I’m always on the lookout for great resources to help me improve as a screenwriter. Over the past few years, I’ve come across a few resources that I go back to again and again.
Scriptnotes is a weekly podcast hosted by Hollywood screenwriters John August (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Big Fish) and Craig Mazin (Identity Thief and The Huntsman: Winter’s War). August introduces each episode of Scriptnotes as “a podcast about screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters.” August and Mazin alone make the show fun and interesting as they share many of their experiences in screenwriting, as well as their frustrations with the filmmaking industry at times. Each episode usually focuses on a particular element of screenwriting, such as formatting, dialogue, etc. August and Mazin also frequently have screenwriting guests on the show, one of my favorites being a live interview with Lawrence Kasdan where he talks about writing Raiders of the Lost Ark and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
John August, the aforementioned host of Scriptnotes, also hosts a blog for screenwriters at johnaugust.com. In addition to posting the weekly recordings and transcripts of Scriptnotes, August offers reviews on products, answers screenwriting questions, and keep readers informed about important happenings in the screenwriting world.
Go Into the Story is a screenwriting blog run by Scott Myers (K-9). GITS provides screenwriting tips and interviews with working screenwriters in Hollywood.
Screenwriting.io is the first place I go to when I have any questions about formatting a screenplay. This site is run by John August as well and has a wealth of information on how to handle almost any formatting issue.
The Anatomy of Story by John Truby is easily the book I’ve learned the most about storytelling from. Truby walks readers through the process of creating a story organically, from developing a solid story premise to creating compelling characters to building a dependable story structure to writing scenes that make your story memorable. It’s a book I turn back to often as I’m working on a story because the tips inside are always relevant to what I’m working on.
Save the Cat by Blake Snyder is one of the most-read books on screenwriting and is loved by many and probably hated by just as many. Snyder, the late screenwriter of the Disney movie Blank Check, outlines a formula that he believes is perfect for writing a great movie. Whether or not you adhere to Snyder’s idea of story structure, his fifteen beats outlined in the book are helpful mile markers as you’re working your way through your story.
Weekend Read is an iOS app that allows users to read Fountain, PDF, and Final Draft files on their iPhone or iPad. The great things about Weekend Read is that it formats any of those file types into a reader-friendly experience for small screens. There’s no need to zoom into a PDF file to read what’s on the screen. The app resizes everything for you in a reader-friendly format, so all you have to do is read, and if you want to keep improving as a screenwriter, reading and learning from great screenplays is vital.
These are just a few of my favorite screenwriting resources. I’d love to hear about yours as well. Please share in the comments below.