Books We Love

Robert McKee's screenwriting workshops have earned a reputation for inspiring novices, refining works in progress and putting major screenwriting careers back on track. In Story, McKee expands on the concepts he teaches in his seminars.

In this new staple, arguably second only to McKee's "Story," the late Blake Snyder tells all in this fast, funny and candid look inside the movie business. "Save the Cat" presents ironclad rules for making your ideas more marketable and your script more satisfying.

A real gem on the craft of screenwriting, Syd Field's preeminent book on screenwriting provides easily understood guidelines for writing a screenplay, from concept to finished product.

Field makes the art of film writing accessible to novices and helps practiced writers improve.

As befits more than twenty years in Hollywood, Oscar-winning screenwriter William Goldman's sparkling memoir is as entertaining as many of the films he has helped to create.

From the writer of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President's Men and Marathon Man.

Crafty Screenwriting not only to offers a successful screenwriter's tricks of the trade, but explains what development executives really mean when they complain that the "dialogue is flat," or "the hero isn't likeable."

Alex Epstein diagnoses problems that other books barely address.

The Writer's Journey has become one of the essential texts for screenwriters who want to harness the three act structure.

The Writer's Journey explores how the ancient patterns and wisdom of world myths still have value for writers as a guideline to structure and a source of creative inspiration.

The Horowitz System shows how to turn an idea into the first draft of a screenplay.

In 10 weeks or less, 80 percent of students who follow the method have completed original, well-structured scripts.

Used as a textbook at New York University for over 10 years.

A Complete Guide to Writing, Formatting, and Selling Your Script. Among its wealth of practical information are sample query letters, useful worksheets and checklists, hundreds of examples, sample scenes, and straightforward explanations of screenwriting fundamentals.

This is six books in one.

