I was broke initially when I tried trying to learn to screenwriting. So I looked for free resources online for some beginner knowledge. Then some paid ones once I got some cash together. Amid this knowledge accumulation, I’ve found a set number of sites that really did make me a better writer. Seventeen websites in fact that I can point to that jumped my skill level not only my writing ability but pitching for the sale as well.
I’m not saying that if your favorite website isn’t on this list its not relevant. These sites are what I’ve found helped me the best out of 100 I used to visit.
These websites include the following:
- Blcklst.com (The Black List)
1.) John August
Johnaugust.com is a site made by the famed screenwriter John August himself if that wasn’t already apparent. If you’re not familiar with him, you probably have seen at least one of his films.
- Iron Man 2008
- Charlie’s Angels 2000, 2003
- Go 1999
- Big Fish 2003
- Aladdin 2019
These are just some of his popular films. The great thing about learning from Mr. August is hes not someone teaching screenwriting for a check because hes still going. The best people to learn from are the people who are currently doing what you want to do. I always believed that.
His website is full of little niche stuff; only an active screenwriter would know about the business. Such as talking to producers, what happens in a pitch meeting, copywriting help as well as traditional story direction. The reason this website different is it’s attached to an active podcast. Most sites even on this list have a not so consistent podcast.
2.) The Black List
blcklst.com is a site dedicated to introducing Hollywood executives with everyday screenwriters like never before. It’s famous for giving any writer with the talent a shot at striking a deal for there screenplay. Based solely on the skill of the writer and the interest of the producer and nothing more. Since its start in 2005, the blacklist is responsible for 400 produced films, 262 academy nominations, and 53 academy awards.
For a fee less than $100.00, you can receive feedback from one of there script readers and a score displayed on their site which then Hollywood personnel can through to find there next project. Receiving a score of 8 or higher out of 10 gets you noticed more favorably, and your script will probably sell. But a score of 7 isn’t the end of the world. Submit your writing to producers on say IMDB though email with the social proof of a blacklist score of 7. This gives you credibility and a lot of writers have sold there seven rated scripts independently.
Reddit.com/r/Screenwriting or what I like to call the cold hard truth. Reddit is a place for like-minded people to collab and talks about topics they love. So, of course, it has its screenwriting hub. Forget googling screenwriting information you can Reddit it.
Almost every topic including the ones most sites stay away from. Such as thoughts on working with individual production companies, real-life success and horror stories. I’ve probably learned more from Reddit screenwriting books.
Going back to the hardcore truth. The Reddit community isn’t afraid to tell it straight. But that’s why it made this list. I won’t divulge too much juicy information or this post might be too long, but actors, producers and company owners have been known to release details on what they are looking for and what they hate about the industry getting you an inside advance on what you should be writing.
Imsdb.com or the Internet Movie Script Database is the one-stop place for all study material. Your hub for almost every screenplay in existence, full movie scripts. If it was written, you probably could find it here. Now as an up and coming screenwriter I probably don’t have to explain to you the importance of reading other peoples work. Especially the work that gets produced.
For me, this was hard to except. I didn’t want to take the time out and read other work personally. But to get better its a must. Swallow your pride, make the time whatever you have to do read as many screenplays as possible.
From this, you start to see similarities in what produced screenplays have over others. You can also compare with screenplays that get below a 7 rating on the Black List and these produced ones. Doing this will save you at least three years of trial and error.
This site reminds me a little of Reddit without the community aspect of it. On Reddit sometimes you need to post questions the community hasn’t explicitly answered. With screenwtiting.io whoever is running this site seems to find all the little minute questions people have and gives small straight forward answers to them for example:
- How do you indicate voiceover from a different point in time?
- What does “Off him…” mean in a screenplay?
- Should I use real locations in my spec?
Questions that come up in your head that most sites don’t have the answer too this site will have it. I don’t use screenwriting.io as much anymore now that I have more expereince. Now and again, I might go here for a different perspective on how to format something.
Script reader pro is about the only website on this list that I will list that sells some script services, including doctoring, courses, notes, etc. But in my opinion its the best site for it. They give good sound advice on what’s working and what isn’t.
Depending on the services you purchase they could give you anywhere from 4 to 12 pages of notes. On top of that, they’re one of the few script service companies that have readers with actually industry connections — most of the time their people who were hired from the internet by filling out an application. I should know I was one of them two years ago.
Filmcoruage.com is not just a hub of film information with there podcast and blog, but something you can say is dedicated to screenwriters because most of there information even with there interviews on youtube have mostly been about screenwriters. Yes now they are starting to branch out into acting and directing but when they first started they mainly had nothing but writers, and it shows.
I think of this site like John August’s but with 6x more screenwriters with unique perspectives on the matter.
Stage32.com is a hidden gem. Think LinkedIn for filmmakers. They have meetups for industry professionals in all popular cities around the US. They also have a discussion board that resembles Reddit, a blog and job posting for people who are hiring screenwriters and other film professionals.
So this site sounds just like the rest right, wrong! The reason it’s on this list is you get unlimited opportunities to pitch to producers via there script services tab.
Every day they have anywhere from 20 -30 producers sign up to be pitched one on one in a skype like situation. Each producer has there interest via horror comedy etc. They also provide a quick bio of movies they have produced in the past so you can get a good sense of what they’re interested in hearing. Even if you’re unsure if your pitch is good or not sign up for a slot and try it out. Best case they ask to read your script worst case you never see that person again.
wga.org is the writers guild of America. They also have a branch in every part of the world whether your in Germany or Japan. Trust me I live in Japan now. Their sole responsibility is protecting you as the writer form getting run over by production companies. Without the WGA writers, we as writers wouldn’t obtain half of the things we take now for granted.
