Aaron Mendelsohn is a working screenwriter, professor of screenwriting at Loyola Marymount University, and an elected officer and lifetime member of the Writers Guild of America West. He currently has a feature film, a drama series and an MOW – a rare trifecta – in development at major studios and networks.
Aaron reached out to me about his new ebook The 11 Fundamental Questions: A Guide to a Better Screenplay. He told me that its unique angle is based on a story-breaking method he came up with a decade ago to help him craft and “stress test” his outlines, pitches and scripts.
When teaching this method in classes and seminars around the world, the response he got from professional and emerging writers alike was “you gotta turn this into a book!”
So he did.
I was excited to take a look at this ebook because I was curious how something so short – Aaron himself describes it as being like a PowerPoint presentation – could be “enough” for writers to go on.
That said, I am a fan of condensed material – after all, a detailed book is brilliant, but one that you can read quickly to refresh your memory or delve into easily to pinpoint quick and simple advice, is just excellent.
The ebook is really colourful yet simple in its presentation, making it ideal to print out and put on the wall above your computer. I really like the colour choices (well, maybe except the black page!) because they are all very easy on the eye.
The method works for all sorts of writing – any kind of story, basically. The questions/prompts are posed, followed by examples to help demonstrate how you can start to think about your own screenplay planning/writing. This is excellent throughout, mostly…
Only one of the sections/questions disappointed me. The “How are you honoring or subverting your genre?” question skips examples in favour of challenging the reader to come up with their own examples. This is great to get the reader truly involved, but to be honest I feel an example or two would have been beneficial to show a reader how to get into the right frame of mind.
This aside, it’s a great presentation for those who want quick, succinct and excellent advice, be it for the first time as an introduction to the topic or for writers who crave a refresher.
You’ll find the book at www.11questionsbook.com. It normally sells for $4.99, but Aaron is offering an introductory 20% discount.
We also have a giveaway copy for one lucky reader! Comment below telling me why you think a concise guide like this would be useful to you and I’ll pick a name out of a hat next Thursday, 6th October!