What many screenwriters don’t know is that there is a goldmine of information on the web that can up their game. The Hollywood industry is tough to break into, but if you just follow the advice of these that come before you, it gets a lot easier.
Here is a list of the 101 best, FREE, resources out there on the web that are available to you. Anything on this list will help you achieve your goal of becoming the screenwriter that you want to be.
If you need help writing your script, then here are your answers. Yeah, they might not be all screenwriting related, but they will definitely take your script up a notch. Use them to your advantage in order to make your script stand out amongst the tons of scripts that DON’T take advantage of these free tools.
The name says it all! Make sure you’re using the right word at the right time to get your message across.
Tired of using the same old words like “looks” or “walks?” Thesaurus.com will help you figure out of your look is more a “glance” and if “strolls” fits your walk better.
3. ScreenCraft Screenplay Registry (registry.screencraft.org)
Registering your script with the U.S. Copyright Office isn’t the easiest of tasks. Luckily, ScreenCraft has developed a special website to help streamline the process. They offer a lot of free information on the process and what needs to be done by cutting through the legalities.
4. Common Errors in English Usage (brians.wsu.edu/common-errors)
Professor Paul Brians of Washington State University has compiled the ultimate list of common errors that writers make in their work. Want to find out, “for all intensive purposes,” if “your” on the list? Find out “hear.”
5. The Library of Congress (loc.gov)
Need some sort of reference on something? Yeah, they got it. All of it. Anything you need, the Library of Congress has it. What most people don’t know is that they have a massive, searchable, database online.
6. Wikipedia (wikipedia.org)
Yeah, anyone can change it, but it’s still very relevant for research purposes. Interesting side-note: If you click “random article” on the left-hand side, you can find yourself in front of a great story to mine for screenwriting gold.
7. Infoplease (infoplease.com)
What Wikipedia doesn’t do, info please does. It’s an atlas, an almanac, a biographical source and a world encyclopedia. Having facts and figures that can be backed up in your script, lends to its legitimacy.
8. Urban Dictionary (urbandictionary.com)
Not sure what the kids are sayin’ these days? Or, more importantly, have no idea what they mean? Just head here. Just remember that “with great power, comes great responsibility.” So make sure you use these words with care.
9. Name Generator (namegenerator.biz)
Need a name for your awesome protagonist? Well, here’s your definitive source. This generator does it all, from the first name to the last name. They can even help you with coming up with a pseudonym.
10. Internet Movie Firearms Database (imfdb.org)
Writing an action script and want to be specific? Ever wonder what gun Rambo uses at the end of First Blood? Wanna know what rests in Lara Croft’s holsters? This database has it all. Searchable by movie, character, actor and even by the writer!
Musicians listen to music. Authors read books. So it would make sense that screenwriters would read scripts, right? Wrong. Many don’t when they clearly should. The internet is a great source to find screenplays to read.
To be fair though, some discretion needs to be had. Read with a grain of salt. Older scripts tend to have techniques and methods that just aren’t used anymore. Other scripts are “shooting scripts” which is more about production and less about the art of screenwriting. Thus, they’re not prime examples of a script format that sells.
Read each script with a grain of salt and adhere to the rules of screenwriting that gets promoted from, well, everyone.
I should note two things: First, there aren’t any descriptions because a lot of these are the same. If you’re looking for a script and can’t find it on one, try the next and so on. Second, every year there are a multitude of sites that post the screenplays that are up for an Academy Award. These are straight from the studios and are usually the polished draft that gets greenlit. I would highly suggest looking out for those and reading every script you can.
11. The Internet Movie Script Database (IMSDb.com)
12. Screenplays-Online (screenplays-online.de)
13. Go Into the Story (gointothestory.blcklst.com)
14. The Script Lab Screenplay Library (thescriptlab.com/screenplays)
15. Simply Scripts (simplyscripts.com)
16. AwesomeFilm (awesomefilm.com)
17. Screenplays For You (sfy.ru)
18. The Daily Script (dailyscript.com)
19. The Screenplay Database (screenplaydb.com)
20. Movies Scripts and Screenplays (moviescriptsandscreenplays.com)
It’s a true fact that your script can easily get tossed out due to its format. Doesn’t matter if you have the next best picture or big tentpole blockbuster. If your script isn’t written right, then you’re screwed. To be honest, in this day and age, there’s really no excuse for it anymore. There are so many options for writers to have proper screenplay format.
