I m a sucker for William Goldman But this REALLY was useful I will say it was better than Part I An absolute must have on shelf for any screenwriter.While I took many notes, I know, like his first back, I willbe pulling this off of the shelf and using it as a reference. I ll start this off by saying I love movies penned by William Goldman.I ll also say that, for my money, the novel of The Princess Bride is funnier than the movie.So with those two things in mind, join me as I walk through the economically depressed streets of San Pedro, CA I m there with a friend, killing time while we wait for the Lovecraft Festival to start up and next door to the soon to be crowded Whale and Ale Pub is a little bookshop that s just about to close down Our presence convinces the owner to keep it open just a few minutes longer as we peruse the few shelves of books I look around and see a few things that intrigue me but nothing that fascinates me until I come across this book In hardcover For 4 I don t feel the need right now, so my friends and I thank the man and head over for a slap dashed dinner and Lovecraftian horror.Still there s this book in the back of my mind.I glanced inside the cover I knew that there would be interesting tidbits about the writing ofThe Princess Bride , both the movies and the book Also discussed is one of my favorite horror films of all time, Misery And there s that quality I associate with the name yes, even The Stepford Wives I liked The next day, my friends and I wander the streets again, and I notice just how economically depressed the city is There are almost as many storefronts closed as there are open if anything, the former might outnumber the latter , and those that are open and busy are of the thrift variety The rest are just open Even Art Galleries with chimes on the door have no one working not even a security guard as my friends and I enter So I return to the little independent bookstore just to purchase this book that has sown seeds in my head And I m glad I did.Broken up into four parts,Which Lie Did I Tellis the sequel to Adventures in Screenwriting, a book I did not know existed and have not read It begins right where the last one ended right as Goldman begins a dry spell in Hollywoodland This is a time when no screenplay he writes gets greenlit and those are the few times he s able to write anything This first part discusses the dry spell and the major movies that followed The Princess Bride , Misery , The Year Of The Comet , Maverick , The Ghost and the Darkness and Absolute Power This section is full of backdoor Hollywood how did it get made stories the type of thing I LOVE reading Goldman is amazing at this type of thing.The second part is an analysis of six scenes well, seven, but six movies This part is all about the writing of these scenes, why they work and sometimes why they were written This section spoke to the aspiring dying writer in me craft discussed all over the place, what does it mean to write, how is structure affected by the scenes we write or don t write a writer s dream The third part is a selection of story ideas So we ve gone from credentials Part 1 to analysis Part 2 to formulation and possible concept creation In Part 3, he also discusses limitations Why doesn t William Goldman just write the screenplays discussed in this section Well, cause they aren t his bag, baby He can be inspired by them, but he can also see the difficulties inherent in bringing some of these to the screen ageism in Hollywood, too much repetition with too little variation, etc Still, he doesn t think they are impossible to bring to the screen just not things he is willing to attempt Again, we get a smattering of craft and backdoor Hollywood gossip intermixed with the interesting concept of when inspiration strikes and what s left is silver.The book ends with an exercise of sorts for the fourth part A screenplay first draft written exclusively for the book called The Big A First off, it s incomplete with a great deal of the screenplay written as notes and such and with William Goldman being a bit of a seller than storyteller with reason Second off, it s a rather poor screenplay The exercise is, what would make it better What is worth keeping and what should be excised Where did you get excited and visualize the imagery and where did you throw the book across the room with boredom As a way to further help his readers and this book is geared towards the aspiring Screenplay Writer, completely , he sent this script to five screenplay writers for them to tear apart The five are in order of presentation Peter and Bobby Farrelly this book was printed right after the success of There s Something About Mary when the two were lauded as amazing comedy writers something they haven t quite lived up to since , Scott Frank Get Shorty , Out of Sight and Minority Report , Tony Gilroy The Cutting Edge and Dolores Claiborne which is, btw, almost as good as Misery , Callie Khouri Thelma and Louise and John Patrick Shanley Moonstruck What they have to say about the draft is just as interesting as everything that came before.So I m glad I returned to the little bookshop I m glad I picked up this book I m really glad I read it And even if I m not the intended audience Screenplay Writer , this has changed the way I watch movies and been an engrossing read Worth seeking out, especially if you like Goldman s flicks. A classic every writer should read. In this sequel to screenwriter William Goldman s first memoir, Adventures In The Screen Trade , basically carrying his memoirs forward to the time period 1980 2000, Goldman captures the appeal and basic readability and charm of volume one I think it s marginally inferior to its first book, but it s still very good.Goldman has a gift for writing amiable anecdotes