A Primer For New Screenwriters

This is the outline I used for a presentation I gave at a writer’s organization in early July. I’ve added some notes. I hope that you find it useful.

Note: You can do an online search and find out which organizations represent screenwriters in your country
FILM INDUSTRY UNIONS
http://www.wga.org – Writers Guild of America (If you’re enjoying a Hollywood blockbuster, watch the credits and see if “WGA” appears at the very end.
http://www.wgc.ca – Writers Guild of Canada

WWW.IMDB.COM – Click on Writers
Who wrote the screenplay?
If it’s an adapted screenplay, who wrote the material the screenplay is based on?
What is the original story format? Novel, play, short story, non-fiction book, magazine article, memoire…..
Does the original material have the same title as the movie?

Note:
Always check for items at the library first, it will save you a significant amount of money.
Some library systems have an inter-library borrowing system that will allow you to borrow from several different libraries across your province or state
Reading scripts online isn’t free, you (or your parents) still have to pay the service provider
The Writers Store is a dangerous place for a writer with a credit card to visit
SOURCES FOR SCREENPLAYS
Your Local Library
http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom – Script Library
http://www.imsdb.com (Internet Movie Script Database)
http://www.scripts.com
http://www.simplyscripts.com
Book Sales, Used Book Stores
http://www.writersstore.com (The Writers Store)
Amazon, Chapters/Indigo, Kobo, etc.

FILM INDUSTRY GENERAL KNOWLEDGE
Work as a Background Performer/Extra or volunteer on a short film project
Volunteer as video camera operator for a local cable operator or a church. (I’m a volunteer camera operator at a church.)

Note: You may be able to borrow these books, or download them as eBooks or audiobooks from you local library
BOOKS
On The Set: The Hidden Rules of Movie Making Etiquette-Paul J. Salamoff-2012
What Happens Next: A History of American Screenwriting-Marc Norman-2007
Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency-James A. Miller-2016
The Men Who Would Be King: An Almost Epic Tale of Moguls, Movies, and A Company Called DreamWorks-Nicole Laporte-2010
DVD’s
Tales From The Script-Directed by Peter Hanson-2009-105 minutes (The DVD is based on the book with the same title)
Dreams on Spec-Directed by Daniel Snyder-2007-88 minutes

Note: This last item isn’t about screenwriting, but about the writing process, as presented by Canada’s most successful science fiction writer: Robert J. Sawyer
YOUTUBE: Ontario Writers Conference / Approximately 25 mins.
P1 of 3, P2 of 3, P3 of 3 OWC 2010

 

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