Christmas is just a few days away, but if you’re a last-minute shopper (like me), here are some presents you might buy the screenwriter in your life, even if that screenwriter is yourself. We’ll start with the most basic/cheapest and work our way up.
Despite the name, this space pen is actually useful for non-astronauts. It can write at any angle on any surface at any altitude in any climate. It even works underwater! Maybe an idea strikes you during a thunderstorm or in the shower and you have to write on a wet surface — this pen can handle that!
An excellent pairing with the space pen, these notebooks allow you to write in humid climates and in thunderstorms. Perhaps you’re clumsy and you always drop your notebook in puddles. Maybe you always get your best ideas in the shower. This pen and notebook combo will serve your every need!
So you’ve got your writing utensils, but what do you write? It can help to go back to Aristotle, the granddaddy of all storytelling teachers. This book is almost 2,500 years old, but is still relevant to this day. All screenwriting books trace their roots right back here. Mr. Stotle uses short, declarative sentences to explain his do’s and don’t’s of the theater. It’s a short read at 144 pages, including extensive notes by the translator.
The other patriarch of screenwriting books — since its release in 1949, Campbell’s book has influenced countless writers and movies–most notably Star Wars–with its delineation of the Hero’s Journey, those mythical storytelling beats that all resonant stories pass through. Those who read it nowadays may be surprised that Mr. Campbell thought of his Journey not just as a storytelling philosophy, but as a life philosophy, with each human life passing through metaphorical cycles of birth and death. As opposed to Aristotle, Mr. Campbell uses a very poetic style that may be difficult for some to get through, but those who do will feel rewarded.
Looking for something a little more modern? While it has been embraced and rejected by many leading screenwriters, this book is still one of the most influential works on the subject. Look no further than Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat! Blake uses simple, funny prose that anyone can read. Some may think he focuses too much on boxoffice returns, but it’s good to know the rules of the blockbuster before you break them.
So now you’ve got your outline and you’re ready to write. Final Draft has been an industry standard for years, but Celtx is significantly less expensive and it’s collaborative. This book can help you master it.
How can you install such great software without a computer? Get a Macbook Pro and be done with it! The Macbook Pro has set the standard for functional, beautiful laptop. The sharp retina display will help keep your eyes fresh and focused during those late night writing sessions. It’s also powerful enough to handle video editing, if you’re like many DIY filmmakers.
The iPad Air takes portable to a whole new level. You can always make time to write with this slim, extremely light-weight tablet. Celtx also offers a suite of iOS apps for screenwriters and filmmakers.
What other gifts would your screenwriter want? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter!
Happy Holidays to one and all!