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This guide is a compilation of popular websites that promote or publish news, insights, contests, fellowships, jobs, books, blogs, and networking opportunities related to the screenwriting trade. It’s included here as a reference for students interested in writing for film and television.
To protect your intellectual property, two methods are recommended: The Writers Guild of America and the U.S. Copyright Office. The former comes in handy during credit arbitration for produced work; the latter is the only way to legally protect your writing.
- Writers Guild of America (West): https://www.wgawregistry.org/
- U.S. Copyright Office: http://www.copyright.gov/forms/formpa.pdf
Writing competitions are the best way to get yourself and your work recognized. Here are some of the most reputable ones out there, plus a helpful calendar of upcoming entry deadlines for all contests.
- UCLA Extension Writers’ Program: https://writers.uclaextension.edu/competitions/
- Academy Nicholl Fellowship: http://www.oscars.org/awards/nicholl/
- Page International: http://pageawards.com/
- Final Draft’s Big Break: https://www.finaldraft.com/big-break-screenwriting-contest/
- Scriptapalooza: http://scriptapalooza.com/
- American Zoetrope: http://www.zoetrope.com/
- MovieBytes Calendar: http://www.moviebytes.com/contests.cfm?category=Upcoming
- AT&T and the Tribeca Film Festival – Untold Stories: https://about.att.com/pages/untold_stories
- Austin Film Festival: https://austinfilmfestival.com/submit/
After contests, submitting your work to databases accessed by entertainment executives is probably the next best thing. Other avenues for exposure include websites that invite writers and filmmakers to submit their work in hopes of having it made into web videos, TV shows, or films.
- The Blacklist: http://blcklst.com/about/
- Ink Tip: http://www.inktip.com/
- Amazon Studios: http://studios.amazon.com/
- Logline It!: http://logline.it/
- HitRECord TV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6fqJt3mm6I
- Shooting People: http://www.shootingpeople.org
FELLOWSHIPS & LABS
Every year, major networks, studios and even film festivals invite the aspiring writers of tomorrow to apply to fellowship programs or labs, in which they groom their selected fellows for future careers.
- Disney/ABC: http://www.abctalentdevelopment.com/
- CBS: https://www.cbscorporation.com/diversity_institute/writers-mentoring-program/
- NBC/Universal: https://www.nbcunicareers.com/nbcufellowship
- Nickelodeon: https://www.nickanimation.com/writing-program
- Warner Bros.: http://writersworkshop.warnerbros.com/
- Sundance Feature Film Program: http://www.sundance.org/programs/feature-film
- Film Independent: https://www.filmindependent.org/programs/artist-development/
- HBO Access: http://www.hbo.com/hboaccess/
- Television Academy Foundation Internship: http://www.emmys.com/internship
In order to start a career, it’s important to know how the business side of “show business” works (e.g. how and when scripts are bought and sold, what’s trending, what’s not, etc.). The following is a list of entertainment news sites, trade magazines, forums and tracking boards that will keep you in the loop.
- Deadline: http://www.deadline.com/hollywood/
- IMdB: http://www.imdb.com/
- The Hollywood Reporter: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/
- Variety: http://variety.com/
- Entertainment Weekly: http://www.ew.com/ew/
- The Wrap: http://www.thewrap.com/
- IndieWire: http://www.indiewire.com/
- Sitcoms Online: http://www.sitcomsonline.com/
- Spec Scout: https://specscout.com
- Script Shadow: http://scriptshadow.net/
- The Tracking Board: http://www.tracking-board.com/
- Done Deal Pro: http://www.donedealpro.com
Reading magazines, blogs, listening to podcasts, and watching videos made for (and often by) screenwriters can be both insightful and inspiring. From craft issues to career advice, here are some of the most popular publications to date.
- Script Magazine: https://scriptmag.com/
- Fade In Magazine: http://fadeinonline.com/
- On Story: http://www.onstory.tv/
- Go Into the Story: http://gointothestory.blcklst.com/
- Doug Richardson.com: http://www.dougrichardson.com/
- ScriptChat: http://scriptchat.blogspot.com/
- TV Tropes: http://tvtropes.org
- Creative Screenwriting: https://creativescreenwriting.com/
- Word Player: http://www.wordplayer.com
- Save the Cat!: http://www.blakesnyder.com
- Screen Craft: http://www.screencraft.org/
- The Write Process: https://writers.uclaextension.edu/media/the-write-process/
- Script Notes: http://www.scriptnotes.net/
- Children of Tendu: http://childrenoftendu.libsyn.com/
- Nerdist Writer’s Panel: https://nerdistwriters.libsyn.com/
- KCRW’s Martini Shot: http://www.kcrw.com/news-culture/shows/martini-shot/
Making connections in any industry is important and Hollywood is no different. Aside from classes and workshops, getting involved in local writers groups or film markets can be a good start to meeting people in the profession and practicing what all writers must eventually do: pitch!
