1999-2000 Writer's Guide to Hollywood Producers, Directors and Screenwriter's Agents

by Skip Press

Published by Prima Publishing

1998, 466 pages

Buy it online





A Roadmap to the Stars

Reviewed by John Shinnick

Paul Mason, a senior VP of production with Viacom, described this book in a news release as "not only entertaining but a valuable tool for anyone interested in show business." Well, I'd agree with him as far as saying it is a good tool, but it's not very entertaining. It's a phone book with some interesting white pages, and it can save an aspiring screenwriter a lot of time while helping him to delude himself with a modicum of hope.

Hollywood, fittingly, has a designer label on its hillside. A beacon that attracts the weary, the depressed, the depressing, and the desolate like moths to its dusty desert shores. Skip Press has revised and completely updated its Writer's Guide to Hollywood Producers, Directors, and Screenwriter's Agents, 1999-2000. Now, they claim that Skip Press is really a person -- a journalist, no less -- but the name sounds an awful lot like an Allan Smithee, a nom de guerre for someone who doesn't want his name connected with the material. ("Based on years of experience as a screenwriter and entertainment journalist, Skip Press provides a step-by-step guide through the trials of the industries and leads you on your way to success.")

This book is a decent reference for screenwriters, primarily the amateur variety (the otherwise, the selling writers, are already there and contributing to the statistics and copy that produced this book). There is a terrific listing of Hollywood producers, directors, and agents; plus a suggested "How-To" on getting your script sold (alas, if it were so), a comprehensive resource list of Web sites for screenwriting and Hollywood insider news (where some of this information came from), and there are screenwriting software reviews (want my review of screenwriting software? Save your money for a flight to L.A. The programs are all overpriced. You can accomplish as much by formatting your style sheets in Word6 and setting up your F-keys).

Some of the most valuable information in this directory are its interviews with some of the players in Hollywood. Want a course in screenwriting? Want to know where the agents are? Want to know which agents will even look at your masterwork? Get your mitts on every sourcebook you can buy, steal or check out of your library. Make sure they are as up-to-date as possible. And make sure this one's in the mix.

Believe me, you're going to need it. | February 1999


John Shinnick is the editor and publisher of Media Wave; B.C. Shorelines Business Letter; the CondoLetter; BRAVE NEW WORDS and The Future File. He is also the screenwriter who was the winner of the 1998 Praxis Award.