about Hollywood They read very conversational and fun to read, and are aided by Goldman s insight into historically significant figures from film and stuff It s so interesting to see insights into Michael Douglas skills as a producer, or Clint Eastwood s stiff cool as a director, and numerous other examples.Also, a lot of great and not very forced and not prolonged insights into the writing process In the space of a page or less, he can break down poetry, discuss script structure, talk about Bergman The immediacy and conservation of words combined with actual well reasoned wisdom is worth looking at, whether or not you re interested in screenwriting Hollywood Although that interest helps It s not perfect, but not problematic enough to derail the enjoyment Some of the anecdotes about movies Goldman wrote are a little meh The Princess Bride , arguably his best known novel and script to modern audiences, seems a little passive in its insights, fawning over the pleasurable experience I guess bad experiences can be interesting.And the grand experiment of the last part of the book, where Goldman wrote a new script for the sake of publishing it in this book and having famous screenwriters critique it The script, The Big A , about a PI and his relationship with his ex wife and his kids who want in on the family business, is pretty flat in its writing.And the critiques from the Farrelly Brothers, Callie Khouri, and other fellow screenwriters felt very flat and redundant And oddly truncated.But even this pretty dumb section still has some quippy insights from Goldman Everything that he writes and keeps in his introspective and quasi conversational educational voice is, dare I say, it Gold.If you haven t, I highly recommend Adventures In The Screen Trade as a book with very similar structure that was honestly better than this one The breakdown in Butch Cassidy and Sundance from that book aloneBut this is still a great book cut from the same cloth My review can t do it justice aside from just ripping block text from the book and putting it here Read it for yourself.5 5 Fantastic book on the adventures of one of the most acclaimed Hollywood screenwriters, full of insightful information and a very sarcastic sense of humour Essential for every movie buff. Not as good as Adventures , but some really good stuff in here advice, observations, anecdotes, etc Still a valuable book He doesn t seem to like Brits too much seems to have had some difficult work experiences Another must read for aspiring screenwriters, but also plenty of useful content for aspiring writers of any kind And a good read. Something Odd, If Predictable, Became Of Screenwriter William Goldman After He Wrote The Touchstone Tell All Book On Filmmaking, Adventures In The Screen Trade , 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 S And S 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 Collected Works 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 AnythingDoug Thomas William Goldman s his name might sound familiar because he s the author of the book The Princess Bride, and the film s screenplay follow up to Adventures in the Screentrade, Which Lie Did I Tell, covers his works post 1982 such as The Princess Bride, Misery and The Ghost and the Darkness While Adventures is about the happy accidents and why no one really knows anything about how to make movie magic, Lie is a great book about making choices and where to go from there I can apply his stories to most things about writing that I ve read since Other things, too Best of all, it s written as no nonsense conversational style and the best teacher you ve ever had voice It s probably the most personal thing I ve ever read about the loneliness of sitting down by yourself and putting something down on blank paper or screen, whatever It s not alone when you ve got all this that came before you to look back on Adventure pissed off tons of big movie people and pretty much fizzled out his career Goldman went from writing the big ones like All the President s Men and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to not much of anything That he wrote this second book anyway is pretty cool in my book The man genuinely loves storytelling Of course he does, he wrote The Princess Bride Time has passed and my memory blurs some of the two books together The Butch Cassidy parts were from the first book, The Princess Bride novel for Adventures and the screenplay for Lie , A Bridge Too Far for Screentrade I ve never seen the movie I ve already reviewed Adventures so I ll just include the rest of my thoughts for this book These are not well known books on gr, I ve gathered How Goldman came up with the ideas for scripts from real events such as Butch Cassidy, the homosexual maneating lions from The Ghost and the Darkness Michael Douglas would probably be one of the people pissed off by Goldman s book Boy, does he ever come across as a douche bag , and set down to adapting them for the screen made me think about other stories based on real events, the choices the authors make, relying or not on just what actually happened, finding what was interesting about it in the first place the Tsavo lions, for example That wasn t natural, happens every day lion behavior Choosing which aspect to focus on a story out of a big picture like with the Bridge screenplay These are all things that anyone wishing to write a story should take into account Goldman doesn t write a how to guide but gives you something you can use He uses his own experiences as examples, and teaches by the benefit of experience Goldman is a bona fide raconteur, so his stories are amusing and readable, no matter the interest in finding producers, or the money behind the scenes falling apart I gotta wonder when Hollywood is going to run out of