"Only someone who is well prepared has the opportunity to improvise." ~Ingmar Bergman

“The structure of a play is always the story of how the birds came home to roost." ~ Arthur Miller

“I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” ~Pablo Picasso


"Comedy is tragedy plus time." ~Carol Burnett

“It's funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you watch them on a screen.”~Anthony Burgess

Who Is Saul Bass, Today's Google Doodle Honoree? (Tierney Sneed, U.S. News, 5-8-13). With "The Man with the Golden Arm" this graphic designer revolutionized the way movies did opening credits

I Will Not Read Your F--king Script by Josh Olson, screenwriter for A History of Violence (Village Voice 9-9-09). And I quote: "...an ugly truth about many aspiring screenwriters: They think that screenwriting doesn't actually require the ability to write, just the ability to come up with a cool story that would make a cool movie. Screenwriting is widely regarded as the easiest way to break into the movie business, because it doesn't require any kind of training, skill or equipment. Everybody can write, right? And because they believe that, they don't regard working screenwriters with any kind of real respect. They will hand you a piece of inept writing without a second thought, because you do not have to be a writer to be a screenwriter."

Timed movie quizzes (JetPunk's quiz site)
_________
Sunny day
Sweepin' the clouds away
On my way to where the air is sweet
~ Joe Raposo (for Sesame Street)
________

"He also hews to the rules of myth, as did the book's author, Jeanne DuPrau. Doon lives with his dad, and Lina has lost both parents, and will soon lose her grandmother. Fractured families, dead or absent parents -- this is the emotional space storytellers have set aside for ages (Bambi, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, Harry Potter) in order to allow their fictional charges to run off into places that children should know better than to go. This is the land of childhood terrors, filled with subterranean fears and the yawning gulf of adulthood. It's the last stop for children -- the place where you can cry in the dark, but nobody is ever coming to turn on the light and pat your back and tell you everything is going to be all right in the morning. You have to make it that way yourself."

~Neely Tucker, Washington Post, in a review of the film "City of Ember"

"I write to find out what I'm thinking."
~ Edward Albee


As Frost might have written, "The woods are lovely, dark and thick. But I have many butts to kick and some to poke and just one stick."
~ Garrison Keillor, 2006

Quick Links

Find Authors

Films, plays, and documentaries

For screenwriters, playwrights, documentary filmmakers, critics, fans



Workshops and other learning venues

• Robert McKee's Story Seminar Resources (outstanding page of links to resources, from the best-known trainer in screenwriting)
• Writers Boot Camp Fellowship (intense work on screenwriting for Hollywood and television, in NY and LA). See A Review by Franco Barbeite et al and outline of Basic Training course. Requires 10 hours of writing a week. Read 12 Commonly Held Fallacies about Writing for Film and Television by Jeffrey Gordon, founder of Writers Boot Camp. For the Professional Membership Program, "Though your commitment does not require quitting your day job or investing in school full-time, you need ten hours for writing outside of class, and we recommend that for at least 40 weeks out of the 52-week calendar year to scale the true learning curve and sustain a professional pace. " According to messages on the NYC Screenwriters Collective meetup message board, in the 22 month program participants produce "2-3 screenplays or 4-5 TV Spec scripts at a PROFESSIONAL level (i.e. done and ready for sale, not first drafts) by the end of the program." The fee for the 22-month program is $6900.
• Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting (competitive, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences)
• Nickelodeon Writing Program (competitive)
• Atlanta Film Festival worksbops
• Film Education (helpful articles on Film Independent). See also Short Fix, Independent POV , and Screen Shot.
• How to Write a Screenplay ScreenwritingInfo.com, screenwriting for dummies -- a step-by-step guide from the mechanics of writing to style-- a good resource for an overview and explanations of terms, etc. -- I can't figure out whose website this is!)
• American Widescreen Museum ( cyber museum of motion picture history, especially widescreen processes, early color cinematography, and the technical development of sound film)
• The Basics of Video Editing: The Complete Guide (Adam Dachis, Lifehacker Night School). "Last week we learned the basics of video editing, covering everything from the general workflow to special effects and color correction to a primer on encoding and delivery. Here's the complete guide with all the videos and notes in one convenient location."
• ScriptNotes (Screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin discuss screenwriting and related topics in the film and television industry, everything from getting stuff written to the vagaries of copyright and work-for-hire law--with podcasts and notes)
• Craig Mazin Talks Shop at WGAW Screenwriters Workshop (Writers Guild of America, West)
• Cinema history (Robert E. Yahnke's links, a personal history of cinema through the decades)
• Writing for Episodic TV (download free handbook, Writers Guild of America)
Still working on this section!
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Screenwriting competitions (etc.)


• Screenwriting Contests, Directory (MovieBytes), which can be viewed through different filters. Particularly useful may be Most Significant Screenwriting Contests (user-ranked through MovieBytes "Report Card" system) Check out the Comments on each contest.
• Choosing the Best Scriptwriting Contest for You (FilmScripting.Com)
• International Screenwriters' Association (ISA) rolling list of competitions.
• Award Annals (ranks creative works honored by more than 180 book awards, film awards, and music awards). Here is information about the 69 award organizations represented on Award Annals.
• Film Awards (Wikipedia)
• The Writers Guild Awards (Adapted and Original Screenplay, Drama, Comedy and New TV Series, TV-Radio Writing Award Script, Paul Selvin Award, Documentary Screenplay Award, New Media Writing Awards, Videogame Writing Award)
• Film award ceremonies and festivals (Internet Movie Database, IMDb)
• Award Annals (ranks creative works honored by more than 180 book awards, film awards, and music awards). Here is information about the 69 award organizations represented on Award Annals.
Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Scientists established this international screenwriting competition to identify and encourage talented new screenwriters. Up to five $35,000 fellowships (plus meetings with studios, producers, ad agents) are awarded annually, to screenwriters who have not earned more than $5,000 writing fictional work for film or television.
• Sundance Film Festival
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Story Structure

Robert McKee
• Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee. The bible on film, say many.
• McKee Story Seminars
• Storylogue (subscribe to daily McKee lessons and get access to backlog)
• Story Seminar Resources (McKee's excellent links)
• McKee Story Structure (Kenny Kemp's notes, PDF)
Syd Field
• Syd Field, Syd. The Screenwriter's Workbook
• Field, Syd. The Screenwriter's Problem Solver: How to Recognize, Identify, and Define Screenwriting Problems. In her book review, Suzie Quint applies plot problem-solving to novels.
Blake Snyder
Blake's Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need. Popular book on structure and storytelling, and if Snyder's Beat Sheet (a list of points in a film script) helps you, look also at Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies: The Screenwriter's Guide to Every Story Ever Told (discussed in terms of concept, logline, and treatment) and Save the Cat! Strikes Back: More Trouble for Screenwriters to Get into ... and Out of (more on finding the spine of the story, with examples from popular films -- read Suzie Quint's review, for romance writers.
Peter Suderman, in Slate, writes Save the Movie! "The 2005 screenwriting book that’s taken over Hollywood—and made every movie feel the same." He blames its formula for scripts for the cookie cutter nature of studio films.
• The Save the Cat! Beat Sheet
Three-act structure
• Three-act structure (Wikipedia)
• What's wrong with the three-act structure (James Bonnet)
• What's right with the three-act structure (by Yves Lavandier). See also Excerpt from "Structure" chapter (Yves Lavandier's Writing Drama)
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Formatting resources


You must provide the correct formatting for stage directions, dialogue, etc.
• How to Format A Stage Play (Script Frenzy)
• Formatting do's and don'ts for screenplays (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences)
• Most common script formats
• Two-column shooting script (Capuchino High School)