- Scriptwriters Network: http://scriptwritersnetwork.org/
- Hollywood Pitch Festival: http://www.hollywoodpitchfestival.com/
- UCLA Extension Entertainment Studies Networking Events: https://entertainment.uclaextension.edu/entertainment-studies-networking-events/
- Crew Up (get connected with current and former UCLA Extension Entertainment Studies certificate students): https://entertainment.uclaextension.edu/find-your-crew/
Before you write a script, read a script. One of the best ways to learn the art form is to study the scripts of some of your favorite films, from FADE IN to FADE OUT. Here are two of the most popular script databases online.
- Simply Scripts: http://www.simplyscripts.com/
- Drew’s Script-O-Rama: http://www.script-o-rama.com/
- Television Scripts: https://sites.google.com/site/tvwriting/
- Feature Scripts: https://gointothestory.blcklst.com/script-download-links-9313356d361c
Most agents, managers, and studio executives do not accept unsolicited material, but sending a query letter is the most formal, preferred method of doing so. Here is one of the best references available to find out who accepts what kind of material and where to send it.
- Hollywood Screenwriting Directory: https://scriptmag.com/features/how-to-write-a-query-letter and https://scriptmag.com/business-widget/breaking-entering-writing-killer-query-letter
There are many books available as references for feature film and television writers. Among the best are the Writers’ Program’s companion books that are modeled after the Program’s Feature Film and Television Writing curriculum.
- Cut to the Chase: Writing Feature Films with the Pros at UCLA Extension Writers’ Program edited by Linda Venis
- Inside the Room: Writing Television with the Pros at UCLA Extension Writers’ Program edited by Linda Venis
Other recommended books:
- Elephant Bucks by Sheldon Bull
- Emotional Structure: Creating the Story Beneath the Plot: A Guide for Screenwriters by Peter Dunne
- Writing the Comedy Blockbuster: The Inappropriate Goal by Keith Giglio
- The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters: Insider Secrets from Hollywood’s Top Writers by Karl Iglesias
- Writing for Emotional Impact: Advanced Dramatic Techniques to Attract, Engage, and Fascinate the Reader from Beginning to End by Karl Iglesias
- Secrets of Film Writing by Tom Lazarus
- Rewriting Secrets for Screenwriters: Seven Strategies to Improve and Sell Your Work by Tom Lazarus
- The Last Word: Definitive Answers to All Your Screenwriting Questions by Tom Lazarus
- Writing the Romantic Comedy by Billy Mernit
- The TV Writer’s Workbook: A Creative Approach To Television Scripts by Ellen Sandler
- Game Testing: All In One by Charles P. Schultz and Robert D. Bryant
- Real Screenwriting: Strategies and Stories from the Trenches by Ron Suppa
- IO9: http://io9.com/11-books-that-every-aspiring-television-writer-must-rea-802466965
- Go Into The Story: https://gointothestory.blcklst.com/free-screenwriting-resources-46ef29dee60a
SCREENWRITING TOOLS/ SOFTWARE
Screenplay formatting software is essential to screenwriting. In addition to the most notable programs available, a free option is available for download – called “Celtx” – which many of our students use. Other writing and film-making related materials can be found at shops like The Writers Store in Burbank, CA.
- Final Draft: http://www.finaldraft.com/ *Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are a student seeking to purchase the educational edition of this product for $99.
- Movie Magic Screenwriter: http://www.screenplay.com/p-29-movie-magic-screenwriter-6.aspx
- Celtx (free): https://www.celtx.com/
- The Writers Store: http://www.writersstore.com
View Writers’ Program instructors sharing their best writing tips.
Every budding writer needs a day job. Here are some sites that list film & TV industry-related positions.
- EntertainmentCareers.net: http://www.entertainmentcareers.net/
- The Anonymous Production Assistant: https://www.anonymousproductionassistant.com/uta-joblist/
- ProductionLeads.com: http://www.productionleads.com/
- Hollywood Temp Diaries: http://www.tempdiaries.com/p/job-list.html
- Staff Me Up: http://staffmeup.com
- Hollylist: https://www.hollylist.com/
HOLLYWOOD SLANG DICTIONARY
STREAMING VIDEO DATABASES: NARRATIVE, DOCUMENTARY, AND PERFORMANCE
WRITERS’ PROGRAM FRIENDS
Here are some personal webpages or blogs we like to keep up with.
- Chrysanthy Balis: http://www.chrysanthybalis.com/
- Erik Bork: http://www.flyingwrestler.com/
- Erica Byrne: http://www.ericabyrne.com/
- Beverly Gray: http://www.beverlygray.com/
- Bonnie MacBird: http://www.macbird.com/
- Corey Mandell: http://coreymandell.net/
- Billy Mernit: http://livingromcom.typepad.com
- Pat Verducci: https://patverducci.com/
- Ron Wilkerson: http://ronwilkerson.com/Writing_for_TV___Film.html