Daily Dojo

Screenwriting Blogs / Sites I Read Every Day

I’ve got a few minutes, so I thought I’d write some words about the screenwriting blogs that, if writing for the screen is something you dig, you should be aware of …

It’s a hard thing, keeping a lively blog about that particular subject, and over the years I’ve seen many come and go as they run out of things to share or talk about … it’s one reason I consider my blog to be primarily a personal blog about my life rather than one that’s focused solely on screenwriting … for one, I’m interested in many things (martial arts being one) beyond screenwriting, and two, I still consider myself a student of the craft … I think I’m still learning.

Over on the side is my blogroll is all of them, grouped by subject, and while I recommend all of them, most of the following screenwriting blogs below are the ones I check every day, more than once …

Here we go:

Go Into The Story

Any list of screenwriting blogs should begin or end with Scott Myers’ blog Go Into The Story, which is, in my opinion, the Kentucky Derby of screenwriting blogs … and I mean that, I don’t write that to slur anyone else, it’s simply that Scott’s blog is one of the most prodigious (he averages six … SIX … posts a day … yeah, you read that right) and varied (in addition to scene and character breakdowns, he also analyzes spec sales, great characters, script to screen … he does a lot) and Scott’s a pro, too, he’s written major studio movies … and he’s a teacher, too, he teaches an online Master Screenwriting Class that I recommend …

If it’s your first time there, I recommend the Business of Screenwriting Series (Scott talks about the biz aspect of the craft) and the How They Write Series (Scott breaks down how major screenwriters approach their work).

Scott’s a good friend of mine, we met through our blogs, and met again when he was in New York, and talk often, so it could be that I’ve spoken with him so much on so many subjects, perhaps I’m being subjective … maybe, that is, until you visit Go Into The Story and realize, yeah, this blog rocks … A LOT … and Scott does it all on his own. Scott’s a machine, a writing machine, and he’s a great guy, to boot … So tag this one and visit it every day. He’s also on Twitter.

Follow him, friends, stat.

John August

I first found John’s site a few months after I began my own blog … he was featured in an article in the New York Times about his blog, actually, and I ran there fast. John wrote, obviously, GO and CHARLIE’S ANGELS and a lot of Tim Burton movies, among others … he’s also invented scrippits (an app that makes it possible to write screenplay format online) and some other things … He has a wealth of posts to choose from, as that he’s been doing this for a long time (originally it began as a Q & A thing on imdb, then moved to his blog) and he also often features writers breaking in … In particular, I like his video of him actually writing (we see the text onscreen) and how he edits and rewrites … these days he shares blog author duties with his assistant (Stuart, I believe) but there’s plenty of learning to be found there.

Now that The Artful Writer seems to be retired, in my memory John’s the one major screenblogger from the era when they blossomed (’04 -’05) still going strong.

Wordplayer.com: WORDPLAY - Screenwriting Secrets from Working Screenwriters TERRY ROSSIO & TED ELLIOTT

It’s not really a blog, per se, but a resource site with a gold mine of columns and essays on the nature of writing film, and by gold mine, I mean a real gold mine. Take a day, go there and read every essay (by many, many working professionals). There’s also a forum for discussion of screenwriting, a place where you can debate or argue about format or anything … but the real value, for me, comes from the essays and columns … I’d start with Strange Attractors, go to the Million Dollar Mistake and then to Throw In The Towel and hit every one after. Like John August, Wordplayer’s been around for a long time, maybe longer than anyone … and there’s gold in them there hills …

Todd Alcott

Todd Alcott’s written movies (and just directed one, in fact), movies that you’ve probably heard of … he was also a playwright (like yours truly) and a mainstay in the theatre scene in New York before going out west to write movies … he’ll write about the business and craft, but the thing that makes his blog truly unique is his film breakdowns … he’ll break a movie down like no other I’ve seen, analyze the plot and themes … it’s a ride, you can go through his blog and see what he thought of every Spielberg film every made, or catch his take on Death Proof … the list goes on and on. The depth his analysis will astonish you, and if you’re starting out, yeah, that’s how deep people who do this really do really go when it comes to their craft.