Here’s a list of FREE software that will ensure that your script doesn’t find the bottom of the trash bin just for the way it looks on the page.
21. Writer Duet (writerduet.com)
This is the ultimate screenwriting application for anyone who writes with a partner or has any form of collaboration. Writer Duet lets you and your partner work on the script at the same time, each being able to see what the other is doing all in real-time! Of course, it also works just great if you tend to stick to writing on your own.
22. Celtx (celtx.com)
If Final Draft is the granddaddy of paid software, Celtx is the granddaddy of the free software. In fact, it’s been around so long that current versions of the software have come pretty close to what’s expected in terms of “industry standard.” Definitely can’t go wrong with Celtx.
23. Story Touch (storytouch.com)
The free version of Story Touch provides basic screenwriting tools much like what the other programs on this list do. What’s interesting about Story Touch is that, if you upgrade to the paid version (which comes at a VERY hefty price) the creators claim you’ll be allowed to get a deeper analysis of your script like no other. From the script’s tone to your character’s arc. Definitely, try the trial version before you even think about upgrading.
24. DubScript (dubscript.com)
An Android-only app, Dubstep allows you to write wherever and whenever you want on your Android device. The best part is that is can export in most major software formats from Final Draft files to Celtx files.
25. Page 2 Stage (page2stage.com)
Page 2 Stage is free screenwriting but there is NO longer any form of support so use at your own risk. The website is a little vague, but to be fair, it IS an option that’s out there.
26. Amazon Storywriter (storywriter.amazon.com)
Storywriter is a completely free, online, screenwriting software option. You can use any mobile device but will require an internet connection as they have discontinued their offline apps. Their one advantage is that they make it easier to submit your script to Amazon Studios.
27. Trelby (trelby.org)
Only available for Windows and Linux, Trelby is fully free, open-sourced screenwriting software. That means that should you have a feature that will make the program better, you can send in your suggestions.
28. Fountain (fountain.io)
Fountain isn’t really screenwriting software per se. Partially developed by John August, Fountain allows you to write a script in plain text (using any form of writing you can imagine from an email to a plain text editor) and then import that plain text document into most Fountain supportive apps (many on this list) to properly format your screenplay.
29. Final Draft Reader (in the App store)
Reader won’t allow you to create a screenplay, but it will let you share and read .FDX files. The best part is that it will let you make notes on your script while on the go. It’s a must if you do everything on your iPad.
30. Grammarly (grammarly.com)
This is less a piece of software and more of an addition to your current software. Grammarly analyzes your writing for mistakes beyond spelling. It focuses on grammar and punctuation, offering suggestions on how to improve your writing. It works on all devices.
If you want to learn about screenwriting, who better than to learn from than the people you’d want to call your peers?! All of these screenwriters offer a ton of great information whether lessons that are directly given to you OR just through their rants about dealing with the business. All of which are great lessons to learn.
Some of them even put their own screenplays online for you to read. You’ll be able to read early drafts and future drafts to compare the differences. A homework assignment I would strongly suggest every up-and-coming screenwriting wannabe do.
31. John August (johnaugust.com)
John August is the gold standard of screenwriter blogs. Started in the early days of blogging, August grew tired of answering the same questions over and over from new screenwriters. To better help him (and you), he decided to put the definitive answers all in one place. Thus his site was born and it’s literally an encyclopedia of screenwriting wealth.
32. Script Shadow (scriptshadow.net)
Carson Reeves has been around for a long time and his site, from day one, has been vital to any screenwriter. One of the more unique features of Carson’s site is that he often hosts “Amateur Offerings” which, if he finds your script worthy enough, he’ll promote it for free and trust me, when he does, the industry pays attention.
33. Adelaide Screenwriter (adelaidescreenwriter.blogspot.ca)
Australian screenwriter Henry Sheppard offers a lot of great insight into, not only story and structure but into pitching and navigating the business.