Software to format screenplays, teleplays, and stage plays


Includes Celtx, DreamaScript, Movie Magic Screenwriter, Scrivener, Final Draft, Movie Outline 3.0, FiveSprockets, and Montage.
• Best Screenwriting Software (ranked, Top Ten Reviews)
• Final Draft (recommended by Robert McKee)
• Scrivener (inexpensive and can be used for formatting fiction and screen and stage plays. "You can even mix up script formatting with regular text for writing treatments.")
• Screenwriting Pro software
• Movie Magic Screenwriter Version 6
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Resources on documentaries


This list is just begun. Let me know about stories and articles I should add to it.
• Crowdfunding Journalistic and Photojournalistic Projects (Amanda Lin Costas, MediaShift, 7-9-12, writing about Spot.us (community-funded reporting), KickStarter (a funding platform for creative projects) IndieGoGo (an international crowdfunding site), emphas.is (now insolvent, photojournalists were to pitch their projects to the public), and FundedByME. Another funder of photography-centered campaigns: GoGetFunded.
• Can 'fake' documentaries still tell the truth? (Guardian, 9-30-10). Films that use lip synching, staged scenes and other truth-massaging techniques are making our old definitions of 'documentary' look decidedly – well, artificial. Xan Brooks goes after the facts
• Michael Moore's 13 Rules for Making Documentary Films (Michael Moore, IndieWire, 9-10-14)
• Making a Living as a Documentary Filmmaker Is Harder Than Ever. Here's Why. ( Paula Bernstein, Indiewire, 6-11-14)
• 6 Filmmakers Talk About Documentary Films in the Digital Age (Amanda Lin Costa, MediaShift, 1-9-12)
• Localore Winners Gear Up to Transform Public Media (Jessica Clark, MediaShift, 1-30-12)
• How Greek Journalists Use Digital Media to Cover the Financial Crisis (Elina Makri, Media Shift, 11-20-12, on Web radio, audio documentaries, crowdfunded crisis-related documentaries, Web TV, opinion portals)
• Camera, laptop, action: the new golden age of documentary (Sean O'Hagan, The Observer, 11-6-10). From Kevin MacDonald's examination of the YouTube phenomenon to a cab ride with Osama bin Laden's former bodyguard, cheap technology is allowing film-makers to stretch the form as never before
• How to Win an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature (or At Least Have a Shot at It) (Paula Bernstein, IndieWire, 6-10-14)
• Do documentaries need to be fair to both sides of an issue? (Noel Murray, AV Club, 10-10-12). The A.V. Club covers film, tv, video, music, books, comedy)
• Unbound: The Story of the Romero Theater Troupe (about Jim Walsh's wonderful social justice project, as described on IndieGoGo.
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Video tutorials


• Knight Digital Media Center video tutorials, including tutorial on Editing in Final Cut Pro.
• The Basics of Video Editing: The Complete Guide (Adam Dachis, Lifehacker Night School)
• Multimedia Shooter's tutorials
• How to fail at online video (Glen Canning's tongue-in-cheek guide to how to do it wrong)
• Media College Video Camera Tutorials
• Apple tutorials
• GeniusDV tutorials, including Learning to Use Modifier [shortcut] Keys in Final Cut Pro (GeniusDV.com)
(These recommendations courtesy of Alan Haburchak, who spoke on a panel at the ASJA 2011 conference, together with Michael Cervieri and Dave Cullen (Lindsey O'Connor moderated).

Script Libraries


• Awesome Film (scripts for well-known films)
• BBC Writers Room, Script Library (read BBC TV, radio, and film scripts)
• John August's script library
• The Daily Script (screenplay and TV scripts you can read online, plus links)
• The Weekly Script (every week a script to read)
• Drew's Script-O-Rama (free movie scripts and screenplays)
• Movie Page
• Science Fiction and Fantasy scripts
• Where to Download Scripts (Alex Epstein, author of Crafty TV Writing: Thinking Inside the Box and Crafty Screenwriting: Writing Movies That Get Made)
• For Budding Screenwriters, a Way Past the Studio Gates (Rachel Dodes, Wall Street Journal, 12-13-12). The Black List, compiled by Franklin Leonard, is an elite compendium of unproduced scripts, many of which don't stay that way long after appearing on the list. "If the model succeeds, it could help more aspiring screenwriters get their work past Hollywood's gatekeepers and into the hands of people who actually make movies."See The Black List
• WGAWest Script Registry When you register your script prior to submitting it to agents, managers, or producers, you document your authorship on a given date should there be unauthorized usage.
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Pitching

• Learning to Be "Good in a Room" (part 1) by Scott W. Smith (Screenwriting from Iowa and Other Unlikely Places, 4-2-08) and part 2.
• Doug Eboch's full series on pitching (Let's Schmooze, Doug Eboch on Screenwriting, 2012 and 2013)
• Good in a Room (Stephanie Palmer's blog). For example: Pitch Your Project At American Film Market 2013. More about American Film Market.
• InkTip Pitch & Networking Summit
• 5 Ways To Pitch Like Ron Howard by Stephanie Palmer, Good in a Room (learn how to pitch, persuade, and sell), 8-23-12. See also her entry How Screenwriter Evan Daugherty Scored a $3.2M Payday for “Snow White and the Huntsman” (6-26-12)
• Screenwriter/​Salesman Pete Jones (Scott W. Smith)
• The Blackboard: Blog entries on pitching (these and others)
• What David Simon’s Pitch for “The Wire” Can Teach Us About How to Sell An Original Idea (Stephanie Palmer, Good in a Room, 7-31-12)
• These are only some of the resources I found on the excellent Good in a Room blog (Scott W. Smith, Screenwriting from Iowa...and Other Unlikely Places) and The Black Board (the official online community of the Black List and Go Into the Story)
• TV Writers Vault (a website for pitching (and scouting for) ideas for TV shows, including reality TV shows)

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Entertainment and industry news