If you're writing your first script, this book will help develop your skills for telling a compelling and dramatic story. If you're a veteran screenwriter, this book will articulate the skills you know intuitively. And if you're currently stuck on a rewrite, this book will help you analyze and solve the problems and get your script back "on track."
Enlightening Screenwriting Articles
Death to Readers (Wordplayer) One of our favorite articles on one of our favorite sites. Outlines 60 questions every reader asks while reviewing scripts (and every screenwriter should ask when writing them).
On Formatting 1 Screenplay formatting tips from the Academy Nicholl Fellowship.
On Formatting 2 A perfectly formatted 12 page script about perfect formatting.
Articles For Beginners For newer screenwriters, a collection of how to's presented by The Writers Store at
Hauge On Structure Michael Hauge discusses structure by dissecting "the five key turning points of all successful scripts."
Marshall On 3-Act Structure Screenwriter and filmmaker Nathan Marshall breaks down the mythic three-act structure.
Palmer on Pitching Stephanie Palmer's excellent collection of articles on being "good in the room."
Moviemaker The magazine's monthly articles on screenwriting.
Syd Field on Screenwriting A collection of Syd Field's screenwriting articles, film analyses, and interviews.
Screenwriting Software Choices
Final Draft The number one selling screenwriting program in the world.
Celtx The leading alternative to Final Draft, Celtx's screenwriting software is part of "the world's first all in one pre-production system."
Scripped Free online screenwriting software provides collaboration tools to writers around the globe.
Full Screenplays
Regardless of the courses you've taken or the books you've read, reading produced and unproduced screenplays is a crucial component of learning the craft. Here are a few places to find screenplays online. | | |
Our Daily News
Deadline The single best source for breaking news in the entertainment industry. Founded by the inimitable Nikki Finke and home to her fellow ace film and TV editors Mike Fleming and Nellie Andreeva. Entertainment news and pop culture with a just a hint of celebrity gossip.
Indiewire The leading news, information, and networking site for independent-minded filmmakers, the industry and moviegoers alike. For "Film.Biz.Fans."
Indiewire's The Playlist Blog The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film news, reviews, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more. Founded in 2000 by Rodrigo Perez, now part of the Indiewire family.
LAT's Company Town Hollywood's hometown newspaper's coverage of "the business behind the show."
LAT's Hero Complex Blog A Los Angeles Times blog -- pop culture, unmasked.
Studio System News Provides entertainment trade-news aggregation, analysis and insider viewpoints to the Industry’s top decision makers.
The Hollywood Reporter Read by the most powerful people in the entertainment industry and the most influential consumers who follow it.
THR's Heat Vision Blog Here's an SAT-style analogy: Heat Vision is to THR as Deadline is to Variety.
The Tracking Board Up to the minute updates on specs going to market, selling, partnering and gaining heat, plus an insider's ear on what scripts are slipping around town in search of new writers/cast/producers/financiers/etc.
Variety The premier source of entertainment news since 1905.
Vulture From the team behind New York magazine, for entertainment fans who want a smart, comprehensive take on the world of culture, with wall-to-wall coverage of movies, TV, music and beyond.
3-In-1 Since we're such believers in the power of three (see also: The Spec Scout Score), we created a page that loads Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety in the same screen at the same time. It takes a minute to load, but it's cool.
Key Online Resources
Box Office Mojo The No. 1 box office destination worldwide.
Done Deal Pro Excellent aggregation of film and television script sales and deals made in Hollywood each day, complete with agent, manager and producer contact info and other delightful resources.
IMDb Pro The subscription version of the world's most popular source of movie, TV and celebrity information, designed exclusively for professionals who work in the entertainment industry.
InkTip Helping producers find good scripts and increasing exposure for screenwriters.
Production Weekly A comprehensive breakdown of film and television projects in production, pre-production, preparation, and active development.
Metacritic Metacritic's proprietary Metascore distills the opinions of the most respected critics writing online and in print to a single number.
International Screenwriters' Association Offers screenwriters worldwide a reliable informational resource, a mutual support network and member-only benefits, discounts and industry exposure to improve and create opportunities for a growing career. Membership is free.
Rotten Tomatoes Fresh or rotten, RT sums up what all of the critics have to say about most every movie and DVD.
Scoggins Report Our own terribly unscientific analysis of Hollywood's movie development business.
The Blood List Like The Black List, but limited to horror and dark genre material. Compiled by the inimitable Kailey Marsh and released each year on Halloween.
The Numbers Home of Nash Information Services' "Movie Industry Model," a tool for analyzing the past and future performance of movies, including ancillary revenue through DVD and Blu-ray sales and rentals, TV sales, and foreign revenues.
TrackingB Where film and television executives share and discuss new literary properties hitting the market, writer and director assignments and attachments, the latest exec hires and fires, hot spec screenplay sales, new jobs and other insider industry news.
Wordplay One of the greatest sites on the Internet, full stop. Includes hundreds of essays covering all facets of screenwriting, written by working screenwriters. Collectively, a full course in writing screenplays, from an insider's perspective.
Writers Guild of America, West The online home of the WGA.
Worthwhile Screenwriting Contests
Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting The Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting is the world's most esteemed screenwriting competition. Each year up to five $30,000 fellowships are awarded to authors who have previously earned less than $5,000 writing for film or television. 2013 Submission Deadline: May 1.
Austin Film Festival Screenplay & Teleplay Awards One of the largest screenwriting competitions, and increasingly one of the few that entertainment industry pros use to gauge new voices. Festival dates: October 24-31, 2013. Submission Deadlines: Early -- May 1; Late -- June 1.
Bluecat Screenplay Competition Winner of BlueCat Screenplay Competition awarded $10,000 cash prize, finalists $1,500. Submissions for 2014 competition open June 15, 2013.
Final Draft's Big Break Contest The Big Break screenwriting contest is expressly designed to launch the careers of aspiring writers. Rewards screenwriters with cash, prizes and A-list executive meetings. $30,000 in cash and prizes. 2013 Submission Deadlines: Early Bird - April 30; Standard - July 15; Extended - July 31.
Just Effing Screenwriting Competition 2013 marks the sixth year for Julie Gray's screenwriting competition. 2013 Submission Deadlines: Regular - June 1; Final - June 15; Extended - July 1.
