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Cut to the Chase

Cut to the Chase Cover

Cut to the Chase

Writing Feature Films with the Pros at UCLA Extension Writers' Program

By Linda Venis

Gotham Books, Paperback, 9781592408108, 381pp.

Publication Date: August 6, 2013

Millions of people dream of writing a screenplay but don't know how to begin, or are already working on a script but are stuck and need some targeted advice. Or maybe they have a great script, but no clue about how to navigate the choppy waters of show business. Enter Cut To The Chase, written by professional writers who teach in UCLA Extension Writers' Programme, whose alumni's many credits include Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl; Twilight; and the Academy Award nominated Letters from Iwo Juima. From learning how to identify story ideas that make a good movie to opening career doors and keeping them open, this authoritative, comprehensive, and entertaining book, edited by Writers' Program Director Linda Venis, will be the film-writing bible for decades to come. "A well-organized soup-to-nuts manual for aspiring Nora Ephrons and Charlie Kaufmans, from the faculty of a notable screenwriting program. . . . A readable writer's how-to that goes down smoothly." - Kirkus Reviews.

About the Author
Over the past two decades, Linda Venis has guided the growth of the UCLA Extension Writers' Programme into the nation's largest creative writing and screenwriting program. She lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband and their daughter.

Praise For Cut to the Chase

"A classic. Very readable. Very informative."
—Producer Julie Corman (New World Pictures, New Horizons Pictures)

"Cut to the Chase is a state-of-the-art collection of articles by some of the best (and most prolific) teachers at the UCLA Extension Writers' Program. In addition to practical information on craft, the reader also receives some pithy, entertaining and frank advice on dealing with the realities of a screenwriting career.  As a therapist who specializes in working with creative people of all stripes, I appreciate even more the book's wisdom and common sense. Plus, it's a lot of fun to read."
—Dennis Palumbo, author and licensed psychotherapist

"There's a lot written about writing for the movies--but not much of it comes from professionals who know whereof they speak. With Cut to the Chase, readers hear from real professionals talking about the art and craft of screenwriting and learn not only the nuts and bolts of what it takes to be a screenwriter, but also how to mold their creativity into that most challenging of forms, the screenplay. If I was starting out today, I'd be looking for a book like Cut to the Chase—because I'd want advice and knowledge from people who have been in the trenches." —Diane Lake, Assistant Professor, Visual and Media Arts, Emerson College; screenwriter for Columbia, Disney, Miramax, and Paramount
“A well-organized soup-to-nuts manual for aspiring Nora Ephrons and Charlie Kaufmans, from the faculty of a notable screenwriting program. . . . A readable writer’s how-to that goes down smoothly.”
Kirkus Reviews
Cut to the Chase cuts the fat out of the screenwriting process. It's lean and mean without being intimidating. I think it's incredibly smart and cuts close to the bone of what really makes a great movie; less is really more with these wise guides taking the grizzle out of process!”
—Karen Leigh Hopkins, Because I Said So, Stepmom

Cut the Chase is a great value for aspiring screenwriters, leveraging the knowledge of numerous UCLA Extension instructors with their collective experience of 20 produced feature films in one volume.  Covering everything from the inception of the idea all the way to the business end of taking meetings and pitching, this book has it all.”
—Iris Yamashita, Academy Award nominated screenwriter, Letters from Iwo Jima