same things I do, makes a big difference. I knew it before, but it’s never a bad thing to have knowledge reinforced.

Reminds me of a story. But hey, what doesn’t?

A friend wrote a hugely successful film. Grossed hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars. Not going to tell you which one. But it was a lot of money and you’ve seen the movie. Anyway, I thought “Now, that guy feels great!” He wrote a sequel to the film, sent me the script for my notes. When I called him, I could tell from his voice that he was nervous as a pregnant nun. “What did you think…?” He was JUST as afraid as I am when I ask a reader that same, awful question. He was JUST as worried about his writing and its effect on me as I am when standing in his same place.

Sad for him. Good for me to know, though.

Anyway, Pen Densham’s book is fabulous. It helped me as a writer and, I think, as a person. Not bad for $25 plus tax.

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