About the Book:
Riding the Alligator is the first book that explores both specific screenplay writing techniques, while simultaneously imparting industry-tested strategies for carving a successful, long term career.
Hollywood filmmaker Pen Densham's 14 feature films and numerous TV series have grossed over $1 billion to date. In Riding the Alligator, he reveals his emotional philosophies, triumphs (and failures) and countless professional secrets, plus insights from his company, Trilogy Entertainment Group.
Subtitled Strategies for a Career in Screenplay Writing (and not getting eaten), Pen imparts an inspiring philosophy on choosing an artistic career and overcoming the many challenges, such as managing stress and self-doubt, to selling yourself and pitching your work, to finding an agent and being true to one's nature, all while carving a lasting and satisfying career.
Pen Densham draws from his own, successful self-taught approach to the industry. He speaks from a place of tremendous empathy for writers, as someone who personally identifies with their creative struggles. He believes there are many right ways to find your voice as an artist and so, going one step further, Pen has included short essays from some of Hollywood's top screenwriters, including
, Nia Vardalos, Eric Roth, Laeta Kalogridis, Ron Shelton, Robin Swicord, and Tony Peckham, who each share their particular perspective on their art and career.
The key points of Riding the Alligator include:
• Written by successful Award Winning Producer-Writer-Director and USC adjunct professor Pen Densham.
• Tactics for screenplay writing, and creative entrepreneurialism.
• Instant Library summaries of 10 popular books on Hollywood, as reviewed by USC Film Students.
• Foreword by Jay Roach, director of Austin Powers, Meet the Fockers and producer of Borat.
• Gator Glossary and index.
• Enjoyable to read, informal in tone, with an optimistic and nurturing approach to creating and writing.
• Information based on author's extensive career successes (and failures!).
• An optimistic view on dealing with stresses of a lone, creative artist – the writer.
• Simple techniques developed by Pen and his company Trilogy for structuring stories and creating compelling characters that stars will want to play.
• Personal testimonies on the craft from 12 other top Hollywood screenwriters.
What people say:
"Pen's advice is something I wish I'd had when starting out. His words on the creative process are inspiring and useful, and his insight into the business is essential.." — Paul Haggis, Academy Award-Winning Writer / Producer / Director
"Pen Densham's Riding The Alligator provides the essential tools of the trade and leaves more than sufficient room for individual creativity. His deep understanding of the screenwriting process is at once inspiring and empowering. An invaluable resource that is certain to become a must for all new screenwriters." — Robert Mandel, Dean of AFI Conservatory
"One thing I know for sure; without writers, we in the entertainment business are aimless wanderers looking for a place to be. My thanks to Pen for this inspirational book." — Morgan Freeman, Academy Award-winning Actor
"As a director, I cannot achieve my goals without the help of creative and courageous writers. Pen's book is unique in that it addresses the entire landscape of movie writing as a career, and most especially encourages artists who write from the heart and strive for originality." — Ron Howard, Director / Producer / Writer / Actor
About the Author:
Pen Densham is a successful award-winning screenwriter, producer, and director, with an extensive track-record in film and television. He is responsible for writing and producing some of Hollywood's biggest blockbusters, such as Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, along with some of its longest-running television series including reviving The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone anthologies.