Best Screenwriting Books

The 15 Best Screenwriting Books

A Martian Wouldn’t Say That ~ Leonard B. Stern

Adventures in the Screen Trade ~ William Goldman

Conversations With My Agent ~ Rob Long


Beating Out the Script the Hard Way

I told a student last week if he really wanted to know how one specific movie broke down?

Script Stacks

10 Important Screenwriting Competitions & Deadlines

*Last updated September 12, 2019. We cannot update exact entry dates and fees. We’re sticking with broad parameters and a solid list. It’s up to you to double check exact entry dates and current entry fees. 



Type: Feature Film Script

Qualifications: Open to amateurs only:  Screenwriters who have not earned more than $25,000 writing fiction for film or television. Entry scripts must be the original work of one writer or of two writers who have collaborated equally, and must be written originally in English. Adaptations and translated scripts are not eligible.

Entry Dates: Between early January and the final cut off date May 1.

South Park writers/creators Matt Stone & Trey Parker

South Park Writers Share Their Writing Rule #1

This is a great presentation from South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker on plotting using the key words “but” and “therefore.” It’s brilliant. Watch it.

Five Signs You've Got a Talking Heads Script On Your Hands

5 Signs You’ve Got a Talking Heads Script on Your Hands

“The trick with talking head scripts is, people who know what they are don’t write them, and people who write them don’t know what they are.” ~ Max Adams

Three Ways Not to be a Film Festival Asshole

3 Ways Not to be a Film Festival Asshole

I meet a lot of new people during the course of Festivals. Some make great impressions. Some don’t. Hell sometimes I don’t. “I ain’t no monument to justice!”

[Extra points if you can identify that quote yay!]

It happens. But. I have a career. Many of the people who appear to be working overtime to make a bad impression don’t. Or, do, but appear hell bent on a bad impression anyway.

Here are some cautionary don’ts for festivals.

Screenwriter Terry Rossio

Guest Post: Screenwriter Terry Rossio: The Impetus to Produce

A friend completed a historical drama and was brainstorming with me on ways to get the material out there and read by the right people.  I introduced her to Terry Rossio, who knows a hell of a lot about getting material out there and read by the right people. Terry gave my friend advice so good I asked Terry if I could share it on the blog. Terry, being the great guy he is, said of course. So now you get the benefit of Terry’s great advice too.

The Impetus to Produce

~by Terry Rossio

Your situation speaks to the heart of the heart of the screenwriter’s dilemma.

You have a project that is clearly above average and worthy. There are people who need projects to film. So, how to get them to decide to film this project?

The Writer's Press Kit

The Writer’s Press Kit

I’ve been all over 5150 workshoppers to create usable press packets. Or, Hell, just usable  photos. With that in mind, it might be helpful if I spell out what should be in an artist’s press packet. So let’s do it yay!

RÉSUMÉ: A professional résumé  lists out professional points:

PROJECTS: Projects both produced and unproduced — and separates projects by type, for example, mine separates film, plays, and books.

AWARDS: Any prizes or awards or placements in competitions you have won or placed in — that are industry related. Winning a trip to Hawaii at a car dealership does not count. Winning Nicholl does.

Five Kick Ass Female Character Introductions

Five Kick Ass Female Character Introductions



Several travois are parked in a clearing. It’s a scene of terrible woe. On the travois are dead bodies. Women members of several families are grieving as they collect the dead men.

Writing Above the Line

Writing Above the Line

Invariably, at the end of any interview, the interviewer will pause and then say, “What advice would you give newer writers trying to break in?”

This used to seem like an impossibly broad question. Seriously? You want me to sum everything up in one piece of advice?

And then one day it wasn’t impossible. It wasn’t too broad. One day I knew the answer.

Stop trying to fit in and start trying to stand out.