Why the site made this list is because they give you information on your rights as a writer in the negotiation process and guarantee minimums for your work. They also provide contracts in case you want to work with an independent producer.
Do you want to work overseas for say China? Understand what your value is at all times by checking the WGA? The WGA also provides health insurance for any working writer as well as restaurant and hotel discounts worldwide for those who travel on business or just for a vacation. Check out the site for everything you get once you sign up.
Inktip.com is like the blacklist but for independent producers. They do ruffly the same thing, but it caters to smaller budget productions. Determine if your film needs that Hollywood spin or the attention from a minor team before picking which site to market your screenplay. They also have around 375 produced movies since the site has been up — Ruffly the same number as the blacklist. If you’re a member of the WGA, your sale price for your script won’t most likely drop because of lower budgets.
So pretty cool site but why did it make it on this list? If you sign up for there weekly preferred newsletter they give you a list of producers with precisely what they’re looking for in scripts — giving you a chance to send a query letter almost every week for your film to a new interested producer.
Masterclass.com is a site dedicated to learning. Not just of film and production but all things, such as cooking, sports, music production, and even space exploration. But for the sake of this list, we are going ot only focus on the film & TV tab as well as the writing tab under the search bar. from there you will see 14 classes as of this date. All of them have some portion of there course dedicated to scripts and how to work with or on them. But five classes in particular specifically focus on writing.
Those classes are:
- Arron Sorkin teaches Screenwriting
- Shonda Rhimes teaches Writing for Television
- Judd Apatow teaches Comedy
- David Mamet teaches Dramatic Writing
- Neil Gaiman teaches Storytelling
Why is Masterclass on this list? Well because out of all the paid online classes I’ve taken to try to learn to screenwrite even the ones at university, I’ve learned the most from these classes in a shorter time, 3x my knowledge.
The best people to learn from are the people who are currently doing what your trying to do as I said about John August. The list above is the creme of the crop and will be remembered for what they are doing today. I’ve written reviews about some of these classes you can check out.
12.) The Script Lab
Thescriptlab.com is a site dedicated to getting you more exposure as a screenwriter. How they do this is by listing every relevant screenwriting competition you can enter currently. They keep a very up to date list of deadlines, rules, and the benefits of each contest in a very detailed and organized format.
You can submit to any screenwriting competition right from there website, which is excellent because in my expereince finding out the rules and guidelines in the past have always been a little bit difficult to maneuver. So if you are planning to release your film out to the world via a contest, please check this site out first.
13.) Studio Binder
Studiobinder.com is a site all about taking your script to production and the edit. Which we know as the three times you make your film.
- Are you just a screenwriter?
- Are you a writer-director?
- Are you a writer-producer?
- Are you going to collaborate with any other writers?
If you answered yes to any of those questions I recommend you check this site out. Studio Binder is interactive software that helps each part of the film process beginning with the script. From there other writers can work with you as well as your production staff.
Studio binder is an all in one program that keeps communication at an all-time high from the writer down to the production assistant. On top of that, they have a trendy blog that seems to answer questions that at least I’ve noticed piqued my interest. But I think there best blog format would have to be there video series on youtube.
lessonsfromthescreenplay.com is more of a youtube channel than a website when you visit the home page. I believe it originally started as a youtube channel with it’s 1 million subscribers. But never the less I found it via a google search and loved the breakdowns the host provides.
Why did this make it on this list? Well, its a more interactive way of learning to screenwrite. The host takes a script and compares it with the actual film side by side so you can see precisely how a screenwriter writes all the little nuances that are hard to express on paper. For example, take a look at the Gone Girl video breakdown below.
15.) Final Draft
Finaldraft.com had to make this list because out of every script software that has come and gone including the completely free ones final draft seems to stand the test of time.
It has been the industry standard for 95% screenwriters in Hollywood. This site’s traffic is on fire. The best part of this you pay a one time fee and never have to pay for software again. Most programs now try to make you pay monthly which over time can add up to more than Final Draft is worth altogether. So im my opinion, it’s worth it especially if your a serious writer.
The website is complete with a blog teaching you the proper format of a screenplay and gives writing advice from industry professionals.
16.) Go into The Story
At first, this site can seem like an average everyday screenwriting blog that is until you find out it was rated one of the best screenwriting blogs on the internet not too long ago. Not just because it been going so long but because of it gets 1,000’s of questions that newer or maybe even experienced screenwriters have about the story and turns them into blog posts. To display these questions, the blog has a dedicated tab.
For example, are screenwriting contest even worth it? This is a question half of these websites would stay away from because its there income and touching a topic like this could sink their business, but this blog doesn’t make money off of contests they get attention from telling the truth.
17.) Freshmen Screenplay
Now you know we had to throw us in the mix. The reason being is we don’t have a course or program to sell. Just like Reddit screenwriting we are honest like Go into The Story, and we want to be a hub for writers to meet industry professionals like stage 32.
By combining the most magnificent ideas from the websites above we hope to be more of a one-stop shop for you as a screenwriter than to keep track of 16 different sites to get what you need to be inspired to write, create and sell your next screenplay.
There’s are a lot of websites for screenwriting out there. Trust me I checked. I dismissed almost 100 before finding the list above. But only a handful will get you the right knowledge and point you in the right direction. Ultimately getting your screenplay read and sold. So please click any of the following links on this page and explore these sites for yourself.
Tell me what you think of this list did we miss any sites that should be given a spot?