Sunday, 14 April 2013

Sunday April 14, 2013 Screenwriting

Have you ever wanted to write a screenplay but didn’t know where to start? Written a first draft but need help revising? Or maybe your screenplay is all ready to go but now you don’t know where to send it? Then maybe you need to take a trip to the library; we have all kinds of resources to help you with your scriptwriting needs.

If you’re completely new to screenwriting and trying to develop your ideas, a great place to start is Kate Wright’s Screenwriting is Storytelling: Creating an A-List Screenplay That Sells. Along with giving the basics of screenwriting structure, Screenwriting is Storytelling discusses all of the important elements of a good script, including building a strong plot, making characters, working with your theme and the importance of conflict. While any writer can benefit from the advice in this book, beginners in particular will find Screenwriting is Storytelling an excellent resource.

Once your screenplay is finished, you can’t just send it off to your favourite actor or director. If I’ve just dashed your plan, it’s time to make a new one. Luckily the advice of Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon is here to help in Writing Movies for Fun andProfit. This humorous book does have some excellent advice on the business side of Hollywood, however not everyone will find it funny.

What if you’re more interested in writing for TV instead? In that case, the library has a few choices for you. First is Writing the TV Drama Series: How to Succeed as a Professional Writer inTV by Pamela Douglas. Its focus is on drama writing, but many of the principles work for other genres as well. Douglas interviews some of the big names in television writing, providing valuable advice from people already working in the field. Another option is Screenwriting:The Art, Craft and Business of Film and Television Writing by Richard Walter. Written by a professor who teaches screenwriting at UCLA and has written several screenplays such as American Graffiti, this book is packed full of excellent advice for aspiring screenwriters and experts alike, although I do recommend starting with something more basic than this one.

Screenwriting from the Heart: the Techniqueof the Character-Driven Screenplay by James Ryan is a book that goes beyond the formula that many aspiring screenwriters (and oftentimes Hollywood itself) rely on. As the title suggests, Ryan focuses on the characters of your story, making the story grow organically out of their back-story. As Ryan is both a screenwriter and a teacher, he also gives a step-by-step breakdown of the writing process, making this book an excellent resource for beginners and experts alike.

 Another interesting book is Screenwritingon the Internet: Researching, Writing and Selling Your Script on the Web by Christopher Wehner. While his chapters on agents and production companies are out of date, Wehner’s book provides some excellent resources for researching online. His topics include popular subjects, like conspiracy theories and serial killers, and all kinds of help for you the screenwriter no matter what stage your script is at. Wehner is also the developer of the Screenwriter’s Utopia website ( which has some excellent articles on the craft as well.

The library also has several screenwriting audiobooks available online through our ebook collection on EBSCOhost. These include Writing a Screenplay by John Costello, Screenwriting for Hollywood by Michael Hauge and Writing the Great American Screenplay by Richard Walter and William Froug.

There’s no time like the present to start a screenplay. With a little help from the library, you’ll have your script finished in no time. And when you’re rich and famous, don’t forget the helpful staff here at TBPL!

Shauna Kosoris

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