Zen and the Art of Screenwriting

Insights and Interviews


332 Pages
8x8 Paper
Silman-James Press
Available electronic format(s):
Kindle, iBook,

The essays cover such topics as avoiding the obvious, the birth of ideas, the process of rewriting, dealing with writer’s block, creativity and spontaneity, handling rejection, breaking the screenwriting “rules,” and episodic forms.

Interviewed are
Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption)
Callie Khourie (Thelma & Louise)
Eric Roth (Forrest Gump)
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (Remains of the Day)
David Peop0les (Unforgiven)
Janet Peoples (12 Monkeys)
Bo Goldman (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)
Larry Gelbart (Oh, God!)
Stuart Kaminsky (Hidden Fears)
Laurence Dworet (Outbreak)

About William Froug

William Froug (1922-2013) was an Emmy-winning writer-producer, author, and screenwriting professor. His television credits include The Twilight Zone, Playhouse 90,  Gilligan's Island, Charlie's Angels, and Bewitched. While serving as executive in charge of drama at CBS, he pursued teaching and became an adjunct professor at USC’s film school from 1968-1975. Later, he became a tenured professor at UCLA, where he founded it's present film and television writing program. The Producers Guild named him Producer of the Year in 1956, and the Writers Guild of America awarded him their Valentine Davies Award in 1987. He is the author of five books on screenwriting and a memoir, How I Escaped from Gilligan's Island: And Other Misadventures of a Hollywood Writer-Producer.

“A genius named William Froug has written the essence of screenwriting, the whys of screenwriting.  It’s a must-read for anyone who has written a hundred screenplays or has ever had an interest in writing just one.  The true master, Bill Froug, is more than just a teacher—he is a mentor and an inspiration for myself and countless others.  Don’t even think about sitting in front of a typewriter until you have read and absorbed this wonderful book and understood the true essence and inspiration of a writer.”
—Richard Donner, Director, Inside Moves; Lethal Weapon I, II, and III; Superman

“This book could produce movies I might actually like to see.  No ‘formulas’ or dumb-and-dumber ‘outlines,’ but conversations with gifted screenwriters. Interleaved with practical guidance by William Froug, a wise and funny screenwriting guru.”
—Roger Ebert

“William Froug brings to Zen and the Art of Screenwriting a lifetime of experience as a successful screenwriter and master teacher.  His advice to aspiring screenwriters prioritizes ideas over ‘high concepts’ and personal vision over formulaic approaches to storytelling.  Penetrating interviews with some of Hollywood’s most talented and successful screenwriters reveal the creative process at work.”
—Robert Rosen, Chair, UCLA Department of Film and Television

“No question, William Froug has written one of the best books yet on the all-too-often undervalued contribution of the screenwriter to the business and art of making movies.”
—Brad Radnitz, President, Writers Guild of America, wes

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