Screenwriting Tips… You Hack

This is a great blog for those of you who have very little time to surf the internet … Hack posts one tip per day, one screenwriting tip and one only, but it’s always a good one … and he’s been doing it for a long time, so you can backtrack them all, or … order his book, coming out this fall, and you’ll have them in handy book form for the next time you’re on the train.

Do it. It’s totally worth it.

The Bitter Script Reader

Bitter Script Reader is exactly that, but more fun … he’s a studio reader who talks about writing, movies and the business, sometimes all at once, and also interviews working pros, too … I hit the site once a day at least.

Sex In A Submarine

Bill Martell has 19 produced movies to his credit, many of them made for cable, Showtime and HBO, and what’s fascinating is that he did most of it all on his own, without an agent or manager (his story of his first agent is a classic, a tragic one, but classically comic all the same) and he also writes regular columns for screenwriting magazines and posts regular script tips.

Bamboo Killers

Emily Blake is a school teacher who writes screenplays on the side, and I dig her blog … I don’t know if it’s because she also does Muay Thai or what, but she chronicles her adventures of a writer looking for her break, and I like it a lot (even though I’ve never really been into LOLZ CATS pics) so check it out.

Matriarchal Script Paradigm

This is Kristy’s blog, Kristy’s another school teacher (though she’s been doing the blog for much longer, while she was still in college) and I’ve known her for quite awhile … she writes well about screenwriting, and I just like her writing. So go, visit.

The Unknown Screenwriter…

Ah, Unk … what can be said about Unk that can actually describe the experience of visiting his blog? It’s like the Matrix, it must be experienced … Because it truly is like no other, Unk knows the business, knows screenwriting and knows movies, he knows it all, little escapes his scrutiny … he doesn’t blog often (sometimes weeks will go by) but when he does blog, it’s usually a massive epic of a post covering rich territory … and he’s always funny, too … he’s Unk, yo …

ScriptShadow

Okay, this selection is somewhat controversial, as that SS analyzes recent specs and discusses their merits or lack thereof … all something that develop people and assistants and interns did via email long before blogs got big, of course, but a few folks took issue with the public nature of it, for reasons I’m not going to get into … in spite of the small brouhouhou (okay, I spelled that entirely wrong), it’s going strong and I think the reason is, the author (Carson) actually tries to understand why something works and why it doesn’t, he’s not simply a reader who flames anything out of his comfort zone (which happens a lot, and happens in the comments, too) but a guy trying to really figure out … how do the pros do this, what do they do well, what is it that the non-pros are missing?

Those are important questions, and that’s the reason I keep going back again and again. As I wrote in Being Deliberate, Analytical and More On Intent, there’s nothing more frustrating than someone who didn’t put any thought into their response, just had a knee jerk “I don’t like movies about dancing, therefore this must be bad” because that type of thinking (or non-thinking) does a disservice to the craft … and why I’ve been reading SS all this time is that he puts real thought into his reviews. He may not be right all the time, but no one is, and at the very least he’s thoughtful about his response.

Full disclosure, SS reviewed one of my scripts and liked it (though many of his regular readers flamed it in the comments) and he later did an interview with me. I thought his review was fair, even though I knew the subject matter of my script wasn’t in his ballpark …

SS reviews three pro scripts a week, has an article day on Thursday and on Friday reviews an amateur script. You can learn a lot by reading scripts. That’s all SS is about, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I think that’s a good thing.

As my friend Scott says, “Watch movies, read scripts, write every day” … it makes a real difference.

Those are my big ones.

There are many other great screenwriting blogs that I read, I just may not check them every day or (like Alligators in a Helicopter) they don’t post regularly or, like Kung Fu Monkey (which is all about TV now) post about other things …

If you have any blog that I’ve neglected to mention, please give it a shout out …

One Response to “ Screenwriting Blogs / Sites I Read Every Day”

  1. Mr A Says:

    Great list! Thanks for that! I myself found your blog through Script Shadow, actually :)

    One blog I think you should check out is Julie Gray’s “Just Effin’ Entertain Me” (http://www.justeffing.com/)

    She’s a script consultant who writes about pretty much every aspect of writing, whether it be blogging, litterature, or journalism. But the main focus is of course scriptwriting. She updates both her blog and podcasts pretty frenquently. Most def recommended.

    /Mr A

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