Since this is the beginning of this blog, I will start with the beginning of a film’s process. I will highlight the first category in filmmaking and list useful resources available for it on the Net. I will list a few samples with a brief description – the first being an obvious and well known site and then move to more obscure/less known sites.
SCREENWRITING – the first element of narrative filmmaking. I cannot say enough for the importance of this category, so I won’t. I’ll just begin with what I think is the best site for screenwriters and the process of screenwriting: johnaugust.com. John August [IMDB Info] gives great advice by answering reader-submitted questions and archives all the info. He also does this for IMDB in a column called “Ask A Filmmaker” along with director Penelope Spheeris [IMDB Info] and cinematographer Oliver Stapleton [IMDB Info]. Mr. August has written some big films like Go, Charlie’s Angels, Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and just directed his first, The Nines. Johnaugust.com covers a lot about structure along with general rants. The site also has the quintessential screenwriting glossary.
Another great site for answering reader’s questions is “Hollywhooped” by David H. Steinberg [IMDB Info]. It’s part of the Done Deal Pro website, but it’s a free column available outside their subscriber membership. David answers more about the business of screenwriting and often applies a tough-love approach to his responses. So, if you’re thin-skinned and/or don’t spell-check your e-mails, be warned. If you really like getting abused, try “Ask Dick Hollywood” in Fade In Magazine.
Those two sites will help with the process of screenwriting. When you get down to writing, everyone knows that Final Draft is the most popular software, but if you can’t afford $200 bucks, try Celtx. You can write your script with it, break it down and share it with contributors. It also has lots of features for organizing Pre-Production and a pretty good forum. And did I mention that Celtx is FREE (open source). I was using it several versions ago and needed to opt out to Final Draft because my project needed to be completed asap. I couldn’t wait around with a beta version of the software. They are currently at version 0.9.9.1 and worked out several of the bugs out.
If you want a very low tech addition to formatting your Microsoft Office Word docs, try dependentfilms.com‘s Tools & Utilities For Filmmakers section. They have three free zipped files for download that will format your Word docs: !Script (69K), Script Maker (53K), Simply Screenplay (96.6K).
Additional Screenwriting resources:
For additional resources, check out Filmlinker’s Screenwriting Links Directory.