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Get Your Hero Up A Tree: How to Write a Movie (That Doesn’t Stink) by  Mark Achtenberg

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Mark Achtenberg’s book is a common sense, accessible approach to screenwriting, aimed at students and “young” writers. Written by a writer and teacher who is also an excellent picture editor, the book is filled with practical insights and approaches, based on examples of real films that students will know. It gives the writer a number of choices and the reasons behind them to consider in her or his own original work and does so in a way that encourages the writer to stay true to the passion of the idea and discourages a formulaic ‘one way’ approach.

– Lawrence Mirkin, producer on Fraggle Rock and  the Jim Henson Hour


How to write with moving pictures has often been shrouded in a fog of conflicting advice. Get Your Hero Up A Tree looks clearly through to the heart of what is necessary. Follow Mark’s advice and never get lost. It makes a fuck of a lot more sense than anything Robert McKee ever blabbered on about.

– Robert Mills, writer, director, founder of Radical Sheep Productions


From diverse sources, Mark connects the dots from literature to film language and wraps it all in an entertaining way. This book is an accessible resource showing his talent for contemporizing and synthesizing writing techniques for the writer, screenwriter, and filmmaker in us all.

-James Caswell  - Professor, Story and Storyboarding at the Sheridan College Animation program


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Mark Achtenberg has spent his life confusing producers and potential employers. His resume includes working at a Psychiatric Institution, Public and College Libraries, The Canadian Air Force as well as a Journalist and Editor. He also grifted for the Coles book store in Toronto and has taught writing, editing and visual effects at Humber College and has lectured and given student feedback at the prestigious Sheridan Colllege Animation school. Mark settled into working in the Film and Television industry. He has worked as a writer, director, editor and visual effects artist in animation and live action. Mark has continued his career in the exploration of film and is an avid student of all things that involve moving pictures. And in the interest of dropping names, Mark has worked on shows for Warner Brothers, Nickelodeon, Disney, BBC, CBC, Jim Henson Company, TVO, PBS, MTV and many others.

He currently lives in Whitby, Ontario in the Greater Toronto Area.

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