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Fun Joel's Screenwriting Blog


-- On Screenwriting and Related Topics

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Location: Los Angeles, CA

I moved from NYC to LA in October, 2003. And though I still think NYC is the greatest city in the world, I'm truly loving life here in the City of Angels. I'm a writer, reader, and occasional picture-taker.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Holiday Gifts for Screenwriters (Part I - Top 10)

Whether you celebrate Chanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or Festivus, this is the time of year for giving and getting gifts!

I've been meaning, for quite a while now, to list some of my favorite screenwriting books, so I figured I'd just make a bigger list here, sub-categorized to a degree, and list lots of my recommends. I realize that most of you reading this are the screenwriters themselves, so either buy yourself a gift, or feel free to drop the link to this to some of your friends and family members.

There are a lot of links/products here, so I'm splitting them into a few different posts. I hope you'll skim and browse a bit, and just view it as Fun Joel's mini screenwriter's catalog (that's a mini-catalog for screenwriters, not a catalog for small writers!).

Here we go:

The Soup-to-Nuts 10-pack

First off, I've selected 10 items that are essentials (I think) for nearly every writer, spanning the experience level from beginner to pro (or at least, near-pro). These are my absolute top picks!

Final Draft

Final Draft -- The top screenwriting software out there, and what I type all of my screenplays on.

Movie Magic Screenwriter Or:

Movie Magic Screenwriter -- This is, of course, an equally good option. Despite all the arguments floating around the scribosphere, it honestly makes little difference which program you use. Final Draft may be a bit more popular, but this one happens to be on sale right now!

Screenwriter's Bible

The Screenwriter's Bible -- A great guide to formatting, plus.

Syd Field: Screenplay


Screenplay -- The classic study of screenplay structure, by the master, Syd Field. Now in a brand new, revised edition!

Writer's Journey

The Writer's Journey -- A great study of how the motifs of the mythic Hero's Journey can be applied to modern storytelling, and screenwriting in particular.

Hero With 1000 Faces

The Hero With a Thousand Faces -- Or, you can (and probably should) go back and study one of the major sources. Campbell, in this classic, elucidates how the majority of world myths, across cultures, are really just retelling of a single uber-myth (hence, one hero with many distinct faces).

The Godfather -- One of the greatest films ever made, and an excellent and audacious screenplay. The script is out-of-print, though you can probably find one online. But the film itself is a great gift as well!
Jaws -- Another out-of-print script, but a film that is often mentioned as having perfect structure.

scr(i)pt magazine

scr(i)pt magazine -- The magazine I write for regularly. Buy a one-year subscription!

HCD: Representation


Hollywood Creative Directory - Representation -- Once a screenwriter is ready to look for an agent or manager, this is the absolute best resource for finding them.

Reading for a Living


Reading for a Living -- I've often said that becoming a pro reader is the best training for a screenwriter, or for any other job in film. Well, this is the best (and only, that I know of) book about how to do the job. I recommend it to anyone interested in becoming a reader, and I still consult it on occasion myself.

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Blogger writergurl said...

Wow, am I woefully unprepared... I only have FD7 and a few issues of "Scr(i)pt".

9:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this year for my local Screenwriter's Group I am bundling up a handful of my writing books, handing out numbers and letting them choose a gift from me... it is my way of giving and spreading the knowledge (and then with my christmas cash I can go to Borders and buy new ones)

4:03 PM  
Blogger Fun Joel said...

Well, get shopping, Gurl! ;-)

Nice one, Quill.

7:00 PM  
Blogger Shawna said...

I would add that a box of brads is always a nice stocking stuffer.

My sister gifted me with a box already this year, since I had run out.

I'd also like to recommend buying yourself a really good pillow. A good night's sleep is very important for writing, so a pillow which aids this is a necessity.

12:10 AM  
Blogger Casey said...

this is super helpful. my boyfriend just graduated from film school and is trying his hand at screenwriting. i was racking my brain trying to think of some good books to give him but i haven't any idea which are good and which are wastes of time. this list helps. thank you!

7:43 PM  

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