by_stuartAt some screenwriting panels, there’s a palpable novice vibe in the room.

The moderator asks basic questions. The panelists have a look that combines boredom and ego: “This is what they’re asking us? And people actually care about our responses?” The audience applauds after every answer, noteworthy or not. The microphone is passed, and it repeats.

Karl Iglesias’s The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters feels like the transcript of one of these panels. It’s not a list of 101 habits as much as a collection of broad but basic interviews, edited and assembled under 101 different headings.

An example:

Ron Bass: There’s only one reason to become a screenwriter, or a writer of anything, and that is you can’t avoid it. It’s what you love to do. It’s who you are. I write because there’s no way I couldn’t write.

If you’ve been to film school, read a lot of screenwriting literature, or attended Academy or WGA events, the advice in this book will feel old hat. On the other hand, if you don’t have access to screenwriters, or your screenwriting obsession is new, you may find a lot of value here.

The clichés are familiar, but useful; there’s a reason they’re clichés.

Still, 101 is a very appropriate number for this book to have in its title.