Do you read?

“If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or tools to write.”  – Stephen King, On Writing, p. 147

Can’t really say it any more clearly than that but I will rattle on a bit to make the point for screenwriters.

How many screenplays have you read in the last month? Be honest because nobody can hear you.

If the answer is zero and you want to talk about the script you are working on then don’t bother. You aren’t a writer. It is that simple. Furthermore, if all you are reading are shooting scripts then you still aren’t a writer. I should say you aren’t prepared to write your “amazing? script because you don’t know how.

Blake Snyder, Syd Field, Mckee etc. are all great and provide you with the theoretical tools to pull out the laptop and begin your assault on the screenwriting world but unless you are actively reading screenplays your script will be…well….terrible, because you don’t understand what the page should really look like and how the script should “feel” to the reader. You can’t possibly have the proper perspective on your own pages when you are not familiar with the pages of others.

I can’t believe how many people I encounter that tell me about the screenplay they wrote, are writing, are going to write or should write, who do not read scripts. And, no, it doesn’t count if you read Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid or Chinatown once upon a time because if you emulate either of those script formats you will be laughed at…and not just by me. The craft and the execution of it on the page has evolved so you better keep up and not just count on your beat up copy of Blake Snyder’s book  to save your script.

Start with Google. Type in screenplays. Learn to figure out which sites have real screenplays and which ones have transcripts. Only read the real thing. When you are ready, I’ll point you in the direction of resources for the latest and greatest scripts flying around town but you have to put in the effort first…go get ’em!

For those too lazy to Google…

Simplyscripts.com

Drew’s Script-o-rama

MyPdfscripts.com

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