34. Doug Richardson (dougrichardson.com/category/blog/)
Bad Boys and Die Hard 2 screenwriter, Doug Richardson, has a slew of blog posts that can help screenwriters, not only improve their writing but improve their life. After all, writing is not only sitting at the keyboard typing. It’s also about living life.
35. Ken Levine (kenlevine.blogspot.ca)
Emmy-winning writer/producer, Ken Levine is a veteran in the industry and has a bunch of knowledge and stories from his time in the industry. He also has a great podcast, Hollywood & Levine, that new writers should be listening to.
36. Terry Rossio (wordplayer.com)
Simply put, this site gives away secrets. Professional secrets. From working screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio.
37. Geoff LaTulippe (geofflatulippe.com)
I’m not going to lie, Geoff is kind of an angry guy, but that’s why I love him so. He offers insights into the business and screenwriting itself with a more snarky tone. Sure, he might be a bit of an acquired taste but the thing I love about Geoff is that he keeps it 100, 100% of the time.
38. Complications Ensue (complicationsensue.blogspot.ca)
Working screenwriter and author Alex Epstein’s blog is a great resource for writers who want to see the inner working of a real working writer. Alex offers his opinions on everything from the nuts and bolts of writing to industry news to things like motion capture.
39. Danny Stack (dannystack.com)
UK screenwriter and director, Danny Stack, has a lot of great information from a working perspective. Having one foot in the directing world allows him to talk about a script from a budgeting standpoint. He, like others, also has a podcast that is a great listen for writer’s who want to direct their own scripts.
40. The Flying Wrestler (flyingwrestler.com)
Working screenwriter Erik Bork has a lot of great takes on common questions that screenwriters ask. Questions like writing outside of LA and writing a mini-series on spec. He also goes in depth on a lot of common issues for burgeoning screenwriters.
SCREENPLAY WRITING 101
If you’re going to go from a weekend warrior screenwriter to a fully fledged professional one, you’re gonna need to learn your craft. Everything from the structure to character, to formatting basics. Lacking in any of these areas are going to stop you before you even get in the door.
While most people take classes or buy books, there are actually a lot of great, free, websites that will help you learn the art of screenwriting. Here are ten of the best.
41. The Script Lab (thescriptlab.com)
There’s no shortage of writing resources at The Script Lab. Interviews, chats with women in music, inside information about on-set tweaks that changed a script and a whole section on basic screenplay education.
42. TSL 360 3-Day Free Trial (360.thescriptlab.com)
Try out a free trial to the LARGEST screenwriting education content library and learn from the best! Featuring masterclasses, deep-dive interviews and lectures from Academy Award-winning screenwriters, TV writers, producers, agents, executives - all in one place.
43. The Story Department (thestorydepartment.com)
The Story Department is a great place to dives into all aspects of screenwriting. From story and structure to polishing to pitching. They don’t stop there they even have a great section for support and training should you need more help with your script.
44. Your Screenplay Sucks! (yourscreenplaysucks.wordpress.com)
I’m not going to lie, William Akers not only changed my life, but he’s also my hero. Sure, the title of his site (and book) is a turn off to a lot of sensitive writers out there, but ignoring the snarky title and listening to what he has to say will make you a better writer and make your scripts stand out amongst the 99% of scripts in this town that… well… “sucks.”
45. The Bitter Script Reader (thebitterscriptreader.blogspot.com)
Can’t figure out why your script can’t seem to make it past the gatekeepers? The Bitter Script Reader can tell you why. They’ve made a career out of reading scripts and have seen every mistake known to the human race. Go to their site and find out if you’re shooting yourself in the foot before you even get it in the door. Oh yeah, and NO, they won’t read your script… so don’t ask.
46. Good in a Room (goodinaroom.com)
Run by Stephanie Palmer, Good in a Room has everything from How to Write a Screenplay all the way through to the age-old question: How do I sell a Screenplay? Good in a Room covers it all and continues to deliver great insight into the industry.
47. Story Sense (storysense.com/format.htm)
Need a screenplay format guide that covers just about everything? Well, here ya go! This guide has everything and more. Need to know how to write a montage or how to properly format a telephone call? Story sense will tell you how to do it.