• Ain't It Cool News (movie, TV, DVD, and comic book news)
• (daily box office figures)
•
Box Office Guru (database of box office statistics on motion pictures released from 1989 to the present, plus weekend preview and reviews, international grosses, monthly averages, release schedule for coming four months)
• Broadcasting and Cable (industry news covering local TV; FCC regulation; HD, DTV and 3D technology; programming; syndication; and advertising)
• With a la Carte Cable, Pay for What You Watch (Peter Hart, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting, 5-1-12) A la carte is certainly no panacea, but giving citizens some say over what kind of media they’re getting—and what they’re paying for it—should be a priority.
• New Challenges Chip Away at Cable’s Pillar of Profit (David Carr, The Media, NY Times, ). "No less than Steve Jobs once reminded me that change happens slowly and then it happens all at once."
• Cable Companies Urged to Make Public Access Television Shows More Accessible (Democracy Now). "For years now, established cable companies along with new video service providers like AT&T & Verizon, have been downgrading the capacity of PEG TV channels, including the elimination of detailed, on-screen program descriptions from these noncommercial, community media institutions, effectively marginalizing the channels & the content they provide." "Many cable companies refuse to list the titles of shows that air on public access television stations in their on-screen guides. Now media activists are pushing for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to intervene."
• Comingsoon.net (cinema and DVD retail release dates, trailers, reviews and news.
• Deadline Hollywood ( an online magazine founded and edited by Nikki Finke, who began writing an LA Weekly column, Deadline Hollywood, in 2002, and began her Deadline Hollywood Daily blog in 2006--a candid, informed and authoritative source for breaking news in the infotainment industry. Part of Jay Penske's PMC.)
• Done Deal Pro (the business and craft of screenwriting)
• Entertainment Weekly (EW, entertainment news on celebrities, news, reviews, and recaps on TV shows, movies, music and books)
• E! Online (daily entertainment news, celebrities, celeb news, and celebrity gossip)
• FilmFestivals.com (database of 4,000 international film and television festivals)
• The Futon Critic (the Web's best resource about primetime television)
• Hollywood.com (entertainment website for fans of movies, television, and celebrities, with news of movies and Hollywood, movie reviews, and movie times)
• The Hollywood Reporter
• Inside Film Magazine (lists film festivals around the world and posts articles about independent films and filmmakers)
••• Internet Movie Database (IMDb) (wonderful, huge searchable database of information about films, TV, and celebrities, with info about current and upcoming movie releases, recent box office numbers, links to reviews and user ratings about each movie, which movies are showing near a particular zip code, entertainment news, and so on
• LA Weekly (on Movies) (section in top alternative Los Angeles newspaper)
• LA Times (entertainment section, online)
• Movie City News
• Movies.com ("all things movies")
• Movie Mom (Nell Minow's Movie Mom blog on Belief.net)
• New York Times Arts section online
• Thompson on Hollywood (Anne Thompson's blog on IndieWire, which Writers Guild West calls "an insider’s clear-eyed analysis of the business")
• TMZ.com (celebrity news and gossip and entertainment news)
• Vanderbilt Television News Archive (recording, preserving and providing access to television news broadcasts of the national networks since August 5, 1968--abstracts only, but show the first time something appeared on a broadcast)
• Vanity Fair (section on Hollywood)
• Variety (an American weekly entertainment-trade magazine)
• The Wrap (covering Hollywood)
• That's a wrap for movie magazines (Anne Thompson, Variety, 4-5-07). Long-form entertainment journalism pushed aside the movie magazines.
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Best films, movies, and TV shows, lists of
"Films are movies that can be judged artistically, rising above mere entertainment."--Sight and Sound
• Academy Awards for Best Pictures (Filmsite's list, with trivia). See also Academy Awards searchable database (nominees, winners, year, etc.)
• American Film Institute's 100 Years, 100 Movies lists (scroll left side to find 100 best thrillers, 100 best heroes and villains, 100 best film scores, 100 best musicals, etc. See also 100 Greatest Movies, a PDF document)
• All-Time 100 Best Films (picks of Time critics Richard Corliss and Richard Schickel)
• The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made (New York Times critics' list, with links to the reviews, which in some cases come years after the movie was released)
• Documentaries that won Academy Awards (Wikipedia list)
• Entertainment Weekly's 100 Greatest Films of All Time
• 50 Greatest Chick Flicks (O Magazine, posted on AMC website)
• Greatest Black Movies (nonso1990, Internet Movie DataBase)
• Greatest Guy Movies
• 101 Greatest Screenplays (Writers Guild of America, West)
• 101 Best-Written TV Series (Writers Guild of America) Top 20: 1. The Sopranos, 2. Seinfeld, 3. The Twilight Zone (1959), 4. All in the Family, 5. M*A*S*H, 6. The Mary Tyler Moore Show, 7. Mad Men, 8. Cheers, 9. The Wire, 10. The West Wing, 11. The Simpsons, 12. I Love Lucy, 13. Breaking Bad, 14. The Dick Van Dyke Show, 15. Hill Street Blues, 16. Arrested Development, 17. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, 18. Six Feet Under, 19. Taxi, 20. The Larry Sanders Show
• 101 Best-Written TV Series of All Time (Writers Guild of America, posted by Deadline Hollywood, 6-2-13)
• 10 Best Films of All Time (Sight & Sound Magazine, selected by film critics. Films are movies that can be judged artistically, rising above mere entertainment,) Posted on Filmsite. "Rules of the Game" appears on list most.
• The 10 best sci-fi TV shows ever written (Dan Roth, Blastr.com, pulls top 10 from WGA's list of 101 best TV shows). 3. The Twilight Zone, 26. The X-Files, 27. Lost, 33. Star Trek, 35. Twin Peaks, 38. Battlestar Galactica (2005), 40. Game of Thrones, 49. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 79. Star Trek: The Next Generation, 90. The Prisoner.
• Top 10 Sci-fi Shows (Blair Marnell, Craveonline, 6-1-10). Taking exception to those who consider "Lost" to be sci-fi, Marnell lists top 10 shows that explored the concepts of space travel and aliens on other worlds. His top 10 are 1. Doctor Who, 2. Farscape (" the true successor to the original "Star Trek" series"), 3. Star Trek 4. Babylon 5, 5. Battlestar Galactica, 6. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, 7. Star Trek: The Next Generation, 8. Firefly, 9. Blake’s 7, 10. Stargate SG-1. He writes, " If the original 27 year run of "Doctor Who" was under consideration by itself, it still would have made the top ten. But not at number one. It’s the current series that puts "Doctor Who" over the top."
• Top 15 Most Successful Book to Movie Adaptations (Film Production Schools blog)
• The Top 50 Greatest Films of All Time (Vertigo replaces Citizen Cane as #1, British Film Institute, Sight & Sound). But the Directors' Poll selects Tokyo Story and director Ozu Yasujirτ as the best of all time.
• Top Rated Documentary Films (IMDb chart).
• Top 250 Moviesas voted by IMDB users (Internet Movie DataBase chart)
• The 50 Best Movies on Netflix Instant (Josh Jackson, Paste, 5-23-12). Just to be practical--if you're looking for something to watch tonight, at home.
• TV Guide Magazine's 60 Best Series of All Time (12-23-13)


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Instant streaming options

Comparisons and reviews of, and stories about
(Amazon Plus, Netflix, Hulu Plus, etc.)

As cable bills escalate (think "price-gouging"), services that provide alternatives are increasingly tempting. These articles may help you plan your escape.
• Netflix Instant vs. Hulu Plus vs. Amazon Instant Video (Mike Flacy, Digital Trends review, 3-9-13) Hulu Plus may be best bet for catching recent TV shows.
• Netflix vs. Amazon Instant Video: Who streams supreme? (Russell Holly, Geek.com, 12-13-12) Netflix best for kid-friendly fare.
• Netflix vs. Hulu Plus: Who best fits your video streaming needs? (Russell Holly, Geek.com, 5-31-13) Includes information on which devices you need to "get" streaming.
• Amazon’s Streaming Service, David Pogue's comparison of Netflix Streaming and Amazon Streaming ("Potluck for the Eyeballs: Amazon's Streaming Service," NY Times, 8-29-12). A very helpful comparison of features, costs, and variety and extent of selections. ("[F]or both services, for years to come, it will be safer to say “I’m sure I can find something I like” than “I’m sure I can find that one movie.” "
• Netflix Instant vs. Amazon Prime(Jill Duffy, PC Magazine, 9-26-12) Includes comments on their recommendations and interface. selections, parental controls.
• Netflix vs. Hulu Plus vs. Amazon Prime: Which streaming service is best (uploaded by GoBankingRates.com YouTube review, 6-21-12). Netflix best for quality movies; Hulu Plus best for current TV (but there are ads); Amazon Prime good if you also order books and other goods from Amazon--you get free shipping).
• Amazon-hosted customer discussion forum on Amazon streaming vs Netflix (plus Hulu, Roku, and various practical considerations)
• Amazon Prime Streaming vs Netflix (comparison) (Kristie Bertucci, Gadget Review, 11-9-11). Dated, but an interesting series of comparisons.



Miscellaneous and Often Very Useful links


Act Like a Writer (Molly Ringwald, Opinionator, NY Times, 8-18-12). "The appeal of diving into a character has always been the back story: everything that my character has been through up to the point when the audience first encounters her. "

Amazon's Bad Deal. Craig Mazin (The Artful Writer, 11-20-10) writes: "Recently, Amazon launched 'Amazon Studios,' a strange mashup of contest/​development/​crowd-sourcing designed to help filmmakers 'break in' by getting noticed, winning money and even having their movies released by Warner Brothers. It’s a bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad deal," especially if your script is good." Screenwriter John August also weighs in against the idea: On the Amazon film thing.

