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 arbitrations for produced work, the latter is the only way to protect your writing by law.
- Writers Guild of America (West): http://www.wgawregistry.org/webrss/
- 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: http://writers.uclaextension.edu/competitions/ucla-extension-screenplay-competition/
- Academy Nicholl Fellowship: http://www.oscars.org/awards/nicholl/
- Page International: http://pageawards.com/
- Final Draft’s Big Break: http://www.finaldraft.com/products/big-break/
- Scriptapalooza: http://scriptapalooza.com/
- American Zoetrope: http://www.zoetrope.com/
- MovieBytes Calendar: http://www.moviebytes.com/contests.cfm?category=Upcoming
Aside from contests, submitting your work to databases accessed by entertainment executives can be 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/
- Trigger Street: http://labs.triggerstreet.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/
- NBC/Universal: http://www.nbcunicareers.com/writers-verge & http://www.nbcunicareers.com/late-night-writers-workshop & http://www.nbcunicareers.com/universal-pictures’-emerging-writers-fellowship
- Nickelodeon: http://www.nickwriting.com/home/
- Warner Bros.: http://writersworkshop.warnerbros.com/
- Participant Media: http://www.participantmedia.com/fellowships/
- Sundance Screenwriters Lab: http://www.sundance.org/programs/screenwriters-lab/
- Film Independent: http://www.filmindependent.org/labs-and-programs/
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/
- Studio System News: http://www.studiosystemnews.com/
- Sitcoms Online: http://www.sitcomsonline.com/
- Spec Scout: https://specscout.com
- Script Shadow: http://scriptshadow.net/
- Sell-A-Script: http://www.sellascript.com/
- 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: http://www.scriptmag.com
- Fade In Magazine: http://fadeinonline.com/
- On Story: http://www.onstory.tv/
- Script Notes Podcast: http://johnaugust.com/podcast
- Written By Magazine: http://www.wga.org/writtenby/writtenby.aspx
- 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
- Screenwriting.com: http://www.screenwriting.com/
- The Sundance Channel: http://www.sundancechannel.com/series/the-writers-room
- Word Player: http://www.wordplayer.com
- Save the Cat!: http://www.blakesnyder.com
- Screen Craft: http://www.screencraft.org/
Making connections in any industry is important. 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/
- Screenwriters World Conference: http://www.screenwritersworld.com/
- The Great American PitchFest: https://pitchfest.com/
- Hollywood Pitch Festival: http://www.hollywoodpitchfestival.com/
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/
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: http://www.scriptmag.com/features/screenwriting-product-review-2013-hollywood-screenwriting-directory
There are many books out there for screenwriting and television writing. Among the best are now our own newly released companion books modeled after the Feature Film and Television Writing curriculums, written by our instructors. In addition, other books authored by instructors and some great compilation lists can be found on the sites below.
- 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
- 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
Three “Best Of” Lists for Film & Television Writing:
- IwantToBeAScreenwriter.com: http://www.iwanttobeascreenwriter.com/books/
- Screenwriting HQ: http://www.screenwritinghq.com/screenwriting-books-2/
These days, 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 filmmaking 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
Every budding writer needs a day job. Here are some sites that list film & TV industry related positions.
- EntertainmentCareers.net: http://www.entertainmentcareers.net/
- EntertainmentJobs.com: http://www.entertainmentjobs.com/
- MediaBizJobs.com: http://www.mediabizjobs.com/
- Hollywood Temp Diaries: http://www.tempdiaries.com/p/job-list.html
- Staff Me Up: http://staffmeup.com
All of our instructors are WGA members with produced credits, many of whom are still actively working in film or television. 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/
- Bill Boyle: http://www.billboyle.net/
- Erica Byrne: http://www.ericabyrne.com/
- Antwone Fisher: http://antwonefisher.net/
- Keith Giglio: http://gagscribe.blogspot.com/
- Beverly Gray: http://www.beverlygray.com/
- Seth Jaret: http://www.contentengine.tv/
- Bonnie MacBird: http://www.macbird.com/
- Corey Mandell: http://coreymandell.net/
- Billy Mernit: http://livingromcom.typepad.com
- Pat Verducci: http://patverducciscreenwriting.blogspot.com/
If you are a student or screenwriter who would like to share your suggestions for this site, please email us. We’d love to hear from you!