48. No Film School (nofilmschool.com)
Want to go to film school but don’t want to pay that obscene tuition? Here’s your answer! No Film School gives you everything you need from coming up with an idea to filming it to selling your film for distribution. It’s an all-encompassing place for film without a lifetime of school loan debt.
49. Screenwriting Info (screenwriting.info)
Screenwriting info is an e-book that takes you chapter-by-chapter, step-by-step to writing a script. It’s a fast read and covers just the basics but it’s more than enough to get you through a first draft. Especially if it’s your first attempt at writing a script.
When you’ve done everything you’ve need to to get your first draft on the page and you’re still hitting a brick wall, you might need to contact a professional. Someone that can help you take your script over the finish line. While a lot of consultants don’t come cheap, they do offer a lot of free information on their websites.
There are a lot of consultants out there, but only a few really have a foothold on the screenwriting business. They’re almost as well known as the screenwriters who are currently working in the industry. Regardless of your opinion of script consultants, they’re a spoke on the screenwriting industry wheel.
50. Lee Jessup (leesessup.com)
A veteran in the consultant industry, Lee offers a lot of great advice in both screenwriting and starting your career as a screenwriter. She’s not about the sale, she would rather set you up for script SALES.
51. Robert McKee (mckeestory.com)
Robert McKee, A Fulbright Scholar, is the most sought after screenwriting lecturer around the globe. He has dedicated the last 30 years to educating and mentoring screenwriters, novelists, playwrights, poets, documentary makers, producers, and directors internationally.
52. Ruth Atkinson (ruthatkinson.com)
Ruth’s blog offers a lot of great advice on taking your script to the next level. A consultant and story editor, Ruth’s focus is on making sure your story and characters make the biggest impact they can.
53. Jen Grisanti (jengrisanti.com)
Step inside the mind of an entertainment executive who recognizes success and can help you achieve it. While Jen charge's for her consulting, her website has a blog and multiple resources and tips for screenwriters.
54. Big Ideas (bigideas.com)
Home to Barri Evans, Big Ideas (and Barri) of a ton of resources to help screenwriters achieve their goals. Not only does she help with your script, but she looks at your career as a whole.
55. Script Reader Pro (scriptreaderpro.com)
Script Reader Pro not only offers coverage services but a lot of free “hacks” on their blog that will help better your script. They also have a lot of other great information like their top screenwriting books to read and best contests to enter.
56. Script Butcher (scriptbutcher.com)
The Script Butcher blog is a wonderful resource that shows you a lot of dos and don'ts for your script, including scene construction and exposition.
57. Industrial Scripts (screenplayscripts.com)
Started by a former studio executive, Industrial Scripts is a great place to find real, behind-the-scenes information. They know how Hollywood works and isn’t afraid to share it.
58. Write So Fluid (writesofluid.com)
Run by Michelle Goode, her site has a lot of great advice and educational articles on bettering your screenplays. There are a lot of great “best of” lists, that break down your needs in simple form.
GENERAL SCREENWRITING WEBSITES
There are obviously a lot of free resources that focus on specific areas of screenwriting. Those aside, there are also a lot of free websites that try to encompass EVERYTHING about screenwriting. Consultants, interviews, blogs, education, podcast… you name it, they’ve got it.
Here’s a list of some of the best general websites that are out there for screenwriting.
59. ScriptMag (scriptmag.com)
If you need it, ScriptMag has it. Formally the industry-leading magazine “Script,” it’s now an online home to everything screenwriting. Some of the world’s leading experts in the craft of screenwriting contribute to ScriptMag on a monthly basis. All free for your consumption.
60. Indiewire (indiewire.com)
If you want to know what’s happening in the indie-film world than Indiewire is the place to go. They offer a lot of information to, not only screenwriters but independent filmmakers. There’s also a slew of interviews and resources to help make your indie film.
61. ScreenCraft (screencraft.org)
ScreenCraft’s model is unique and kind of genius. Many of their blog posts keep you on track to getting your script done and polished, ready to send out. Their blog also has a lot of great information to make the process a lot easier.
62. LA Screenwriter (la-screenwriter.com)
Started by freelance writer and screenwriter, Angela Bourassa, LA Screenwriter’s goal is to give as much information to an aspiring screenwriter all in one place. Want advice? Need coverage? Want to know what’s happening in LA? LA Screenwriter is a one-stop shopping trip.