The Basics of Video Editing: The Complete Guide (Adam Dachis, Lifehacker Night School). "Last week we learned the basics of video editing, covering everything from the general workflow to special effects and color correction to a primer on encoding and delivery. Here's the complete guide with all the videos and notes in one convenient location."

The Black Board (the official online community of the Black List and Go Into the Story)

Bookshops: Theatre and Film (most of them use the British "theatre" instead of the American "theater")
• Samuel French Bookshops (Los Angeles), amazing source for books, plays, screenplays, cast recordings, dialects, etc. (associated with , play publishers and representatives.
•
E-script Online Film and Theatre Bookstore (wide selection of contemporary plays, screenplays, and other theatre and film publications and recordings)
• Drama Book Shop, Inc. (New York, phone: 212-944-0595, tollfree from US and Canada: 800 322-0595, info@​dramabookishop.com)
Tell me if I have omitted anyone useful.
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Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Couldn't Lose: An oral history of Friday Night Lights (Robert Mays, Grantland, and the cast of the fabulous TV series Friday Night Lights, based on the narrative nonfiction bookFriday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, And A Dream by H.G. Bissinger. (Hate football? Watch and read it anyway. Great work!)

Collaboration agreement forms for authors and screenwriters (James A. Conrad). You may find section on collaboration agreements helpful, though its main focus is book collaborations.

Danish filmwriters' vow of chastity. On Poynter online, Roy Peter Clark (in "Why nonfiction writers should take a vow of chastity") comments on a public manifesto Danish screenwriters Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg propose, because so many film makers had abandoned cinematic artistic integrity. Among ten points listed: 1. Shooting must be done on location. Props and sets must not be brought in (if a particular prop is necessary for the story, a location must be chosen where this prop is to be found). Clark proposes a parallel vow of chastity for nonfiction writers.

Digital vs. film. At the Summer Box Office, a Battle Between Two Ways of Filming (Govindini Murty and Jason Apuzzo, The Atlantic, 5-14-12). Digital moviemaking is on the rise, but some high-profile directors still shoot popcorn flicks the old way. A review of, and essay drawn from, Side by Side: The Science, Art, and Impact of Digital Cinema, a documentary that examines "the intensified, late-stage competition between film and digital." The digital process makes it easier for everyone to make a movie--it democratizes the process. But there are many digital formats and down the road we may not be able to share and preserve those digital movies.


Done Deal Professional (about the business and craft of screenwriting -- e.g., tracks film and television script sales & deals made in Hollywood each day)

Everybody in Hollywood Needs an eBook Strategy (Mike Shatzkin, The Shatzkin Files 5-14-12). "A Big Six CEO told me last week that the two core skills and competencies that publishers require are 'editorial,' picking the books and developing them, and 'marketing,' letting the interested public know the book is there." Shatzkin tells Hollywood its opportunity is here: Make eBooks of all the Seinfeld scripts, for example....

Fair use, copyright, social media, and multimedia


• WGAWest Script Registry When you register your script prior to submitting it to agents, managers, or producers, you document your authorship on a given date should there be unauthorized usage.
The Center for Social Media at American University has posted excellent resources, especially on best practices in fair use of various multimedia, including the following documents:
• Statement of Best Practice in Fair Use of Dance-Related Materials
• Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for OpenCourseWare
• Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video
• The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education
• Fair Use in Media Literacy Education FAQ
• Recut, Reframe, Recycle: Quoting Copyrighted Material in User-Generated Video
• Frequently asked questions about fair use, based on these statements of practice
• The Cost of Copyright Confusion for Media Literacy
• Unauthorized: The Copyright Conundrum in Participatory Video
• The Good, The Bad and the Confusing: User-Generated Video Creators on Copyright
• Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use
• Success of the Statement of Best Practices
• Digital Futures: A Need-to-Know Policy Guide for Independent Filmmakers.
• John August posts on rights and copyright
• Documentary Filmmakers Win Exemption From Digital Millennium Copyright Act (PRWeb, 7-28-10). "Documentary Filmmakers Granted Access to Previously Off Limits DVD Content, Restoring Their Fair Use Rights" -- From the Library of Congress: Rulemaking on Exemptions from Prohibition on Circumvention of Technological Measures that Control Access to Copyrighted Works.
• Digital Millennium Copyright Act, DMCA Takedown Notices, and Related Issues (on the Copyright page of Writers and Editors website
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Field Guide to Sponsored Films by Rick Prelinger (PDF about the Prelinger Archives of 51,000 advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur films, acquired by the Library of Congress in 2002). Also available from third-party sellers as a book

15 Most Successful Book-to-Movie Adaptations (Film Production Schools blog)

The 50 greatest matte paintings of all time. The art of the glass shot or matte painting originated in the early ‘teens’ of the silent era. The matte process is one whereby a limited film set may be extended to whatever, or wherever the director’s imagination dictates with the employment of a matte artist.

Film blogs:
• 100 Best Blogs for Film and Theater Students (Best University)
• The Top Film Criticism Sites, Annotated blog, Part 1 (Paul Brunick & Staff, Slant Magazine)
• The Artful Writer (Craig Mazin and Ted Elliott's blog: information, theory and debate for the professional screenwriter)
• The Black List (blog for The Black List, an annual list of the most popular unproduced screenplays as voted on by Hollywood insiders). You can see previous releases of the Black List here.
• Blogcritics
• Film (blogging the reel world)
• Cinematical (good writing for film lovers)
• Complications Ensue: The Crafty TV and Screenwriting Blog (Alex Epstein on the craft of screenwriting for tv and movies)
• Deadline Hollywood Daily (Hollywood news)
• The Film Experience (cinephile Nathaniel R. Gemini)
• A Filmmaker's Life (Jacques Thelemaque, on being an indie filmmaker)
• Films Gone Wild
• Filmmaker Magazine blog (good magazine and blog for learning about indie films, filmmakers, filmmaking, and film festivals)
• Greencine Daily (from highbrow and avant garde to blockbuster movies)
• HD for Indies (High Definition Video for Independent Filmmakers, Mike Curtis's how-to blog for digital filmmakers)
• Hope for Film blog (Ted Hope, an indie film producer)
• The Hot Blog (Ray Pride's blog Movie City News)
• The Hotlist (keeps members of Writers Guild of America West abreast of the latest New Media trends by featuring some of the most cutting edge content on the Web)
• indieWire Blog Network (several blogs)
• io9 (blog about science fiction films)
• Jane Espenson's blog about writing scripts on spec
• John August (blog for writers by a veteran screenwriter--with much useful information about screenwriting)
• Movie Mom (Nell Minow, Belief.Net, on good movies for kids and families)
• Playblog (Playbill's blog)
• Roger Ebert
• Running with My Eyes Closed (Jill Gollick's blog on television writing for screenwriters)
• Slashfilm.com (blogging the reel world)
• Thompson on Hollywood (Anne Thompson, IndieWire.com, a mix of Hollywood and Indie news)
This list is incomplete but it's a start.
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Film Criticism Is Dying? Not Online Thanks to the Internet, there is more and better writing about movies than ever before, says Roger Ebert (WSJ, 1-22-11). Some of the main sites for film criticism:
• David Bordwell
• Edward Copeland on Film
• Musings by film commentators from around the world (SunTimes blog, edited by Ebert)
• Cahiers du cinιma

For Budding Screenwriters, a Way Past the Studio Gates (Rachel Dodes, Wall Street Journal, 12-13-12). The Black List, compiled by Franklin Leonard, is an elite compendium of unproduced scripts, many of which don't stay that way long after appearing on the list. "If the model succeeds, it could help more aspiring screenwriters get their work past Hollywood's gatekeepers and into the hands of people who actually make movies."See The Black List

Formatting resources

You must provide the correct formatting for stage directions and for dialogue. Software to format screenplays, teleplays and stage plays includes Celtx, DreamaScript, Movie Magic Screenwriter, Scrivener, Final Draft, Movie Outline 3.0, FiveSprockets, and Montage.
• How to Format A Stage Play (Script Frenzy)
Formatting do's and don'ts for screenplays (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences)
• Movie Magic Screenwriter Version 6
• Scrivener (can be used for formatting both fiction and screen and stage plays. "You can even mix up script formatting with regular text for writing treatments.")


