Monday, August 8, 2016

Get Your Story Straight

A Step-By-Step Guide To Screenwriting
By A Million Dollar Screenwriter
By Diane Drake

Book Review
By Ann Baldwin

Diane Drake is an accomplished, professional screenwriter, writing instructor, story consultant, speaker, and author. Prior to becoming a screenwriter, Diane served as Vice President of Creative Affairs for Academy Award-winning director/producer Sydney Pollack. Her first produced original script, Only You, starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Marisa Tomei sold for one million dollars, while her second produced script, What Women Want, starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt is the second highest grossing romantic comedy of all time. In addition, both films have recently been made in China featuring major China stars. Diane is a member of the Writer’s Guild of America and has been an instructor/speaker for The Austin Film Festival, UCLA Writer’s Program, Script Writers Network, The Story Development Group, and The Writer’s Store. In her recently released debut book, Get Your Story Straight: A Step-By-Step Guide To Screenwriting By A Million Dollar Screenwriter (Reel Life Publishing, May 2016), you gain unique and valuable insights on story structure and what it takes to make it as a successful screenwriter.

Diane is a rare gem of a screenwriting instructor, because she has the proven creative talent and skills of a professional screenwriter and savvy business smarts from being a successful development executive working in the heart of Hollywood. A few of the gifts you’ll receive from her include: learning what ‘seed scenes’ are and how they’re used as inspiration in writing your stories; how to create a captivating and comprehensive logline that works like an attention-magnet and compass, using 4 simple steps; the 5 keys for creating a main character that your audience will care deeply about; how to turn the often sluggish Act II into one that’s fun, compelling, and moving; how to eliminate the quote ‘a writer’s work is never done’ from your vocabulary, by showing you an easy and effective technique to help you cross the finish line in Act III; tips on how to negotiate with your Royal Muse and Pain-in-the-Butt Inner Critic. An added treat you get to enjoy is Diane’s fantastic sense of humor, which will make you smile and laugh often, while learning.

Each chapter includes a brief ‘Take Away’ and ‘Worksheet’ section at the end, along with inspirational and helpful quotes. Diane includes examples from her own professional experiences as well as from other seasoned pros in the industry such as Academy Award-winning screenwriter, Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine, Toy Story 3), Academy Award-nominated screenwriter, Kim Krizan (Before Sunrise, Before Sunset), Golden Globe Award-nominated producer/writer/director, Judd Apatow (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked-Up), and Academy Award-winning screenwriter/producer/director, Callie Khouri (Thelma & Louise, Nashville).

I found it incredibly helpful that with each essential element in story structure that Diane explains, she consistently gives between 6 to 13 short examples from top films to emphasize her points. This is one of the most beneficial aspects of Get Your Story Straight, because she ‘SHOWS’ you exactly what she’s talking about; it allows you to learn rather quickly and see what all of the successful films share in common. She uses over fifty popular films as examples such as Argo, Toy Story, Tootsie, Thelma & Louise, The Kings Speech, Erin Brockovich, Iron Man, Only You, Good Will Hunting, What Women Want, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and Bridesmaids.

Get Your Story Straight is like experiencing the scent of Pure Rose Oil; it takes 60,000 roses to produce 1oz, costs $1500 an ounce, has the highest vibrational frequency (320MHz), and raises the energy of everyone and everything it comes into contact with. Diane Drake is a million dollar screenwriter; she raises the quality of your storytelling skills, while encouraging and inspiring you to reach new heights in your screenwriting career.

I highly recommend Get Your Story Straight for all screenwriters who want to gain the techniques to craft solid, original, and award-winning screenplays that might just start the bidding wars in Hollywood again.

To learn more about Diane Drake, you can visit her website at and purchase a copy of Get Your Story Straight at Amazon.

Sweet Movie Dreams,
Ann Baldwin