63. WeScreenplay (wescreenplay.com)
WeScreenplay is known for its affordable, quick-turnaround script feedback and its Diverse Voices Competition, but it also has a very informative blog.
64. Script Pipeline (scriptpipeline.com)
Script Pipeline is not only a competition “must enter” and a script notes service, they also offer interviews, essential reading and news on script sales.
65. Go Into The Story (gointothestory.blcklst.com)
The official blog of The Blacklist not only gives you an annual list of the best, unproduced scripts but gives you a lot of information/education that will better your chances on getting your script ON that list.
66. Creative Screenwriting (creativescreenwriting.com)
Another, now defunct magazine, turned online resource, Creative Screenwriting has interviews, articles, reviews and columns. It’s everything a screenwriter needs, all in one place.
67. Gotham Writers Resource List (writingclasses.com/toolbox/reading-lists)
The Gotham Resource list has just about everything you need to know about every form of writing. All of it is broken down into specific categories and is easily navigable.
68. The Writers Store (writersstore.com)
The former brick and mortar Mecca for writers closed its doors late in 2017, but it still exists in digital form. Along with just about everything you would ever need for every type of writing that exists, they also offer blog posts with helpful information on writing and even tech support on common products like Final Draft and Writer Duet.
69. YouTube (youtube.com/results?search_query=screenwriting)
YouTube CAN teach you just about everything. From fixing a kitchen sink to writing a screenplay. Sure, it might not be a conventional place to find screenwriting tips, but there are hundreds of VERY useful videos that will help you craft a great screenplay.
NETWORKING IN HOLLYWOOD
The actual writing of the screenplay, believe it or not, is the easy part. It’s also about 40% of the job. The rest of it is nothing more than straight up networking and marketing. Seeking yourself as much as selling your screenplay. THAT’S the hard part. So how do you get your foot in the door? You start by building your network out and to do that, you have to meet people in real life, face-to-face. Luckily there are a slew of events that happen in Hollywood every week, you just need to know how to find them.
70. The WGA (wga.org)
The writer’s guild has a wealth of information, both on its site and at its location in Hollywood. Their script library is mind-blowing and completely free to the public. All you have to do is go. Their site also keeps track of events and screenings that benefit writers.
71. The PGA (producersguild.org)
Hanging out with your peers is one thing, but how about hanging out with the people that can actually hire you? The Producer’s Guild has a bunch of info that can benefit anyone but the key to screenwriters is the event calendar.
72. Meetup (meetup.com)
Looking for a local writer’s group to provide the feedback you need to improve your script? Maybe you just want to get a drink with your peers in the industry. Either way, Meetup is the place to do it.
73. Eventbrite (eventbrite.com)
More formal events and screenings can be found on Eventbrite. Many of the screenings and events have to have formal RSVP’s for head counts and they’re usually limited to a certain number of people. That’s why studios and companies use Eventbrite, to keep track of the number of people they potentially have coming.
74. AdvanceScreenings (advancescreenings.com)
Want to try and win tickets to a premiere or a special early screening of a Hollywood flick? Here’s the place to do it! This will give you a free opportunity to rub elbows with the film’s writers, directors and maybe even its stars.
75. Done Deal Professional (donedealpro.com)
This is a great place to find out what’s going on in Hollywood. Not only from a news point of view but from a “what’s happening on the street” point of view. There are endless message boards that talk about people and services in the industry from a first-hand perspective. Keep in mind you’re going to have to talk a lot of what’ said with a grain of salt, but if you’re looking to spend money on a consultant or send your script to a specific agent, Done Deal Pro will help you scope them out before you do.
76. The UTA Joblist (anonymousproductionassistant.com/uta-joblist/)
This is one of the best kept, non-secrets in Hollywood. It’s a list of all of the current jobs available in Hollywood. It’s free to access and most production companies post there looking for interns and readers. The UTA job list os how I got my first job in the industry…working for an Oscar-winning producer. A job that led to many years in script development as an executive and got me to writing this list for you.