Go Into the Story (Scott Myers on screenwriting) -- check the links down right for some interesting pages, including A story idea each day for a month (click on them).

Harlan Ellison, the Great Ranter, writer of "speculative fiction"
Harlan Ellison: A Kind of Twisted Fantasy, Kurt Andersen's interview with Ellison on Studio 360 radio program (and check out the Bonus Track: "Harlan Ellison uncut")
http:/​/​www.studio360.org/​episodes/​2009/​05/​29
Click here: http:/​/​www.sundancechannel.com/​digital-shorts/​#/​series/​20958611001/​20977196001 for readings and film clips starring Harlan Ellison, a series of Sundance "digital shorts (breakthrough Web videos for progressive minds)." Most ranters get boring; Ellison's rants are as verbally creative as his "speculative fiction."
"I have never written science fiction...What I write is a kind of twisted fantasy." ~ Harlan Ellison

How to Crack the Film World's Glass Ceiling (Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones, Sept./​Oct.2013) Chicken & Egg Pictures incubates women filmmakers—and has Oscars to show for it.

How to find a writer's assistant job and an earlier version of the post by Amanda Pendolino (@​amandapendo). See also The Writers' Assistant Life: How to Get In and The Writers' Assistant Life: How to Not Find a Job by Ariel, Industry Nexus.

Image professionals, resources for . Webpage for media pros and allied professionals (translators, indexers, designers, photographers, artists, illustrators, animators, cartoonists, image professionals, composers)

InkTip (script matchmaker: entertainment professionals can find scripts, screenwriters can list their screenplays for sale)

Inside Film Magazine (online), providing coverage of film festivals, includingfilm festivals, by month

Internet Encyclopedia of Cinematographers (Albert Steeman Productions in The Netherlands)

Internet Movie Database (IMDb, superb movie database, great for for when you know the name of the actor but not the film, or only the name of one of the films one of the actors played in--you can retrace your steps and fill in the blanks)
• IMDbPro (paid-subscription version of Internet Movie Database, designed for people in the entertainment industry, searchable for contacts in entertainment companies--free 14-day trial available, then $12.95 a month)
• IMDb and IMDbPro services compared (by site itself)
• Internet Movie Script Database (IMSDb)
• Internet Theatre Database

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Interviews in, and oral histories of, the film, drama, and television industries
Some of these are audio or video; some are oral histories; some are transcripts. Almost all are interesting and enlightening.
• Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Couldn't Lose: An oral history of Friday Night Lights (Robert Mays, Grantland, and the cast of the fabulous TV series Friday Night Lights, based on the narrative nonfiction book Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, And A Dream by H.G. Bissinger. (Hate football? Watch and read it anyway. Great work!)
• Behind 'The New Black': The Real Piper's Prison Story (Terry Gross's interview with Piper Kerman, whose memoir of her year in prison was the basis for the cable series Orange Is the New Black)
• Prisoners: They’re Just Like Us. ‘Orange Is The New Black’ Asks Questions We’re Afraid To Answer (Carimah Townes, ThinkProgress, 6-20-14)
• Tracy Letts Is Still Haunted by His Past (Alex Witchel, NY Times 3-14-14). An excellent interview with the actor-writer who won the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony award for his play "August: Osage County."
• The Family Hour: An Oral History of "The Sopranos" ( Sam Kashner, Vanity Fair, April 2012)
• Woody Allen: What I've Learned (Cal Fussman's interview, Esquire, Sept. 2013)
• Woody Allen: Blending Real Life With Fiction (Terry Gross's interview, Fresh Air, 6-15-09, rebroadcast 1-27-12) "People always look for clues [about me] in my movies no matter how many times I've told them over the years I make this stuff up," he says. There's a different writeup for the 2009 interview, about which Gross wrote How to Ask a Tough Question (Business Week, 4-12-12).
• With Friends Like These, Warren Littlefield, an oral history of Friends, Vanity Fair, Summer 2012
• Cheers: The Best TV Show That's Ever Been (Brian Rafferty, oral history, GQ, summer 2012). Featured in The 10 Best Oral Histories from 2012 That You Haven't Had Time to Read Yet (The Atlantic)
• 2 Good 2 Be 4Gotten: An Oral History of 'Freaks and Geeks" (Vanity Fair, January 2013)
• Charlie Rose interview with John Lasseter (12-2-11, Lasseter being director and chief creative officer at Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studies). Wonderful interview.

• Conversations with Filmmakers series (University Press of Mississippi , a huge series, with complete list here. Among the many collections of interviews with individuals, often available used on Amazon, are these: Roman Polanski (ed. Paul Cronin); Jean-Luc Godard (ed. David Sterritt); The Coen Brothers (Joel and Ethan, ed. by William Rodney Allen); Stanley Kubrick, ed. Gene D. Phillips; Steven Spielberg (ed. Lester D. Friedman and Brent Notbohm); Quentin Tarantino (ed. Gerald Peary); Ingmar Bergman (ed. Raphael Shargel); Buster Keaton (ed. Kevin W. Sweeney); David Lean (ed. Steven Organ); John Waters (ed. John Egan); Elia Kazan (ed. William Baer); Francis Ford Coppola (ed. Gene D. Phillips and Rodney Hill); Oliver Stone (ed. Charles L. P. Silet); Spike Lee (ed. Cynthia Fuchs); Woody Allen (ed. Robert E. Kapsis and Kathie Coblentz); Ridley Scott (ed. Laurence F. Knapp and Andrea F. Kulas); Howard Hawks (ed. Scott Breivold); George Cukor (ed. Robert Emmet Long); Federico Fellini (ed. Bert Cardullo); Charlie Chaplin (ed. Kevin J. Hayes); John Woo (ed. Robert K. Elder); Francois Truffaut (ed. Ronald Bergan); Brian De Palma/a> (ed. Laurence F. Knapp), among others.

•
The Craft of Writing for Film and Television 2012 (Writers Guild of America, West -- transcripts of many interviews in the industry). Here's a page of interviews from 2011 . Scroll to bottom of each page to find a link to the archive from the year before.
• Archive of American Television Interviews (Emmy TV legends)
Paris Review Interviews:
• Lillian Hellman, The Art of Theater No. 1 (interviewed by Anne Hollander, John Marquand)
• Arthur Miller, The Art of Theater No. 2 (interviewed by Olga Carlisle and Rose Styron)
• Harold Pinter, The Art of Theater No. 3 (interviewed by Larry Bensky)
• Edward Albee, The Art of Theater No. 4 (interviewed by William Flanagan)
• Tennessee Williams, The Art of Theater No. 5 (interviewed by Dotson Rader)
• Eugene Ionesco, The Art of Theater No. 6 (interviewed by Shusha Guppy)
• Tom Stoppard, The Art of Theater No. 7 (Interviewed by Shusha Guppy)
• Athol Fugard, The Art of Theater No. 8 (Interviewed by Lloyd Richards)
• Sam Shepard, The Art of Theater No. 12 (interviewed by Benjamin Ryder Howe, Jeanne McCulloch, Mona Simpson)
• David Mamet, The Art of Theater No. 11 (interviewed by John Lahr)
• Wendy Wasserstein, The Art of Theater No. 13 (interviewed by Laurie Winer)
• August Wilson, The Art of Theater No. 14 (interviewed by Bonnie Lyons, George Plimpton)
• Tony Kushner, The Art of Theater No. 16 (interviewed by Catherine Steindler, for Paris Review)
• Wallace Shawn, The Art of Theater No. 17 (interviewed by Hilton Als)
• Stephen Sondheim, The Art of the Musical (interviewed by James Lipton)
• Neil Simon, The Art of Theater No. 10 (interviewed by James Lipton)
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Ken Burns on storytelling:
• Ken Burns on the Power of History and Creativity (short video)
• Ken Burns on the Art of Storytelling: “It’s Lying Twenty-Four Times a Second” (Colin Marshall, Open Culture, 5-17-12)
• Ken Burns on Why His Formula for a Great Story Is 1+1=3 (Sarah Klein and Tom Mason on the making of Ken Burns: On Story, The Atlantic, 5-17-12)
• How 1 and 1 makes 3 and more lessons in storytelling from Ken Burns (watch this 5-minute video of Burns explaining the mysteries of storytelling, but Adam Westbrook also summaries the main points, which include: "The good guys have very serious flaws and the bad guys are very compelling. "

