"The Hollywood Standard" was an early Christmas gift from my other half. Ever since my personal script editor/story consultant (the amazing Jonna Jackson) told me she was a convert to Mr. Riley's ways (using the lessons of his books while editing my screenplays), I have coveted a copy.
So here's a review of sorts, and a few things which have now been brought to my attention. (Just an FYI, I found a few typos in the book - about proper formatting, and with a section on typos). It's a quick read, and I'm not trying to sound cocky by saying this, but I would venture a guess that I am pretty firm on about 80% of the lessons provided here. There is plenty of information on television script formatting, production script formatting, so I basically glossed over those, as they don't apply to my usual spec script writing. Obviously, should the time come for me to tackle a television program, I'll refer back to those particular chapters/sections.
I plan to go back through the book again, more slowly, highlighting sections and particular notes, putting post-its here and there, and focusing on the items which I know will be of use to me as I move into my next screenplays.
There are some things which I don't agree with -- namely the overuse of camera directions in descriptions or scene headings. I've never agreed with this, and while Mr. Riley suggests using such things infrequently, doing the director's job has never appealed to me, in my own screenwriting.
Smaller things will also not be adopted. When I move the action from an Exterior scene, directly into an Interior scene (as an example), I will put CONTINUOUS, while Mr. Riley says it should be termed CONTINUOUS ACTION. A small difference to be sure, but I'll stick w/ my usual ways.
I have been educated on many punctuation faux pas, and will certainly work to incorporate these new lessons into my writing from here on out. And there are a few other, minute formatting changes I'll make in areas outside of punctuation.
I am also going to take to heart the fact that Mr. Riley gives the "thumbs up" for having small direction/action bits within the parenthetical (between the character name and character dialogue). Something I never would have done before, may now save some space on the page.
But overall, after having read the book, it gives me a modicum of pleasure to see that as I've developed my own screenwriting tricks and traditions, that the vast majority of the lessons laid out in this book -- well, that I'm already in on those particular secrets. :)
Again, not to sound cocky, but to acknowledge that I am (and have been) on the right track as far as proper screenplay formatting -- definite relief! Can I get a "whew!"?
And this new nit-picky knowledge will also benefit you -- my potential clients!
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