77. Craigslist (losangeles.craigslist.org/d/tv-film-video-radio/search/tfr)
The UTA job list is your BEST chances of literally getting your foot in the door of a production company, but there are other ways and Craigslist is the alternative. WARNING: While I know many people that have gotten great jobs via Craigslist, I’ve also heard a lot of horror stories. Use your best judgment and remember: if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn't.
78. The LA Film Festival (filmindependent.org/jobs/)
One of the best things you can do to rub elbows and meet a lot of influential people, is attend the LA Film Festival. While it’s expensive to attend, what most people don’t know is that they’re always looking for volunteers. Volunteers get access to everything and will often allow you to make a lot of great networking connections. Even if you don’t live in LA, but plan on coming out, I would highly suggest looking into spending your LA trip (or making a trip out here) to work the festival.
79. The Tracking Board (tracking-board.com)
Hollywood's premiere source for insider news and exclusives, tracking, analysis and coverage on all things film, television and entertainment. Home to the most robust spec market tracking, in development coverage, annual best lists, reviews, reports, opinions and daily news as it happens.
80. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce (business.hollywoodchamber.net/events)
Every city has a chamber of commerce that has monthly events (google the city + chamber of commerce). I chose Hollywood’s for this list because they also maintain the Walk of Fame and the Hollywood Sign, so their events are a little more “industry-centric.” Most events are free to attend and a lot of individuals who work in the industry attend. It’s a smart way to get in the room with some important people, just make sure you dress and act like you belong there.
Podcasts offer a plethora of information for young up-and-coming screenwriters. There are so many that it was hard to keep the list down to just ten. If you’re serious about being in this business, then you owe it to yourself to learn as much as you can. These podcasts ARE your film school, so learn as much as you can from the people that have come before you.
81. The Q&A (theqandapodcast.com)
Host Jeff Goldsmith’s podcast is the grandfather of screenwriting podcasts. Every episode has Jeff sitting down with an A-list screenwriter for an in-depth interview that includes their background, their process and how they got their start in the industry.
82. Scriptnotes (scriptnotes.net)
Hosts John August and Craig Mazin are both powerhouses in the screenwriting world and they provide a wealth of knowledge for free. Their blunt and honest discussions cover a variety of topics from navigating the business, their views of screenwriting software and their “love” for script consultants.
83. On the Page (onthepage.tv)
Host Pilar Alessandra is one of the premier consultants in the industry and her podcast covers everything you need to know from feature and TV writing to pitching to networking.
84. Black List Table Reads (blcklst.com/podcast)
Ever wonder it sounded like to have professional actors read a screenplay out loud? Well, you can find out by listening to the table reads podcast. While it officially ended in 2017, there’s still a plethora of episodes to binge through.
85. Draft Zero: a screenwriting podcast (draft-zero.com)
Hosts Chas Fisher and Stuart Willis dive into discovering what really makes a screenplay work. They talk, discuss and sometimes even argue over a deep analysis of the things that make a successful writer’s script work.
86. The Selling Your Screenplay Podcast (sellingyourscreenplay.com/podcasts)
Host Ashley Scott Meyers has a bevy of interviews with indie filmmakers and consultants.
87. The Writers Panel (nerdist.com/podcasts/nerdist-writers-panel-channel)
Host and moderator Ben Blacker sits down with some of the industry’s top screenwriters in both movies and TV. Some episodes are specific film-related with the writer, director, and cast while others pull screenwriters from several different TV shows and movies to talk about a specific topic.
88. Save the Cat! (http://www.savethecat.com/category/podcasts)
Even though legendary screenwriter and producer, Blake Snyder, unfortunately, left us suddenly in 2009, his legacy lives on. The STC “podcat” covers in-depth topics like theme, structure beats and even has a sprinkling of interviews with theatrically distributed screenwriters.
89. Hilliard Guess’ Screenwriters Rant Room (facebook.com/screenwritersrr)
Are you ready to hear the blunt truth about working as a screenwriter in Hollywood? Welcome to the rant room, where screenwriter/producer, Hilliard Guess, harshly prepares you to be successful in this crazy industry. Not for the thinly skinned screenwriter.
