Add one, add all. Either way, every screenwriter should be familiar with these 10 screenwriting sites. I’d highly suggest having these bookmarked on your computer to reference weekly, if not daily.
(in no specific order)
1) Writer’s Guild of America, West. This is a no-brainer. The WGAW, whether a member or not, is a MUST website for all screenwriters. It’s loaded with all the material that matters to us working screenwriters: contracts, screenwriting credit information, and an outstanding amount of useful writing tools. If you’re not familiar with the site, I’d highly suggest getting familiar with it. Because if you are one of the lucky few who gets called to the plate, you better know your “stuff”…. that means screenwriting terms, rights, and rules.
Register your script: www.wgawregistry.org/webrss
Writing Credit: www.wga.org/content/default.aspx?id=1029
Guild-Signatory Agents: www.wga.org/agency/agencylist.aspx
2) IMDb Pro. Before Facebook, before Twitter…. there was IMDb. This is OUR online resume. It’s imperative you keep track of you page. Update it and correct it when new developments are underway. Pen out an amazing bio. Upload your PDF resume. Why does this site matter for the novice/student screenwriter? You need to know who’s DOING what, or who DID what. This is a great way to look up your favorite films, see who wrote them, and who represents the writers who wrote them. Take down e-mails, phone numbers, and even their maiden name. Everything matters. For the working screenwriter: this site in invaluable. You MUST know what projects are going into development. Most likely, these will be the projects you are applying for. Regardless of your “stock” in this industry, this site offers contact info to all the big players in Hollywood. It is also packed with industry news… who’s starring in what picture, which studio bought which script, and which films are winning the TOP awards. IMDb is FREE. IMDb Pro cost money – but it’s worth it!
See where you rank: https://pro-labs.imdb.com
3) Pay Pal. Wait, that’s not a screenwriting site? Exactly, but it’s how WE get PAID for our work. The way Hollywood conducts business has changed. Most of the jobs you and I are getting are done remotely. The days of cutting checks and mailing them are gone. That means we have to find a way to get paid. Signing up is FREE. All you need is an e-mail. (note: Pay Pal is important for those screenwriters who work remotely, and for screenwriting gigs that pay on the medium to lower end).
Get started: www.paypal.com
4) Movie Bytes. I know screenwriting competitions aren’t for everyone, but everyone should follow them. For the contest lover: this site compiles an extensive list of all the top script contests in the world. They provide deadlines, updates, and reviews. They even offer discounts to specific contests. Why you should follow Movie Bytes even if you don’t intend to submit: It’s in your best interest to know what screenwriters are garnering attention, as well as know what genres are currently popular among writers. This is a FREE resource for screenwriters.
Contest Directory: www.moviebytes.com
5) SimplyScripts. This site is riddled with downloadable produced and unproduced scripts, including features, television, radio, and more! I can’t stress this enough: you have to READ screenplays. You can read all the “how to” screenwriting books in the world, but if you don’t actually read good script material, you will NEVER know what works! You can download all your favorite screenplays in PDF, word, and google docs. SimplyScripts also offers screenwriting articles and opinions. 100% FREE site.
Download today: www.simplyscripts.com
6) The Tracking Board. Having access to TTB automatically makes you a Hollywood “insider”. This site tracks all the top spec sales, industry jobs, executive moves, and talent attachments. You need to know what’s “hot” and what’s “not” if you want to succeed in this industry. Impress the socks off your friends the next time you go out for a drink… or, better yet, the executive you are pitching your script to. TTB also runs a script contest, where winners are guaranteed to get their foot in the door. You can get BASIC industry news for FREE, but for the “INSIDER” scoop, you must pay for their information – it’s worth EVERY penny!
See if your SPEC made the list! www.tracking-board.com
7) Stage 32. I don’t recommend spending too much time on any “social network” platform, especially as a screenwriter, but this site is definitely worth some of your time. This site allows you to connect with nearly 400,000 industry professionals all in one place. This is a great way to meet like-minded film buffs, partner on projects, and exchange screenwriting notes. Build yourself a profile, attach your reel, and upload a professional photo. You can also upload your loglines. It’s FREE to create a profile on Stage 32.
Start Mingling: www.stage32.com
8) Writers Store. They have been around for 30 years, and still the leading store for screenwriters. The ‘Writers Store’ is a screenwriter’s “Toy Store”. It’s full of wonderful scriptwriting software, books, courses, videos, and more. They also have a customer service department that can help you navigate through all their products. They are always on the cutting-edge of all things screenwriting in terms of technology and knowledge. You can’t write a screenplay without being armed with the correct screenwriting tools.
Fill Your Shopping Cart: www.writersstore.com
9) Script Magazine. One of the TOP screenwriting publications on the web. ‘Script’ provides their readers with invaluable screenwriting tips, interviews, and opinions. They tackle topics that are relevant to “today’s” screenwriter, such as how to write a screenplay, how to compose a query letter, and how to sell your script. They also offer links to popular screenwriting podcasts, tutorials, and seminars. I’d also highly suggest paying special attention to Jeanne Veillette Bowerman blog: Balls of Steel: http://www.scriptmag.com/author/jeannevb. This is a personal favorite of mine.
Start reading: www.scriptmag.com
10) Your LOCAL Film Commission. Whether you live in California or Maine, you need to be aware of what films are being shot in your City, State, and even Country. Film Commision pages offer information on tax incentives, film permits, cast/crew notifications, and local film opportunities. Many film commision pages offer a “job section”, too. It’s imperative you list your name, contact info, and skills in your state’s film office database. Yes, they even have a section for screenwriters. Make a splash in your city. Show your spirit and skills. Get discovered. Most film office pages list screenwriting meetup groups, workshops, and festival updates. In a previous post on The Backstory, I mentioned how important it was for a screenwriter to understand the filmmaking process, and that includes casting, budgeting, scouting locations, holding a camera, and editing. Participate, collaborate, and build your network in your community. Screenwriters can NOT afford to be left behind.
Search for your NEAREST Film Commission: www.afci.org/film-commissions
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