Luna: A Whale to Watch. (Michael Parfit, Smithsonian magazine, 8-11). "The true story of a lonely orca leaps from printed page to silver screen, with a boost from new technology." The streamlining (even the physical lightening, in weight) of technology has put film-making into more hands, so the studio system doesn't have the tight control over distribution it once had. The studios said 'No' to this film about Luna, but it got made anyway.

Losing All My Children (Joanna Cohen, NY Times blog, 2-16-12, on writing for the soaps--and then saying goodbye, for now, to "All My Children")


Mastering Multimedia (links to resources for learning the art and craft of various aspects of multimedia)

Mistakes, plot holes, anachronisms, and other goofs in motion pictures
• Mistakes in the IMDb top 250 . Just because a movie's great, doesn't mean it's entirely without flaws - on these pages you'll find some classic bloopers (slow loading). Among movies in which goofs are listed: Inception (2010), Grease (1978), Titanic (1997, 210 items!). Google IMDb and goofs to see more.
• Movie Plot Holes
• "That's not a plot hole. Allow me to explain." Scott Nye, 7-23-13, on ridiculous mid-production efforts to cover over plot holes in hastily put-together movies)
• 50 Movie Plotholes That Could Easily Have Been Fixed (Catherine Collins, Total Film, 5-24-13)
• 10 Annoying Anachronisms in Modern Movies (Film Babble Blog)
There are many more of these!

Movie and entertainment reviews, film criticism online, and movie databases


To check out reviews, review-score average, or "consensus at a glance" and often to learn where (if) a film is playing locally:
• Internet Movie Database (IMDB) (great for for when you know the name of the actor but not the film, or only the name of one of the films one of the actors played in; you can retrace your steps and fill in the blanks -- for reviews, look at "external reviews"; plug in zip code at "showtimes & tickets" and see where it's playing near you)
• Rotten Tomatoes (scores movies as fresh or rotten)
• Movie Review Intelligence (monitors and scores reviews of dozens of critics, indicates % favorable reviews, shows if widely or narrowly released)
• Metacritic.com (review aggregator for movies, video/​DVDs, TV, music, and games).
• Movie Review Query Engine (MRQE)
• Yahoo! Movies

Film Criticism Is Dying? Not Online Thanks to the Internet, there is more and better writing about movies than ever before, says Roger Ebert (WSJ, 1-22-11).
Websites with movie reviews and film criticism:
• AARP Movies for Grownups Awards
• A.V. Club film reviews
• Balder & Dash (RogerEbert.com, with guest reviews)
• David Bordwell (film criticism)
• Cahiers du cinιma (film criticism)
• Cineaste (on the art and politics of the cinema). Check the archives.
• Edward Copeland on Film (film criticism)
• Commonsense Media (advising parents if movies are okay for kids)
• the late Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
• Stanley Kauffman, New Republic
• Anthony Lane, New Yorker
• Movie Mom (Nell Minow, Belief.Net, reviewing movies for kids and families)
• National Public Radio reviews (Ian Buckwalter, David Edelstein, Mark Jenkins, Andrew Lapin, Bob Mondello , Kenneth Turan, etc. )
• Richard Roeper & the Movies (watch and listen)
• A.O. Scott, New York Times
• The Village Voice (New York City's alternative newspaper, online)

• Notable journalistic critics and Notable academic critics (Wikipedia list, but it doesn't link to their criticism)
• Musings by film commentators from around the world (SunTimes blog, edited by the late Roger Ebert)
• Network TV Is Broken. So How Does Shonda Rhimes Keep Making Hits? (Willa Paskin, NY Times Magazine 5-9-13). In a fairly unfavorable review of 'The Killing" Paskin writes about "creator Veena Sud’s faith that being a bad version of 'The Sopranos' is somehow better than being a great version of 'CSI'.
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9 Elements of Great Films John Truby (Raindance)

Nonny de la Peρa on “Gone Gitmo,” Stroome and the future of interactive storytelling Ernesto Pirego (Nieman Storyboard 1-30-11) interviews one of the co-founders of Stroome.com, a community that allows online collaborative remixing of visual journalism

PUMA Creative Catalyst Award (PUMA and BRITDOC, for an international documentary filmmaker with a story to tell, but not necessarily the resources to do it -- developed to give filmmakers the funds to develop trailers for their films). Apply at BRITDOC. See finalist trailers.

Realistic Budgeting for Documentaries by David L. Brown. Written for Release Print, Film Arts Foundation, January 2005. Posted by Tony Levelle

Rotten Tomatoes (a website and film review aggregator devoted to reviews, previews, trailers, information, and news of films, reviewed and rated on the tomatometer)

The Rules of the Game: A Century of Hollywood Publicity (Anne Helen Petersen, Virginia Quarterly Review, Winter 2013, pp. 46-59)


Script Frenzy, an April challenge to write 100 pages of original scripted material in 30 days (screenplays, stage plays, TV shows, short films, and graphic novels all welcome). From the people who brought you National Novel Writing Month (NaNo), in which you write 50,000 words of fiction in a month(November).

Secrets from Voiceover School (Karen Melgar, Narratively, "You may never know their names or see their faces, but becoming a go-to voice in Hollywood requires just as much hard work and hustle as making it on the big screen."

The Setup-Payoff Model of Storytelling (Bryan Keithley, Ascentive Blog 6-1-11). Essentially, as Chekhov said, " if a gun appears prominently in the first act of the play, it had better play some role by the final act, or else the audience will feel cheated." This has to do " with the literary real estate you give to an item, theme, character, etc."
• Setups and Payoffs (Steven Pressfield, 10-31-12). Beginning writers often fail to provide a payoff for a setup or a setup for a payoff. You need both, whether you're writing a novel, screenplay, short story, or op ed, says Pressfield.
• Setups, Payoffs, MacGuffins and Red Herrings (Anton Mueller's syllabus at UCLA, Spring 2010, PDF).
• Setup & Payoffs in Mean Girls (Scribe Meets World)

The Sideways Publishing Saga -- Part I: Rejection by Rex Pickett, author of Sideways, on Huffington Post, 1-21-12). Followed by Part II: Part II: Exultation (2-3-12) and Part III: Whiplash; Dismay! (2-8-12). Also, see the movie Sideways.

Spielbergs Curriculum. It may not actually be Spielberg's list of the movies you MUST see to learn about film, but it's a pretty good list!

StageGrade (reporting the critical consensus for New York City plays and musicals (formerly Critic-o-Meter)


Theatre Communications Group (TCG) (mission: to strengthen, nurture and promote professional not-for-profit American theatre)

Thanks to Brave, Each Pixar Movie Is a Chapter in One Huge Story (Doug Barry, Jezebel, 7-13-13)


Transom.org. A showcase and Workshop for New Public Media (all about the power of story in sound): a motherlode of audio learning with tools, advice, & community.