PAGE International Screenwriting Awards Acclaimed by both screenwriters and industry execs, PAGE is one of the top U.S. screenwriting contests, presenting over $50,000 in cash and prizes each year. 2013 Deadline: May 1.
Script Pipeline Screenwriting Contest Script Pipeline's past winners have gone on to enjoy sustained careers as professional screenwriters. 2013 Deadline: May 1.
Scriptapalooza Screenplay Competition Scriptapalooza humblebrags that over 80 producers, managers and agents read all screenplays submitted. Grand Prize is $10,000. 2013 Deadlines: Regular - April 16; Final - April 22.
Slamdance Writing Competition Part of the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Grand Prize (presented by JuntoBox Films) is $10,000 cash and a $50,000 production grant. 2014 Festival Dates: TBA. 2014 Competition Deadlines: Regular - May 13, 2013; Late -- June 25, 2013; WAB Extended - July 2, 2013.
The Tracking Board's "Launch Pad" Screenwriting Competition The Launch Pad is the new kid on the block, but for its inaugural competition in 2013 The Tracking Board assembled an impressive list of active agents and managers as its representative judges. The opportunity to be discovered by one of them is reason enough to submit. 2014 Deadlines: Open for submissions in November 2013.
TrackingB Feature Script Contest TrackingB's become a key screenwriting competition thanks to its finalists' track record for getting signed by agents and managers. 2013 Deadlines: Contest submissions open June 15; Early Deadline - July 28; Late Deadline - September 1; Really Late Deadline - October 27.
Blogs We Dig
A Writer's Life Lee Goldberg writes books and television shows, including books about characters from television shows.
Bamboo Killers Emily Blake, who "write[s] screenplays with lots of fight scenes, generally tell[s] the truth [and] cuss[es] a lot," as she puts it.
…by Ken Levine The Emmy winning writer/director/producer/major league baseball announcer.
Collider "A mix of up-to-the-second links to major stories and bracing original content provided by heavily connected industry insiders."
Complications Ensue Alex Epstein on the craft of writing for tv and movies.
Doug Richardson Everything a writer needs to know about succeeding in hollywood (the stuff they don't teach in film school).
Film School Rejects Serving at the pleasure of the film connoisseur, providing the best reviews, interviews and feature articles.
Filmmaker Magazine The magazine of independent film, and a publication of IFP.
First Showing Our go-to site for the latest trailers, plus movie reviews, interviews, opinions, hype and buzz.
Go Into The Story Daily reflections on screenwriting, movies, Hollywood, and the creative life by screenwriter Scott Myers.
Good In A Room Stephanie Palmer's thoughts on pitching, persuading and selling.
HitFix The movie, music, TV, awards and general entertainment news that fans care about most, without the gossip or celebrity scandal.
Hollywood Elsewhere Jeffrey Wells' daily stream-of-Hollywood-consciousness column, extant since August 2004.
John August The online home of the prolific and powerful writer of stage and screen (both silver and otherwise).
Just Effing Screenwriting coach, consultant and competition proprietor Julie Gray's blog.
Lee Jessup No-nonsense career coaching for the scrappy screenwriter.
Let's Schmooze In which screenwriter Douglas J. Eboch (Sweet Home Alabama) discusses screenwriting technique and analyzes movie scripts.
Screenwriting Tips, You Hack Because you suck at screenwriting, and Xander Bennett is here to help.
Scriptchat The web outpost of the long-running Twitter conversation, through which screenwriters chat, share and learn. "It's not a competition, it's a community."
Script Magazine The new-ish home of the late and lamented print magazine, now a division of The Writers Store.
ScriptShadow Carson Reeves reviews professional screenplays online, helping amateur writers learn directly from those who've already made it.
Scriptwriting in the UK Script Editor/Writer/Director Danny Stack's blog, where he's been giving it to his audience straight since 2005.
Sex In A Submarine The adventures of a professional screenwriter and sometime film festival jurist (William Martell), slogging through the trenches of Hollywood, writing movies that you have never heard of, and getting no respect.
Slashfilm The respected proto-film blog, created by former Cinematical writer Peter Sciretta in 2005.
The Bitter Script Reader The advice and rantings of a Hollywood script reader who's tired of seeing screenwriters make the same mistakes.
The Hot Blog Movie City News blogger David Poland's sandbox.
Screenwriting Podcasts
KCRW's The Business Kim Masters and company's weekly half hour radio show about the business of the business. Each week "The Business" features an analysis of top Hollywood news with John Horn of The Los Angeles Times, in-depth interviews and the occasional feature story.
KCRW's The Treatment Elvis Mitchell's long-running half hour radio interview show, which focuses on directors and writers, whose work Elvis often seems to know better than the guests themselves.
Martini Shot A wry take on the entertainment business and a behind-the-scenes look at life in Hollywood, by titan TV writer/producer Rob Long.
Nerdist Writers Panel An informal chat moderated by Ben Blacker with professional writers about the process and business of writing.
On the Page: Screenwriting Professional script consultant Pilar Alessandra demystifies screenwriting and answers questions about craft and story.
Scriptnotes A-list professional screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin discuss screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters.
The Broken Projector Film School Rejects' podcast, in which screenwriter Geoff LaTulippe and movie critic Scott Beggs dole out interesting angles on movie culture, talk to prominent filmmakers and debate topics of gargantuan importance.
The Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith Jeff Goldsmith's in-depth Q&A sessions with pro screenwriters, most of which take place in front of a live audience following the screening of the writers' latest movie. Includes breaking-in stories, craft and process questions as well as the business side of things.
Screenwriting Forums
Amazon Studios' "The Commissary" Amazon Studios' place to meet up with friends and regulars to catch up, cheer, vent or just share your thoughts.
Done Deal Pro Forums The infamous Done Deal Pro message boards are provided as a free public service for any and all interested in discuss script writing for films and TV.
Scripped In addition to its free online screenwriting tools, Scripped also functions as a screenwriting community.
Talentville The online community that gives a voice to screenwriters everywhere who share the dream of having their work produced.
The Tracking Board Forums An informative, fun, and interactive place for The Tracking Board's industry professional subscribers to communicate and network with one another.
Trigger Street Labs Trigger Street Labs provides a platform for exposure and discovery.
Zoetrope Virtual Studio The Zoetrope Virtual Studio is a submission destination and collaboration tool for filmmakers -- a community where artists can meet, polish their craft, and perhaps get their stories published, their screenplays produced, their music heard by a wide audience.