Well you can just start writing your first screenplay, like I did. But then you will most likely find out that it was not up to scratch, like I did. It does not really matter because you learn from it and search for ways to do better because of it. But why not save yourself the trouble? If you have access to the internet then you have the biggest tool you need for the job already at your disposal. All you need to do is start the imitation game.
“Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery – it’s the sincerest form of learning.”
-George Bernard Shaw-
There are tons of awesome screenwriters, producers, directors, managers and other people from the movie industry online. They have acquired great knowledge and experience through years of working in the industry. So why would you go trudging through an indefinable snowy landscape to find your way? Why not follow in someone’s footsteps?
Here are six ways of doing that:
1 Read books
Many screenwriters have written books on how to write a screenplay. Reading them will help you greatly.
Here are my favorites:
♥ Save the cat/Blake Snyder
♥ Making a good script great/Linda Seger
♥ Screenplay/Syd Field
♥ The Screenwriter’s Bible/David Trotter
2 Read screenplays
You must read screenplays if you want to learn how to write them. Here are some ways to get access to them.
If you join Stephanie Palmers awesome community, through her website, you will start receiving incredibly helpful emails from her. One of them contains a link to 8 must read screenplays! So go join up at her amazing website goodinaroom.com.
At imsdb.com (the internet movie script database) you will find a huge collection of screenplays availabe for reading.
There is also a bank of free downloadable movie scripts at Gointothestory.com.
Of course there are many more helpful sites, full of treasure, available to you. Only a Google treasure hunt away from being uncovered.
3 Read blogs
Reading blogs from screenwriters is also a great way to learn. Because there are often ways you can contact the bloggers and learn more by asking them questions.
Here are my favorites:
There are SOOOO many blogs to choose and learn from! It is a serious treasure chest filled to the brim with jems. It just keeps on giving. From Richard “RB” Botto’s “Coffee and Content” to Joleene Moody’s golden nuggets , Brian Medavoy’s pearls of wisdom to CJ Wally describing how he found treasure in Hollywood and showing us wannabees the silver lining to hard work and perseverance. To name but a few. There are 1672 blog posts to choose from. Jewels for everyone!
By Stephanie Palmer. She was a studio executive with MGM Pictures. She worked with many top writers and directors and supervised the production of over 20 movies with $12M-$150M budgets. Now she helps writers to develop and sell material. She often lists the “ten best’s” on all kinds of super helpful subjects.
By CJ Walley. He has written features, shorts, episodes and novels. He has blogged for Stage32 and had time to cook vegetarian food. He has had shorts and a music video written by him produced. Right now he has his scripts in production in five countries. But stil he found time to create scriptrevolution.com. A free script hosting website with over 2000 scripts!
He writes honoustly about how he became a writer. What it takes to be one and what life as a writer is like. Which I found very valuable.
Networking is essential to do if you ever want to sell a screenplay. It’s also a great way to learn by seeing what others are doing:
Here is my favorite online place to network:
But you have only mentioned one site?!
I know. Because there is nothing else like it. Stage 32 is a platform for everyone who has anything to do with the movie industry. You can connect with people there. Find extremely helpful courses, jobs, awesome seminars (some are even free!). The site is packed with valuable information. You can post questions, debate, participate in writing groups, pitch your screenplay and sooooooo much more. Join and find out.
5 Take a course
Taking an online course is a great way to learn the ways of the masters at a time that is conveniënt for you.
Here are my tips:
Here you can attend the “Aaron Sorkin teaches screenwriting” masterclass.
They have classes and webinars on screenwriting, legal stuff, navigating the industry, pitching and everything else you need to learn.
They have courses on Television writing, feature writing, constructing characters, editing, and writing adaptation to name but a few.
6 Sign up for newsletters
I can hear you thinking.. has she gone bonkers? No she has not. If you find a person or company online, that you like and have learned heaps from, then why not sign up for their newsletter? You would be crazy not to! They will send you crazy helpful emails with everything you need to help keep you inspired and in touch with the movie industy you want to be a part of.
Here are my favorites:
Well, It was fun taking a walk with you and giving you some directions. I hope they were of some use to you. Good luck!