Books on writing scripts?

RodyPolis Posts: 612 Just Starting Out*
Hey guys,
So after 2 failed attempts at writing a script, I realize that it's not my strongest talent. I always have cool ideas (at least I think so) but I can never develop and finish them. I just can't seem to get the details down; I'm always thinking of the big picture.
I feel that what I need is a guideline to guide me through the process. Anyone know any good books, or any other resources, that could help me at least finish a first draft? I'm sure if I can finish the first draft, the rest should be easy, but getting a first draft done is just so damn hard!!!
I need help! Thanks.


  • MasterWolf
    MasterWolf Posts: 369
    The Screenwriter's Bible by David Trotter. Awesome book on screen writing.
  • SimonKJones
    SimonKJones Posts: 4,448 Enthusiast
    Aside from how-to resources, also make sure you're using a proper screenwriting tool such as Celtx or Final Draft. It does make the process itself much easier.
  • RodyPolis
    RodyPolis Posts: 612 Just Starting Out*
    Ya I already use Celtx so it's not the formatting I'm having a problem with. My problem is the "sitting my butt down and write" part :)
  • MasterWolf
    MasterWolf Posts: 369
    The Screenwriter's Bible changed the way I watch films. I've always looked at films as sort of a cinematographer / director point of view. I broke films down by shots, establishing shot, low angle shot, 2 shot, reverse angle etc. I would watch a movie thinking about how the lighting and camera placement was done. The Screenwriter's Bible made me more conscious of the plot and character development. I have a bunch of books on film making, really good books that are very informative. But The Screenwriter's Bible is the one that ties them all together.
    Screen writing is something I struggle with as well. Maybe we can help each other out. Sort of push each other a long on writing our screen plays.
  • Keegan
    Keegan Posts: 294 Just Starting Out
    I have worked as a DoP on a few projects for my friends who write screenplays and like to direct. The biggest problem they have is letting go of the vision they've formed in their heads.
    When I write movies/videos, I make sure I don't get too attached to the vision or idea in my head. The reason for this is because, as is the case in all low-to-no-budget movies, the turnout will rarely be close to what you originally envisioned. Making changes on-set is important to adapt to unpredictable and unreliable environments such as your location or your actors. :P
    Not saying I am any good at making movies, but if you're in the realm of zero-budget movies there is a lot that a good script cannot account for. I'd keep that in mind! :D
  • Darren
    Darren Posts: 164
    Perhaps THIS or THIS can help?
  • Froi
    Froi Posts: 966
    film making for dummies! :D lol
  • RodyPolis
    RodyPolis Posts: 612 Just Starting Out*
    Thanks for the tips. Will check them out!
  • Grisby
    Grisby Posts: 299 Just Starting Out*
    The best Author about this is and will always be SYD FIELD! ;-)
  • Save the cat! by blake snyder. Loads of filmmakers recommend this book
  • @Rody
    To quote Nike Shoes "Just Do it."
    From the sound of it it is more of a discipline problem.. Just sit down and do it. Force yourself to do it. Make a schedule and force yourself to write a page a day. Push yourself through it. Part of what makes screenwriters complete work is discipline.
    A philosophical line I use on myself is "Write to your imagination, produce to your budget."
    Robert Rodriguez wrote El Mariachi on the knowledge of his access to the locations he had for little or no cost.
    A few book recommendations: these are also books in my personal library, so please adjust for bias. I find them all useful in there own ways.
    STORY by Robert McKee Highly recommended
    The Screenplay Workbook by Jeremy Robinson & Tom Mungovan
    Writing your Screenplay by Cynthia Whitcomb
    The Complete idiots guide to Screenwriting by Skip Press
    Screenwriting by Madeline Dimaggio
    How to write a selling screenplay by Christopher Keane
    Another great resource is the Internet Movie script Database. A few years ago I was writing a screenplay adaption of a book in the public domain and was having trouble on how to structure a certain scene. I looked over a few scripts that had similar ideas of what I was going for and the script writing issue was solved.
    Some writing pointers.
    Write a synopsis of your story. Write a treatment of your story. Know there differences.
    Know how your story is going to start and end. I find a lot of beginning writings just go I'm going to sit down and write something without the knowledge of how its going to end. Hence they get lost on the way. You would not go somewhere unless you know how to get there.
    Work in collaboration. This can help a story be finished quicker, but has the downside of being watered down by someone else vision. Unless you like how they think. Also if your into this idea get a written agreement between all parties involved. That way you can stay to your original vision if another writer goes off course from your ideas. This is said with personal experience in mind.
    Know what your story is about in 25 words or less. If you had a chance to pitch to a studio or producer with means. If you don't know your story, chances are they wont buy your script.
    I hope this helps. If you have any questions feel free to ask.
  • PhilWesson
    PhilWesson Posts: 241 Enthusiast
    STORY by Robert McKee is a great one. I'll have to check out the screenwriters bible.
    If you're using celtx, I'm sure a bunch of I'd here could help by providing you notes using the collaboration features!
    Maybe a script review section would do great on this forum!