Free Fire Zone: A Playwright's Adventures on the Creative Battlefields of Film, TV, and Theater

Overview

Theresa Rebeck’s career has hopscotched between the Off-Broadway successes of plays such as Spike Heels, The Family of Mann, and View of the Dome, to award- winning work writing and producing network television such as NYPD Blue, to writing screenplays for independent and studio features. This writer’s guide is both a discussion of the writer’s craft and a no-holds-barred discussion of the politics in the movie, television, and theater worlds. Rebeck writes, "Someone once asked me, ‘What advice would you give to ...
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Overview

Theresa Rebeck’s career has hopscotched between the Off-Broadway successes of plays such as Spike Heels, The Family of Mann, and View of the Dome, to award- winning work writing and producing network television such as NYPD Blue, to writing screenplays for independent and studio features. This writer’s guide is both a discussion of the writer’s craft and a no-holds-barred discussion of the politics in the movie, television, and theater worlds. Rebeck writes, "Someone once asked me, ‘What advice would you give to young writers who wanted to go into show business?’ And I answered, almost without thinking, ‘Tell all of them to go back and reread Machiavelli.’ " In a series of hilarious and provocative discussions covering all aspects of dramatic writing, Rebeck attempts to address what she considers both of a writer’s primary concerns - how to tell a story with truth and vision and how to maneuver as a dramatic writer in a dangerous world.In television, Ms. Rebeck has written for Dream On, Brooklyn Bridge, L.A. Law, Maximum Bob, First Wave, Third Watch, and NYPD Blue, where she also worked as a producer. In 2004 she wrote and executive produced a television pilot for Warner Bros/CBS, "The Webster Report," directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and starring Stanley Tucci. In film, she has written the screenplay for Kalamazoo, an independent short starring Wallace Shawn and Adrienne Shelley. Other produced features include Harriet the Spy, Gossip, and the independent feature Sunday on the Rocks.
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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
Reback on the structures of well-made plays and TV episodes and the rewards and difficulties of working for various media, should gratify aspiring writers. Meanwhile, as might be expected of the author of the hilarious play The Family of Mann, about off-camera backstabbing on a TV series, her trenchancy about surviving and thriving in L. A. will amuse and enlighten all comers.
&3151;Jack Helbig
Midwest Book Review
"When it comes to talking to actors, let them figure out as much as they can on their own. It is always better to have an actor figure out what feels right for his character himself; it is never as good to tell him what he's playing." Free Fire Zone is highly recommended as a one-of-a-kind guide that anyone attempting to break into multimedia writing must read.
Library Journal

If one didn't know anything about Rebeck, this sympathetic guide through the often ruthless bureaucratic minefields of writing for theater, television, and film might seem like a bad author's excuse for failure. But Rebeck is an established playwright and screenwriter, successful in both New York and Hollywood, which gives her anecdotal evidence huge impact. As she says when relating the miserable audition experience of a bona fide star, "If they'll do it to her, they'll do it to anybody. And they do." The tone here is conversational and thoughtful as she shares her experiences, beginning with the charge "Learn How To Write," winding through "The Power Structure," "Mendacity," "Actors," "Directors," and "Critics," and finally offering advice on "How To Stay Sane." Rebeck changes the names of those she discusses, using humorous but effective aliases like Richard III and Attila to set the stage quickly for the reader. Sometimes caustically cynical but always brutally honest, Rebeck's entertaining volume is an essential read for anyone contemplating writing for show business. [Rebeck's newest play, Mauritius, opens on Broadway on October 4.-Ed.]
—Laura A. Ewald

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781575253640
  • Publisher: Smith & Kraus, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/25/2007
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Theresa Rebeck
Theresa Rebeck's most recent work includes her play MAURITIUS, which opened October 4, 2007, at the Biltmore Theater on Broadway. The play is a darkly funny story about two half-sisters who come in conflict over a book of rare, potentially priceless postage stamps. Theresa's new novel, Three Girls and Her Brother, is being brought out by Random house in the United States and HarperCollins in England, in March of 2008. The world premiere of her play, OUR HOUSE, is opening the Denver Center Theatre's New Play Summit in January of 2008. Rebeck's many other plays include Bad Dates, Spike Heels, The Water's Edge, and The Scene, which will be presented this season in New York at Second Stage, also directed by Taichman. Her work has been widely produced both regionally and internationally.
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Table of Contents

Preface

Lesson One
Learn How to Write

Lesson Two
The Power Structure

Lesson Three
Mendacity

Lesson Four
Actors

Lesson Five
Directors

Lesson Six
Critics

Lesson Seven
Megalomaniacs, Agents, and Pilot Season

Lesson Eight
How to Stay Sane
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