Confessions of a Script Doctor

How to Turn Your Life Experiences into Books, Plays, Screenplays

Non-Fiction - Music/Entertainment
308 Pages
Reviewed on 07/31/2019
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Confessions of a Script Doctor: How to Turn Your Life Experiences into Books, Plays, Screenplays is a nonfiction music/entertainment-oriented guide to writing and publishing written by Jack Fitzgerald. Computers and the ability to self-publish have encouraged people from all walks of life and levels of skill to try their luck at becoming the author of a golden work, one which instantly catapults them to fame and fortune. In this work, Fitzgerald offers some hard truths about the number of books being published each year and the actual incomes writers receive at the end of the process. While admittedly the bearer of such bad news, he’s also more than willing to show aspiring writers how they can turn their own life stories into fodder for their books by sharing how his own past adventures became the basis for his plays, screenplays, and books. Fitzgerald also introduces “Creative Features” such as satire, creativity, style, and voice, and he details how those devices can make your writing more dynamic and moving. He discusses the challenges facing both amateur and experienced writers in finding agents, publishers and a market for their work. He shares insights on how to select workshops, contests, and gurus, and warns against having unrealistic expectations.

Confessions of a Script Doctor is also a marvelous collection of memoirs written in a smooth conversational style. The author is a treasure trove of stories and facts that would often compel me to share them with others as I read. I’m convinced that nowhere else would I have learned about the homely roots of the MacGuffin and how the judicious use of them can ramp up reader interest. I finished this book feeling as though I had sat for some time with the author, bombarding him with questions and listening as he shared his life stories, gave advice on how I could do the same, and taught me the mechanics of his craft. The stories alone would have been worth the price of admission; the whole package is remarkable and an invaluable resource for aspiring writers. Confessions of a Script Doctor: How to Turn Your Life Experiences into Books, Plays, Screenplays is most highly recommended.

Vernita Naylor

In the wonderful world of social media, high-tech, apps, cameras, and smartphones, everyone is seeking fame from being an artist, film producer, director, and actor to having their own reality show. And let's be honest, some people do actually get signed. In Confessions of a Script Doctor: How to Turn Your Life Experiences into Books, Plays, Screenplays by Jack Fitzgerald, you can learn how to fulfill your dreams and understand what it takes to have your story told and shared with the world. This book offers the reader the best practices, behind the scenes' secrets and the obstacles to avoid in creating your own scripted masterpiece in 79 easy to read chapters. In the music and entertainment industry, it takes a lot to be seen by the right person or to have a LOT of followers and you need the right tools to make your dream a reality - this book has the answers and does not disappoint.

"In these chapters, you will find some of the adventures I have experienced in my life. I am a firm believer in writing about what you know and that means recalling various episodes in your life," says the author. It is because of these words that I found the book thought-provoking due to learning from a master craftsman of storytelling. To craft this book Jack taps into his diverse background and experiences as an author, actor, director, playwright and screenwriter, including his body of work to teach you the required steps to turn your life story into something others will be interested in seeing, reading and hearing about. As an added bonus you will learn how to create a query letter to help get your foot in the door and to be taken seriously. If this rings true for you, pick up a copy of this book today.

Vincent Dublado

They say that one of the most important things to consider when buying a screenwriting book is the author--who he is and what he has done for the industry. In the competitive world of screenwriting, it is essential to pay attention to someone who has been there, and Jack Fitzgerald has been there in a hit and miss fashion. In Confessions of a Script Doctor, Jack Fitzgerald shares his life experience in the industry with mixed results. If a memoir and a writing reference could have an offspring, this book is the one. Originally a playwright by vocation, Jack Fitzgerald takes us on a joy ride in time back to his formative years in Paris as a playwright hobnobbing with other hopefuls and intriguing characters. The book is divided into three parts. The first part talks about his experiences as a well-traveled writer and the sordid truths behind the film industry. The second part is the creative features that every screenwriter must learn to keep his sanity intact. The third part is about marketing and how it can make or break your screenplay.

Students of the screenwriting craft will not be spoon-fed with Confessions of a Script Doctor. As the book is drawn from experience, Jack Fitzgerald prepares you for realistic expectations that might break your heart but will make you stronger. The book is reader-friendly with its short, engaging chapters. Jack Fitzgerald swashbuckles through a well-organized compression of time, addressing issues and common pitfalls to avoid, how to survive Hollywood politics, and how modern-day technology is shaping our attitudes and writing skills. The author might sound self-centered at times because he is afraid to offend by talking about others--paradoxical when you are writing about hard truths. If you need one reason to pay attention to this book, it is that you will be treated to original tips and secrets that will help you become a better and more determined screenwriter.

Samantha Gregory

Confessions of a Script Doctor: How to Turn Your Life Experiences into Books, Plays, Screenplays by Jack Fitzgerald is an informative book on how you can take everyday events and experiences from your life and turn them into a book or a screenplay. He covers a lot of information in only 300 pages and it is not exhaustive, but there is plenty to take away from it. He covers story ideas, getting the idea down on paper, what the likes of Hollywood is looking for, along with a look at some movie examples. The book is divided into easy to grasp chapters and even covers how to market your book too.

Jack Fitzgerald has written a helpful and information-packed book in Confessions of a Script Doctor: How to Turn Your Life Experiences into Books, Plays, Screenplays. Many writers today look to record their life or the lives of those around them in the form of a book or script, although there are pitfalls to look out for and, of course, life never really plays out like the movies. It can be boring and some writers need to get creative in order to make the story more enticing to the audience. Overall, there was a lot of good advice without it feeling like a textbook. The writer drew on his own life and his experiences and that really shows. I would recommend it to writers who are just starting out or who are looking for new ideas but are not sure how to put them down on paper.

K.C. Finn

Confessions of a Script Doctor is a work of non-fiction penned by author Jack Fitzgerald, which is focused on ‘How to Turn Your Life Experiences into Books, Plays, Screenplays’. In this instructional and informative guidebook, Fitzgerald uses personal experiences from his own life to engage with creativity and transform his real-life adventures into compelling works. The book includes sections on features of creativity such as tackling writer’s block and approaching the writing style and voice, as well as guidance on what to do with your work once it is completed if you would like to see it put into production.

Author Jack Fitzgerald makes great use of his own personal style and narrative voice to provide an accessible and entertaining guide to transforming life experience into works of entertainment. It’s evident that there is plenty of industry knowledge and technical know-how behind Fitzgerald’s advice, but much of the jargon is held back and delivered in easy to understand segments. Whilst the section on creative features is not fully detailed, the short sections on different elements give a great introduction to techniques and features, which could easily be used as a springboard to look into them further and hone your skills as a writer. I particularly enjoyed the final section on marketing, which was honest, amusing, but also filled with optimism to inspire prospective creators in their endeavors. Overall, Confessions of a Script Doctor delivers essential skills in an easy to access package but also has a great flair to it and an inspiring atmosphere.