Television (for cable and TV fans, critics and students)


• Al Jazeera News America (which bought Current News, which Al Gore started)
• Archive of American Television Interviews (Emmy TV legends)
• Script libraries
• TV.com (current shows and classics -- a reference guide to episodes, photos, videos, cast and crew information, forums, reviews and more)
• TV Worth Watching (David Bianculli and friends, whose reviews on NPR are archived here.
• TVWorthWatching (Fresh Air Faves)
Helpful blogroll and links to other TV facts, news, criticism, etc.
• The Classic TV History Blog (Stephen Bowie, a film and television historian, calls a spade a spade and provides lots of interesting background for us TV junkies)
• Television Without Pity "ceased operations on April 4, 2014, but our archives will stay up"
• Television terminology (Alex Epstein's working glossary)
• TVTropes. A wiki/​catalog of the tricks of the trade for writing fiction. "Tropes are devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members' minds and expectations."
• Writing for Episodic TV (download free handbook, Writers Guild of America)
• A Vaster Wasteland (Newton N. Minow, The Atlantic, April 2011). Fifty years after his landmark speech declaring television programming a “vast wasteland,” the author surveys the reshaped media landscape and lays out a plan to keep television and the Internet vibrant, democratic forces for the next half century. Most important: "if over-the-air television is to survive as a licensed service operating in the public interest, we must make better use of it in our politics. It is simply unconscionable that candidates for public office have to buy access to the airwaves—something the public itself owns—to talk to the public, unlike in most other major democratic countries.... If broadcasters are to continue as the lone beneficiaries of their valuable spectrum assignments, it is not too much to require that, as a public service, they provide time to candidates for public office. That time is not for the candidates. It is for the voters."
• Kevin Spacey urges TV channels to give control to viewers. In his speech at the Edinburgh International Television Festival (2013, captured on YouTube), Spacey talks about House of Cards and the difference between the Netflix model and the more traditional pilot season model. "Clearly the success of the Netflix model, releasing the entire season of House of Cards at once, proved one thing: the audience wants the control. They want the freedom. If they want to binge... we should let them binge.... And through this new form of distribution, we have demonstrated that we have learned the lesson that the music industry didn't learn: give people what they want, when they want it, in the form they want it in, at a reasonable price and they'll more likely pay for it rather than steal it. Well, some will still steal it, but I think we can take a bite out of piracy."
• Dr. Who at 50 (Hank Stuever, Washington Post, 11-15-13) "In television’s vast universe, there is perhaps no acquired taste that is more difficult to acquire than the taste for “Doctor Who,” BBC’s long-running sci-fi series about an alien dandy who navigates the time-space continuum in a phone-booth-style British police box (the TARDIS)." Stuever's story explains a few things that have puzzled many of us.

Video worth watching:
• Smithsonian in Motion video contest winners (watch online -- slow loading).
• The Coffinmaker



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Books and video on screenwriting,
radio and video production, and documentary-making


Scroll down for books on playwriting

• Josh Becker's excellent reading list
• Akers, William M.. Your Screenplay Sucks!: 100 Ways to Make It Great
• Artis, Anthony Q.. The Shut Up and Shoot Documentary Guide: A Down & Dirty DV Production
• Biewen, John. Reality Radio: Telling True Stories in Sound (Documentary Arts and Culture). Biewen is audio program director for Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies; includes essays by Ira Glass, Jay Allison, the Kitchen Sisters, and more)
• Campbell, Joseph. The Hero with a Thousand Faces
• Chandler, Gael. Cut by Cut: Editing Your Film or Video
• Chitlik, Paul. Rewrite: A Step-by-Step Guide to Strengthen Structure, Characters, and Drama in Your Screenplay
• Crowell, Thomas A.. The Pocket Lawyer for Filmmakers: A Legal Toolkit for Independent Producers
• Douglas, Pamela. Writing the TV Drama Series: How to Succeed as a Professional Writer in TV
• Dunne, Peter. Emotional Structure: Creating the Story Beneath the Plot
• Epstein, Alex. Crafty Screenwriting: Writing Movies That Get Made
• Field, Syd. Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting
• Field, Syd. The Screenwriter's Problem Solver: How to Recognize, Identify, and Define Screenwriting Problems. In her book review, Suzie Quint applies plot problem-solving to novels.
• Field, Syd. The Screenwriter's Workbook
• Field, Syd. Four Screenplays: Studies in the American Screenplay
• Flynn, Danny Martin. How Not to Write a Screenplay: 101 Common Mistakes Most Screenwriters Make
• Glebas, Francis. Directing the Story: Professional Storytelling and Storyboarding Techniques for Live Action and Animation
• Goldberg, Eric. Character Animation Crash Course
• William Goldman: Four Screenplays with Essays (Marathon Man, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Princess Bride, and Misery, by William Goldman. (The screenplay for Butch Cassidy could be used as a teaching device for "How to Write a Great Screenplay," says Bonnie Remsberg.) On this video, Goldman talks about filming Butch Cassidy.
• Hampe, Barry. Video Scriptwriting: How to Write for the $4 Billion Commercial Video Market (for corporate and instructional script writers)
• Hampe, Barry. Making Documentary Films and Videos: A Practical Guide to Planning, Filming, and Editing Documentaries
• Hunter, Lew. Lew Hunter's Screenwriting 434: The Industry's Premier Teacher Reveals the Secrets of the Successful Screenplay (the one the Miller Bros used)
• Iglesias, Karl. The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters: Insiders' Secrets from Hollywood's Top Writers
• Keane, Christopher. How to Write a Selling Screenplay
• Kern, Jonathan. Sound Reporting: The NPR Guide to Audio Journalism and Production
• King, Viki. How to Write a Movie in 21 Days
• Laybourne, Kit. The Animation Book: A Complete Guide to Animated Filmmaking--From Flip-Books to Sound Cartoons to 3- D Animation
• Luckie, Mark S. The Digital Journalist's Handbook
• Maschwitz, Stu. The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap
• McKee, Robert. Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting
• Rabiger, Michael Directing the Documentary
• Riley, Christopher. The Hollywood Standard: The Complete and Authoritative Guide to Script Format and Style
• Rosenblum, Ralph and Robert Karen. When the Shooting Stops, the Cutting Begins: A Film Editor's Story
• Rosenthal, Alan. Writing, Directing, and Producing Documentary Films and Videos (4th edition)
• Seger, Linda. Making a Good Script Great
• Snyder, Blake. Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need. Popular book on structure and storytelling, and if Snyder's Beat Sheet (a list of points in a film script) helps you, look also at Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies: The Screenwriter's Guide to Every Story Ever Told (discussed in terms of concept, logline, and treatment) and Save the Cat! Strikes Back: More Trouble for Screenwriters to Get into ... and Out of (more on finding the spine of the story, with examples from popular films -- read Suzie Quint's review, for romance writers. However, Peter Suderman, in Slate, writes Save the Movie! "The 2005 screenwriting book that’s taken over Hollywood—and made every movie feel the same." He blames its formula for scripts for the cookie cutter nature of studio films (thanks, Nell Minow).
• Schellhardt, Laura. Screenwriting For Dummies (A to Z, for absolute beginners)
• Thurlow, Clifford. Making Short Films: The Complete Guide from Script to Screen
• Trottier, David. The Screenwriters' Bible: A Complete Guide to Writing, Formatting, and Selling Your Script. This standard reference will help you with the mechanics of the trade -- structure, format, and style.
• Truby, John. The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller
• Vachon, Christine. Shooting to Kill
• Van Sijll, Jennifer. Cinematic Storytelling: The 100 Most Powerful Film Conventions Every Filmmaker Must Know
• Vogler, Christopher. The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers
• Whitcomb, Cynthia. The Writer's Guide to Writing Your Screenplay: How to Write Great Screenplays for Movies and Television>