inspirational true to life sports stories When they do, Mark Wahlberg s career is over The account of the death of his friend Andre the Giant Fezzick from Princess film was very sad That Goldman deeply loved the man I have no doubt Sniffles I m not crying I read a gr friends review on Princess that said that Goldman could come off as full of himself, but I have to disagree on that His comments about his wife in the additional Princess texts came off as the distantly personal jokes a comedian would make about people they know one could also consider that the two are not married any longer , but when it comes to stories Goldman is all heart That s why his examples are not your average don t do this or that but relatable cause I recognized why I loved the good stuff to begin with I didn t realize that playwright James Goldman writer of The Lion in Winter was his brother until reading his screenwriting books Amazing. Enjoyable follow up to William Goldman s excellent 80 s book Adventures In the Screen Trade At times repetitive and frustrating, Which Lie Did I Tell touches on perhaps too many things that were first brought up in Adventures In the Screen Trade His continual references to BUTCH CASSIDY THE SUNDANCE KID got annoying after awhile Not only does he mention the movie and his script throughout the book, Goldman also devotes an entire chapter to his 1969 Oscar winning script William Goldman had a long and illustrious career, yet he does himself an injustice by harping on BUTCH so often that one could easily think him to be a one trick pony.The structure of Adventures In the Screen Trade is very odd Chapters start with one topic, then go off into tangents in sections that are highlighted in grey Why grey I still don t know Also, Goldman s short hand got on my nerves after a while He d say Mr Warner instead of Warner Bros At times he uses one name monikers as opposed to full names In two books now, Goldman has claimed that GUNGA DIN is the greatest movie ever made and only an idiot or critic would argue that point Yet he never explains what s so great about it, nor does he ever discuss the screenplay for GUNGA DIN I recently watched GUNGA DIN, and hated itleaving me completely baffled by Goldman s remarks.For reasons beyond me, Goldman brings up the tragic 1999 Columbine murders which he annoyingly refers to as Littleton the less common reference to the town where the tragedy took place Goldman at one point praises Ernest Lehman s screenplay for NORTH BY NORTHWEST, which is fine Yet does he have to trash and discredit Alfred Hitchcock in the process According to William Goldman, Alfred Hitchcock just shot Ernest Lehman s script and not well Is he serious Goldman s idiotic statement told me that Goldman, despite his many years of experience, had no clue what a director does He is entitled to his opinion sureyet to say that the greatness of NORTH BY NORTHWEST comes entirely from Lehman s script is to have never have seen the film at all.I think I most enjoyed the final part of the book, where Peter and Bobby Farrelly, Scott Frank, Tony Gilroy, Carrie Khouri and John Patrick Shanley all give Goldman detailed notes on his original screenplay The Big A Despite my issues with Which Lie Did I Tell , I can t help but marvel at William Goldman s writing He is a damn good writer Even his bad story ideas are good When Goldman tries to show examples of dialogue, scenes and other script elements that are wrong and don t workhe fails The reason Goldman does not know how to be a bad writer He s too good at it. William Goldman, the screenwriter of two of my favorite movies and in my opinion, two of the best movies of all time Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Princess Bride offers an witty, insightful, acerbic and neurotic look at the world of writing in Hollywood I haven t read this book s predecessor, Adventures in the Screen Trade, but I have no doubt it was equally enjoyable and eye opening.Apart from recounting his own experiences in Hollywood or Out There as Goldman calls it from 1985 until just prior to the book s publication in 2000, Goldman also analyzes key scenes from films like Fargo and When Harry Met Sally, explaining what makes these scenes work from a filmmaker s point of view He also introduces several story ideas, presents a potential synopsis that could lead to a selling script the script that gets the studio to buy your work and make the movie , and then explains why or why not he personally would be interested in that script Finally, he presents parts of an original screenplay The Big A and gives the reader the responses of several fellow writers who looked it over to give often harsh but potentially helpful pieces of advice.I would give this book five stars as far as books on writing go, this one is up there with Strunk s The Elements of Style and Stephen King s On Writing except that Goldman made a few comments that bugged me, such as disparaging Roger Ebert, my favorite film critic, and criticizing film sequels for being all about the money while ignoring the good i.e critically acclaimed and fan adored sequels that exist, apart from a brief mention of The Godfather Part II I wouldn t mind this too much except that I hold sequels like Aliens, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Terminator 2 Judgment Day, Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly pretty close to my heart Plus, my ALL TIME FAVORITE MOVIE just so happens to be The Empire Strikes Back, which in my mind has never been surpassed by any other film, sequel or otherwise Apart from these issues, which are as much about opinion differences as anything else, I loved the book.If you want to learn about Hollywood, writing, or writing in Hollywood, be sure to grab this one You won t be disappointed.