Monday, December 19, 2011

More On Screenwriting

Though I suspect we've all had days like this, writing doesn't need to be something we fear.
Last week I wrote about a few excellent books that people interested in writing scripts could read to help them with their craft.  There are many other resources out there that can help people interested becoming better writers, too.  Be sure to check out the Writers Guild of America site--it has all sorts of industry news and information that may be helpful for a career in writing.

If you want to learn more about television writing, you might want to check out Lee Thomson's blog.  In it, you'll find access to different movie pilots, which are invaluable as sources to help one figure out what makes a good television script.  Pilots have to be good, or they don't get picked up by the networks!  Also, TVWriter.com is a handy site.  Yes, it does shill workshops and seminars, but there are great message boards and other resources there, too.  I clicked on some of the topics and found links to all sorts of helpful stuff.

If you want to learn more about the craft of writing film scripts, reading many many scripts is also recommended, just as it is recommended to read TV pilots and other television scripts if you want to write for television.  Script Fly has many film scripts available for a charge.  Script Fly also has scene study and analysis, and resources and links to articles on screenwriting.  You can also find free copies of film scripts here, here, here, and here.  (I almost didn't finish writing this blog because my attention was hijacked by reading the bloody beginning of the Conan script on IMSDb.)  I discovered that the simply scripts site also has copies of TV scripts and film treatments, among other things.

This is a useful site with lots of information on the craft of writing scripts.  It talks about all the different elements of what makes a good script:  plot, pacing, dialogue, characters, structure, etc.  Also, Script Magazine and Hollywood Scriptwriter are good resources, too.  Not just for how-to's on good writing, but for the industry, as well.

Writing groups are very helpful, but exceedingly tricky.  I say it's tricky, because it is hard to find a group of writers who are of as good or better caliber than you, who understands the genre/type of film or TV you prefer to write for, who have schedules that mesh, who are dedicated to the group, who will be punctual and turn in work (both their own and their critiques) on time, who have thick skins and won't start crying when you give hard to hear but necessary criticism, and who have tact, yet have no problems letting you have all the bad news.  

I've discovered a number of wonderful blogs and suggestions on how to create the perfect writing group.  while Holly Lisle is aiming more toward novelists, her advice is just as apropos to screenwriters.  LindaJM is talking novels, too, but she has some suggestions for bringing the group online.  At the end of the article there are some more helpful links, too.  Bryan Fields talks about how you can use a writer's group to benefit you.  Again, what goes for novelists here bennies-wise is still very valid for scriptwriters.  At keepwriting.com, they have a list of many screenwriting groups across America, and links for workshops and whatnot. Meetup is another great resource for finding other writers. In addition to the benefit of making your writing better, meeting with other screenwriters has the added benefit of networking.  People know people who know people.  And in the entertainment business, sometimes who you know can make a difference with your chance of being heard.

I could go on and on at length about the resources out there on the web.  Poking around on the sites I've given here should be helpful and will likely send you exploring the internet elsewhere, too (as it did for me).  Good luck, and I hope you learn as much as I did!

For my next week's blog, I plan to check out resources describing how to pitch your script and get it accepted.