Have you ever found yourself sitting in a coffeeshop, trying to hammer out your act two but to no avail? Trying to figure out what Prague looks like? Need an obscure but interesting title for your movie? Looking for a true story to base your script off of? This list is for you, my friends.
Coffee = writer fuel
Here are some of the best screenwriting resources on the web that you may not know about:
- Scriptshadow. If you haven’t spent a gratuitous amount of hours on this blog, you’re at a serious disadvantage. Carson Reeves offers a slew of practical, oft-overlooked advice as he reviews hot new scripts in Hollywood. Every Friday is “Amateur Friday,” where a new writer’s script is thoughtfully reviewed by Carson and the Scriptshadow community.
- Feedback Friday. “Why should I read another screenwriting blog? You shouldn’t. You should be writing” is the slogan of this blog. Every Friday screenwriters send in the first ten pages of their scripts to be read and reviewed by Robert Dillon and other writers. The feedback is insightful and sparks creates an interesting discussion. It’s a great place to judge the quality of your content and what you need to work on.
- MapCrunch. Need an interesting location for your scene? MapCrunch teleports you to a random place on planet Earth via Google Streetview. Travel the world without leaving your favorite Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf!
- The “random Wikipedia entry” button. I’m giving you gold, people! I found a killer true story using this feature that helped turn my entire script around. And now I have the ‘inspired by a true story’ hook to wave around. That’s always a plus. This button is located in the left sidebar of any Wikipedia page.
- 8Tracks. Free writing playlists of all kinds can be found here. Orchestra music? Indie jams? They’ve got it. I linked to one of my favorites. Check it out!
- Evernote. Doing research? You better have this tool installed! Easily clip web pages/photos/audio files/videos/text and save photos. Neatly organize them into notebooks and then sync them so you can access your research from any device! Best of all, it’s completely free and very easy to use.
- Go Into the Story. This blog is an absolute must-visit for every screenwriter out there. From updates on the Spec market to daily dialog clips to insightful interviews, Scott Myers offers a wealth of information that you guys need to take advantage of.
- Seventh Sanctum Generators. I love random generators. I mean, how hard can screenwriting be if a computer can spit out thousands of character/plot/trailer ideas on demand for us to choose from?! I kid, I kid. This website is perfect for finding inspiration, character names, or giggling at the nonsensical computer-generated plots. “In a world where sleep must be paid for, a talking lobster washes up on the shores of Zombie Island.”
- Script Frenzy. Each April, writers band together to write a 100 page script in 30 days. I highly recommend this contest. Highly. If you haven’t experienced the Frenzy, you really need to. It’s a life changing event simply because it forces you to write. Every. Single. Day. Once you write the first draft, you’ve got the worst behind you. Writing is rewriting, but so many people get bogged down at the writing stage. Freewriting (writing without worrying about whether or not every scene/character/line of dialog is utter crap) actually improves creativity and helps you dig deep to find those ideas you haven’t thought of yet.
- Semicolon Visual Guide. Dear lord. Do you know how annoying it is to come across a writer who uses not one, but FIVE semicolons incorrectly within the first page of a script? I’m all for mixin’ things up when it comes to syntax, but people will judge youif you don’t know how to use a semicolon properly. So, the Oatmeal has compiled a lovely visual guide to aid the grammar-impaired in the discovery of the semicolon and its magical powers.
- IMFDB. One of my awesome Twitter followers recommended this firearm database to me. It’s the IMDB of guns! If you ever had a burning desire to find out what John McClaine was packing, you can find out on this site. (Beretta 92F, if anyone’s wondering.) Basically, if you know nothing about firearms and you are writing an action script, this is a good place to start.
- IMSDB. Scripts! Hundreds of thousands of scripts for your reading enjoyment! I don’t think it’s said enough, but if you want to compete in the world of screenwriting, you have to read LOTS of scripts. Not only is it the best way to get a hang of the formatting, but it also helps you elevate your own writing to a professional level. Shane Black is a notorious reader, so you should be too! Read at least three scripts a month at the very least, and try to read more novels as well. You can’t be a writer without being a reader!
So there you go. You’ve got the tools, now go out there and forge your own hero’s journey!