I Really Won the Lottery This Time: Hollywod Screenwriters

Do you recognize these big Hollywood names: Joe Eszterhas, Shane Black, Jeffrey Boam? No? You may know them better by their products: Flashdance, Lethal Weapon, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Eszterhas, Black and Boam are practitioners of an essential yet mostly invisible movie-making craft: screenwriting. While actors, directors and even producers gain fame and seven- figure salaries, screenwriters have traditionally been the Rodney Dangerfields of Hollywood.

But that lowly status is on the verge of a major rewrite. As studios battle one another for the limited supply of surefire scripts, screenwriters have begun snaring huge fees. In a spectacular bidding...

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