Monthly Archives: January 2013

Screenwriting Books

An updated list following some great suggestions from screenwriters of books that they’ve found particularly useful.

Poetics by Aristotle

The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell

The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler

Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting by Syd Field

Story by Robert McKee

Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder

Writing Movies for Fun and Profit by Thomas Lennon & Robert Ben Garant

The Complete Book of Scriptwriting by J Michael Straczynski

Making A Good Script Great by Linda Seger

Into The Woods: A Five Act Journey Into Story by John Yorke

The 21st Century Screenplay by Linda Aronson

The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri

The Anatomy of Story by John Truby

Essentials of Screenwriting by Richard Walter

Inside Story by Dara Marks

Adventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman

The Tools of Screenwriting by Howard & Mabley

Writing Screenplays That Sell by Michael Hague

Psychology for Screenwriters by William Indick

The Soul of Screenwriting by Keith Cunningham

On Filmmaking by Alexander Mackendrick (about directing but with great sections on screenwriting)

Alternative Scriptwriting by Ken Dancyger & Jeff Rush

Doctor Who: The Writer’s Tale: The Final Chapeter by Russell T Davies and Benjamin Cook (an insight into the creative processes and pressures of showrunning)

The Insider’s Guide to Writing for Television by Julian Friedmann and Christopher Walker (UK focused)

Writing Television Drama by Nicholas Gibbs (UK focused)

Happy reading!

Production Companies (UK) Accepting Unsolicited Scripts

Getting your unsolicited script made, or even read by a production company, is about the toughest way to break into the industry, but lots of people still ask me about it so here’s my two-pennies-worth…

get unsolicited script read by production companies

If I go back only ten years I could have written a list here of nearly a hundred film and television production companies who would accept scripts submitted by new writers (writers they didn’t know, and who didn’t have an agent).  I know because I made a living reading for about twenty of them.  Sadly, that is no longer the case. It costs money to employ readers to plough through tens of thousands of scripts each year.  The reality is that of those thousands of spec scripts, only a handful will be good enough for the production company to want to develop it and try to get it made.  In essence the return on the money invested in reading unsolicited scripts is too small to make it viable for most companies.

However, maybe you are that one in ten thousand whose script is pretty much perfect but you don’t yet have an agent or any credits or a script competition win to your name.  So how do you get a production company to read your script?  Well, there are still a handful of places accepting unsolicited submissions. But remember – you only get ONE CHANCE to impress so make sure you’ve had constructive, professional feedback and rewritten it so that it really showcases your writing.

I’ve listed below all the places I’ve found that do still accept unsolicited script submissions.  Check out their websites and follow their submission guidelines. If in doubt, contact them and ask what their policy is.

BBC Writersroom – not a production company as such but as part of the BBC the Writersroom has the connections within the organisation to connect you and your project with the drama production part of the BBC.

BFI Film Fund – a funding source for script development and production but they are looking for submissions ideally from a team that can get the film made (writer/producer/director).

BabyJane Productions

Blast Films

Braidmade Films

Cascade Media – Writers’ Couch

Feelgood Fiction

Fidelity Films

Ipso Facto Films

Little Green Jade

One Eyed Dog Films

Phantom Pictures

Panther Pictures

Picture Palace

Red Production Company

Red Planet Pictures

RS Productions

Shooting People – online pitching available.  Subscription required.

Spectre Vision

Do bear in mind that I’m not recommending these production companies, I’m just pulling together information that’s already in the public domain.  It’s up to you to do your homework.

It’s also worth looking at emerging producers who are starting to get films made and might be looking for new projeccts. Look at who is being awarded funding by schemes like the BFI Film Fund or iFeatures2.

Also check out these great blog posts on making your submission a ‘solicited’ one:

‘Can’t Get Read? Yes You Can!’ by Lucy Hay (Bang2Write)

‘Submitting To Companies That Don’t Take Unsolicited Material’ by Ashley Scott Meyers.

Good luck!

Screenwriting Podcasts

Want to immerse yourself in the world of screenwriting? Listen to screenwriting chat and words of wisdom in these fab podcasts:

UK Scriptwriters Podcast – http://dannystack.blogspot.co.uk/p/uk-scriptwriters-podcast.html

Nerdist Writers’ Panel – http://www.nerdist.com/podcast/nerdist-writers-panel

What Are You Laughing At – http://www.comedy.co.uk/podcasts/british_comedy_podcast/

Script Magazine TV Writer Podcast – http://www.scriptmag.com/multimedia/podcasts/

John August Script Notes Podcast – http://johnaugust.com/podcast

Jeff Goldsmith Q&A – http://www.theqandapodcast.com/

BAFTA Podcast – http://www.bafta.org/

The Empire Film Podcast – http://www.empireonline.com/podcast/

On The Page Screenwriting Podcast – http://onthepagepodcast.com/

If you know of any others worth a listen share in the comments below.

Screenwriting Short Courses and Workshops – UK

If you want to study screenwriting (or just need a refresher) but don’t want to commit to one of the great Screenwriting M.A courses on offer, there are lots of shorter courses and workshops worth checking out.

The Two Phils – London – 11-12 May 2013

Skribita – Brighton – Writing TV (26-28 April 2013)

Professional Writing Academy – Into the Woods (John Yorke on storytelling for tv) – September 2013

Storylining – Manchester – March 2013

Euroscript – see website for dates

Raindance – see website for dates

Arvon – see website for dates

The Script Factory – see website for dates

The National Film & Television School (NFTS) – see website for dates

If you know of any others do post in the comments below or post details on the Script Angel Facebook Page.