Books on playwriting


• Ball, David.
Backwards & Forwards: A Technical Manual for Reading Plays
• Dramatists Guild. The Dramatists Guild Resource Directory 2013: The Writers Guide to the Theatrical Marketplace (a guide to resources for playwrights, composers, lyricists and librettists, for everything from submission opportunities--theaters that accept scripts-- to practical advice on securing an agent or a template for formatting your script).
• Egri, Lajos. The Art of Dramatic Writing: Its Basis In The Creative Interpretation Of Human Motives
• Garrison, Gary. A More Perfect Ten: Writing and Producing the Ten-Minute Play
• Hatcher, Jeffrey. The Art and Craft of Playwriting
• Sweet, Jeffrey. Dramatists Toolkit,The Craft of the Working Playwright
• Sweet, Jeffrey. Solving Your Script: Tools and Techniques for the Playwright
• Thomas, James. Script Analysis for Actors, Directors, and Designers

Memoirs and Biography

• Fisher, Antwone Quenton. Finding Fish: A Memoir
• Goldman, William. Adventures in the Screen Trade; Which Lie Did I Tell: More Adventures in the Screen Trade
• Lardner, Ring, Jr. I'd Hate Myself in the Morning: A Memoir (intro by Victor Navasky). A two-time Academy Award winner, Lardner won the best original screenplay award for "Woman of the Year" and best adapted screenplay award for M*A*S*H. He was also a member of the "Hollywood Ten," the group of writers and directors who went to jail rather than name names to the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC).
• Laurents, Arthur. Original Story By: A Memoir of Broadway and Hollywood See also Mainly on Directing: Gypsy, West Side Story, and Other Musicals
• Lumet, Sidney. Making Movies
• Meyer, Nicholas. The View from the Bridge: Memories of Star Trek and a Life in Hollywood
• Miller, Logan and Noah Miller. Either You're In or You're In the Way: Two Brothers, Twelve Months, and One Filmmaking Hell-Ride to Keep a Promise to Their Father
• Sprengnether, Madelon. Crying at the Movies: A Film Memoir, about which Library Journal writes: "By exploring her extreme reactions over the years to a range of films, including Pather Panchali, The Piano, and Shadowlands, and trying to place them in the context of her own life, Sprengnether has created a vivid, passionate description of the therapeutic value of cinema."
• Taravella, Steve. Mary Wickes: I Know I've Seen That Face Before. See Nell Minow's interview with Steve on MovieMom, especially on how he tracked down obscure and long-retired child actors.
You'll find reviews of these books at the Amazon links imbedded in the titles . For purchases made after linking to Amazon.com through Writers and Editors, I get a small percentage, which helps support the site. Thanks!

Bookshops: Theatre and Film


(most of them use the British "theatre" instead of the American "theater")

• Samuel French Bookshops (Los Angeles), amazing source for books, plays, screenplays, cast recordings, dialects, etc. (associated with , play publishers and representatives.
•
E-script Online Film and Theatre Bookstore (wide selection of contemporary plays, screenplays, and other theatre and film publications and recordings)
• Drama Book Shop, Inc. (New York, phone: 212-944-0595, tollfree from US and Canada: 800 322-0595, info@​dramabookishop.com)
Tell me if I have omitted anyone useful.
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• Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (which produces the Oscars)
• Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (produces the Emmys)
• African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA)
• American Cinema Editors ((ACE Film Editors)
• American Screenwriters Association (ASA)
• American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA)
• Animation Writers Caucus (part of Writers Guild of America, West). See also its Facebook page
• Artists' Rights Organization (WGA list)
• The Association for Documentary Editing (ADE) (publishes Scholarly Editing)
• Association of Independents in Radio (AIR), a social and professional network of 750+ producers – both independent and those employed by media organizations – representing a range of disciplines, from NPR news journalists and reporters, to sound artists, station-based producers, podcasters, gearheads, media activists, and more. Provide resources to help independent producers navigate the public media industry and talent directory. Check out AIR's week-long Sounds Elemental producer intensives.
• Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA, individuals and organizations concerned with the acquisition, description, preservation, exhibition and use of moving image materials)
• Association of Personal Historians (APH, recording the lives of ordinary people)
• Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) (a nonprofit media arts center founded by a coalition of media makers and activists who wanted to find alternative, civic-minded applications for a new technology - PortaPak video)
• Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) (producers of the Critics' Choice movie awards)
• Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA) (representing professional interests of those who regularly cover television for TV viewers, radio listeners and online audiences)
• Center for Independent Documentary (great links, among other resources)
• Cine Story (www.cinestory.org) (nonprofit screenwriter's organization that helps emerging screenwriters hone their craft and find alternative access to the screen)
• Dallas Screenwriters Association (DSA)
• Directors Guild of America (DGA)
• DirectorsNet, the home of creative professionals focused on Motion Picture, Television, Music Videos, Corporate Video and Commercial production
• Docs in Progress (nonprofit dedicated to empowering independent documentary filmmakers and educating the public about documentary as an art form -- through programs and services, including work-in-progress screenings, training classes, professional development workshops and webinars, private consultations, online resources and a blog. Based in Silver Spring, MD)
• The D-Word (online discussions about the art, craft, business, and social impact of documentary film)
• European Documentary Network (EDN), member-based organization for documentary film and TV professionals
• Film Independent (membership organization for independent filmmakers--produces Independent Spirit Awards)
• IFP Independent Feature Project, independent filmmakers organization that sponsors annual independent filmmaker labs)
• Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA), trade association of independent producers and distributors of motion picture and television programming worldwide
• International Academy of Web Television (IAWT, independent nonprofit organization founded to promote and recognize excellence in original online programming)
• International Cinematographers Guild (ICG)
• International Documentary Association (IDA) (watch great video docs online)
• International Game Developers Association (IGDA, for developers of interactive entertainment)
• International Screenwriters' Association (ISA)
• Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA)
• Motion Picture Association of America
• National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture (NAMAC), focused on independent film, video, audio and online/​multimedia arts
• National Society of Film Critics ("The Truth, Once Every 12 Months")
• New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC)
• 911 Media Arts Center (an independent film, video and multimedia resource in Seattle, WA)
• Online Film Critics Society (OFCS)
• Organization of Black Screenwriters
• The Salt Institute for Documentary Studies trains aspiring writers, radio producers, and photographers in the art of documentary storytelling. Listen to their excellent Saltcast podcasts (the backstory on great radio storytelling)
• San Francisco Film Society
• Scriptwriters Network
• Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE, whose 10,000 members include engineers, technical directors, cameramen, editors, technicians, manufacturers, educators and consultants)
• Sundance Institute (dedicated to discovering and developing independent artists and audiences)
• Thriller Writers Association (TWA)
• The Washington DC Area Film Critics (WAFCA)
• Women in Film (WIF), Los Angeles -- (other chapters here)
• University Film & Video Association (UFVA)
• Wedding & Event Videographers Association (WEVA)
• Women in Film (Los Angeles)
• Women in Film and Video (WIFV, based in Washington DC)
• Writers Guild of America (WGA), East
• Writers Guild of America (WGA), West
• WGA West Registry ( the official script and screenplay registration service of the Writers Guild of America, West)
• Writers Guild of America, West, WGA Schedule of Minimums , part of the 2011 Theatrical and Television Basic Agreement. Download PDF . See also Additional contracts . This page is rich in material!
• Writers Guild links to organizations related to the film industry

Websites, organizations, and other resources

A GREAT READ
Blog roll, too
and communities of book lovers
Best reads and most "discussable"
Fact-finding, fact-checking, conversion tables, and news and info resources
Recommended reading
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Blogs, video promotion, intelligent radio programs
See also Self-Publishing
Indie publishing, digital publishing, POD, how-to sources
Includes original text by Sarah Wernick
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