There's writing, and then there's SCREENWRITING. Unlike most other forms of writing, screenwriting and playwriting aren't actually creating the art, but the specifications for the art, much like music composition. This mysterious transformation, especially for the pre-eminent artform of the last century, has added a great deal of haze to the mystique of the screenwriter. Our own friend, playwright and screenwriter, Philip Gawthorne, has decided to share with us some of the tricks of his trade.
First of all, let's get the one essential item out of the way. Along with a computer or laptop, if you want to become a professional screenwriter, you'll also definitely need Final Draft screenwriting software. It's not cheap, and it's not perfect, but it is approximately 317 times better than Microsoft Word for writing scripts.
Of all the screenwriting books I've read, Writing Movies For Fun And Profit is one of the most honest, funny, insightful and entertaining. Also, unlikely many of these books, this one is written by two guys who have actually made a stack of cold, hard cash from this profession, so they really know what they are talking about. As well as looking at the creative aspects of the business, it also explores a number of practical issues (everything from the difference between an Agent and a Manager, to how to pitch effectively, to how to successfully take notes from Movie Stars). A terrific read.
A fun, breezy and helpful screenwriting book by the late Blake Snyder, which, amongst others things, helps teach you the practical techniques to write more empathetic and appealing characters.
And finally, complete the look of a perpetually nervous and caffeine-jazzed screenwriter with a cool, high-quality movie t-shirt from the excellent website www.lastexittonowhere.com. The deliberately obscure designs separate the casual popcorn muncher from the true cineaste. Enjoy!
Screenwriter and Playwright
A screenwriter and playwright from the United Kingdom, Gawthorne has written extensively for BBC television, his stage plays have been performed throughout London and New York, and he is now working primarily in film. He is writing the script for the forthcoming STARZ sci-fi drama Human Error. He lists his main inspirations as William Shakespeare, Optimus Prime and Elmo.
Read more about him at CurtisBrown.Co.UK