90. Breakin’ in! (breakinginthebiz.com)
Hosts Manny Fonseca (Hey wait! That’s me!) and Cheryl Diffin chat truthfully about everything going on in the industry, common writer mistakes, interviews with managers, producers, stand up comics and actors. Unfortunately, there haven’t been any new episodes in a few years, but there is still a ton of great tips for new writers.
91. The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter Podcast (https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/topic/awards-chatter-podcast)
If you want an in-depth look into the business, there’s no better podcast to listen to. While it’s not directly associated with wiring, there are interviews with writers on the podcast. Either way, each interview will help you understand the industry just a little bit more.
92. The ID10T Podcast (VARIOUS LOCATIONS)
Formally known as the Nerdist Podcast, host Chris Hardwick sits down and has an hour long+ conversation with a mass variety of industry professionals. To be fair, you might have to extrapolate some of the lessons and apply them to the field of writing, but I promise that they’re there. Don’t believe me? Try listening to Hardwick’s interview with wrestler/actor John Cena. You’ll never get a more motivational speech from him talking about his experience in the WWE. It’s worth your time.
This list hardly scratches the surface of resources that are available to you, the writer. Here are some other avenues to help you become a successful screenwriter in Hollywood.
93. Your Local Library
Remember those? Believe it or not, they still exist and they’re chalked full of helpful resources all the low low price of a free library card. Most libraries will carry at least the basic screenwriting books and, if they have a good reference section, they’ll also carry the Hollywood Screenwriting Directory, which has everything you need to know to start sending out queries to companies.
94. Twitter (twitter.com)
Believe it or not, Twitter is a great source for screenwriting tips. Most consultants use it to promote their services, screenwriters use it to “drop some knowledge” and companies like ScriptMag hosts #scriptchat most Sundays. There’s never a shortage of screenwriting discussions, rants and information on Twitter.
95. Deadline (deadline.com)
While it might seem obvious, you’re going to have to know what’s going on in this town if you want to be a part of this town. At the end of every major signing, all of the Hollywood news outlets will mention who a writer’s reps are. Learn the manager names and what agencies they work for. Deadline is good for the day to day stories that are happening in the moment.
96. The Hollywood Reporter (hollywoodreporter.com)
While THR is good for the in-the-moment news stories, what they really do well are the longer exposés. During the awards season, their roundtable discussions with writers, actors and directors are full of insight into the business.
97. Variety (variety.com)
One of the best sources for what’s happening in Hollywood. They might not be as in-depth as THR, but they are the most widely read in town. Every writer should know what Variety is reporting, especially at networking events.
98. Internet Movie Database (imdb.com)
Regular, ‘ole IMDB is a lifesaver when it comes to researching the details of movies that have come before, hopefully, yours. Who starred in what? Who wrote what? More importantly, you can also find budgets, although you should take those numbers with a grain of salt.
99. IMDbPro Free Trial (pro.imdb.com)
If you’re getting ready to send your script out, sign up for the free trial of IMDbPro. With your trial run, you can get all of the same information as IMDB but also add managers, agents and their contact info. This will greatly help you on your quest for success.
100. Box Office Mojo (boxofficemojo.com)
When you’re getting ready to put your package together to help promote your script, you’re going to need facts and figures to help make your case. Box Office Mojo is the place to get that info. You can do things like create a sheet of all of the top directors in a certain genre, that had movies in a certain year with a budget under 5 million that had a box office gross of over 10. It’s things like this that will make you a whiz in meetings when they ask you “who do you see directing this?”
101. Google (google.com)
Yeah, look... I get it, this is a bit of a cheat, but not really. This list barely scratches the surface of information that’s out there for you to find on writing, networking, Hollywood in general and anything else you can possibly look for. All you have to do is know what to search for and have some patience.
It’s also great for research. I know, duh, right? But do you know how often I find a “fact” in a script that takes me less than a minute to debunk using Google? Do you also know, that as a reader, how much that angers me? It’s not hard to get things right, just Google some sh—stuff.
The world is literally at your fingertips. Take the time to learn and get better. There’s really no excuse for the poor quality of a script when all of these resources are right there for you… for free. Do the work before you send your script out and you can easily make yourself stand out as a professional, even if it’s your first script.
I promise you, the people that will read your script, will greatly appreciate it and appreciate YOU.