As a writer, the one thing I know is: I can always learn more. And while I haven’t actively been in the film game for a long while now, I’ve been involved passively, offering notes and advice to varioud friends and students (many of whom have gone on to work professionally in the field!).
Thing is, I still love the form. Even if I’m not writing in it regularly, there’s stiill something about (as my screenwriter friend Matthew says) “leaving out the boring parts.” Sure, I like the boring parts, too, which is why, when I have the time to actually write for fun these days, I’m writing prose, but the screenplay format is intriguing and fun.
And, as I say, I never stop learning. To that end, a few recent links have flown across my desk so I thought I’d share them.
For example, over at Film School Rejects, they have a post about the 10 Best Structured Films of All-Time. As they say: “There’s more to writing a good story than characters and plot. The events and people who comprise stories are only half the process; the other half comes from how these events and the people they effect are structured and arranged, how they are laid out before the viewer, hopefully in a way that pulls said viewer through the narrative effortlessly.”
Or, of course, you could glean 31 Screenwriting Lessons from the great Rod Serling (courtesy of Screencraft.org). The Twilight Zone was a definitive source of my own creative esthetic so seeing this is just cool.
Then, of course, there’s learning from the words themselves. Writer John August (who has written a number of high-profile films, notably for director Tim Burton) has made a number of his original screenplays available on his website, johnaugust.com. His advice, which is solid, is that “the best way to learn screenwriting is to read a bunch of scripts.” Not only are there scripts for projects he’s written, but August also hosts a podcast, Scriptnotes, where he talks to other writers about the craft. Honestly, this is a great resource.
And speaking of great resources…The New York Film Academy has put together this list of the top screenwriting blogs, of which John August’s is one. But there’s a ton of others as well, all of which are worth checking out to find what works for you.