If you are new to anything, you’ll have to learn from those who’ve successfully walked the path before you. As a newbie to screenwriting (apart from that one dabble in it in High School, where I wrote a “one shot” for class), I was pressed to find resources and guidelines that would introduce me to the craft of screenwriting, and teach me how to do it properly – in a short amount of time.
Typically, the first thing we do in this day and age is using Google. So like my fellow Modern Westerners I went ahead and googled screenwriting, which was followed up by a move towards Amazon.
I purchased Charles Harris’ “Complete Screenwriting Course” ebook, which I can highly recommend. This book is certainly all you need, in my estimation. It’s affordable and very well-structured, instructive, and useful.
Harris’ book guides you through the process of writing your (first) script, from start to finish, including how to develop an idea, and eventually pitch your script and get involved in the business.
Browsing through my own personal library at home, I discovered I had already bought a book on Screenwriting a few years ago; the German version of one of Syd Field‘s screenwriting books, called “Das Drehbuch“.
Field’s book is more personal in nature, and less structured. It reads more like a personal story on how he got into screenwriting, how he assesses the value of scripts, and how his students did in his classes.
If you don’t have much time (like I did), you’d be better off focusing on something more instructional and to-the-point like Harris‘ ebook.
Personally, I read both books alongside each other to gain the most value and knowledge in a short amount of time; relatively short. Within one month or two, I felt mostly confident in my ability to set up and write a script, thanks to the books above and the following websites/articles:
At last, some of my friends recommended Robert McKee’s “Story” to me, which I have heard some audio excerpt from before. I imagine it to be quite interesting, and I might check it out more closely another time.
With the help of the above resources, I managed to finish my first short movie script within one to two months, starting from absolute scratch.
I hope this article was helpful to you, and I’d like to hear which resources you’ve found valuable on your way to writing your own (first) scripts. 🙂