The 3 Best Books for Screenplay Writing will provide you enough ammunition to get started, and should also help you throughout the course of your career. But books don’t address one critical requirement – the need for social input, sharing and feedback. That is what the web does well.
In the last few years I’ve frequented many scriptwriting websites for screenwriters. Some of them are a total waste of time, while others offer excellent peer support – advice that you can take seriously in the search for constant improvement. In today’s world, short of being coached by a master screenwriter, this is the best that can be done.
This article lists the best resources a screenwriter can ask for. Rather than stuff it with every resource I can think of, I will only focus on the websites that have worked for me.
Here are 5 websites that will serve you well:
How do you format a feature-length screenplay before submitting to various fellowships, competitions and programs? This resource explains it all. It lists best practices, foibles and even offers a sample PDF document that shows you how it’s done. When I started writing scripts in 2000, I used this resource to learn my formatting.
If you only wanted to spend your time on one site, then this is it. It has great advice on every aspect of screenplay writing. And that’s not all. You can even read scripts in various formats – movie, television, plays, radio, animation, treatments, etc. It also has a healthy discussion board (forum). Really, you don’t need anything else.
I’ve used this website to read scripts. I’ve also submitted a couple of first drafts and received excellent feedback. The quality of the readers and writers are pretty high, and you need to bring your A-game here. There is one downside, though I don’t know to what extent it is one – once you submit a script they keep the rights for a certain time, and reserves the right to option or purchase it if they decide to take it into production. I don’t use this site anymore, so please check directly to see if their terms have changed. It may have.
The ultimate tool to collect your thoughts and ideas. Sync everything to the cloud or your hard drive, and carry your ideas everywhere.
Celtx offers many tools, of which I’ve used the storyboarding tool. The screenwriting app works perfectly well for screenplays, and it is free. If you can’t afford Final Draft, or don’t need all its features, then this one’s for you.
That’s it. In the end, I believe there always comes a time when you stop exploring or testing new tools, and start writing. If you’re serious about your writing career, you’re going to do a lot of writing, and that’s where you should focus your energy.
I hope this small list has given you the tools you need to be more efficient in your work. If you know of any resources that I haven’t listed, but are worth checking out, please list them in the comments section. Knowing the nature of the web, I wouldn’t be surprised if better resources pop up every now and then!