SCREENWRITING 101 HANDOUTS


The following handouts were made available to filmmakers and other interested individuals who attended the mini workshops conducted in preparation for the competition. Your film should start with a good screenplay. These handouts make up the basic knowledge any writer should have as they begin writing their screenplay. Though not all the answers are here, you'll be a better writer if you take to heart much of the information given.
RULES OF SCREENWRITING
(Click HERE for PDF file)

SCREENPLAY FORMATTING
(Click HERE for PDF file)

DEVELOPING STORY
(Click HERE for PDF file)

THE "5 FINGER" PITCH
(Click HERE for PDF file)

THREE-ACT STRUCTURE
(Click HERE for PDF file)

BEAT SHEET or OUTLINE
(Click HERE for PDF file)

CHARACTER
(Click HERE for PDF file)

BIOGRAPHY
& OUTLINE EXAMPLES

(Click HERE for PDF file)


THE FIRST DRAFT
(Click HERE for PDF file)
SCREENWRITING SOFTWARE
The current industry standard software for writing screenplays is FINAL DRAFT. You must keep in mind that any screenwriting software will not write your screenplay for you; it will simply put your words on the page in the proper industry standard format. You, as a writer, must still develop your story, characters, plot twists, etc. While a bit expensive, Final Draft may not be an option for everyone. The next most popular software for screenwriters is MOVIE MAGIC SCREENWRITER, which is a bit more affordable and still does the job. If you're truly a struggling screenwriter without a penny in your pocket, then there's CELTX, a free program that has many of the basic features found in both Final Draft and Screenwriter. However, Celtx is a stripped down utility program that's used best for formatting your screenplay only. It has limitations that make it difficult to conform your screenplay to industry standards, but it will get you by in a financial pinch.

Also, any good screenwriting instructor will tell you that in order to really learn the art of screenwriting, you must read screenplays from movies that have been made. Good movies. Bad movies. Read the screenplays and learn how they were constructed. In the case of good movies, try to find what made them good movies. In the case of bad movies, try your best to avoid repeating the mistakes those writers made. Here are a few examples of good screenplays that should be in any library:
THE EXORCIST
Screenplay by William Peter Blatty
Draft dated December 18, 1972

RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
Screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan
Revised Fifth Draft, April 1980
EVIL UNDER THE SUN
Screenplay by Anthony Shaffer
Undated Second Draft
GREMLINS
Screenplay by Chris Columbus
Second Draft, April 27, 1982

NINE TO FIVE
Screenplay by Patricia Resnick & Colin Higgins
Final Draft, December 12, 1979
GIANT
Screenplay by Fred Guiol & Ivan Moffat
Final Draft, April 4, 1955
NETWORK
Screenplay by Paddy Chayefsky
Revised draft, November 1975

BLAZING SADDLES
Screenplay by Mel Brooks, et. al.
Final Draft, February 6, 1973
NEBRASKA
Screenplay by Robert W. Nelson
Draft dated October 15, 2012
ROSEMARY'S BABY
Screenplay by Roman Polanski
Second Draft, July 24, 1967

DEATH BECOMES HER
Screenplay by Martin Donovan & David Koepp
Draft dated July 25, 1991
PSYCHO
Screenplay by Robert Bloch
Shooting Script, November 10, 1959
PAUL MAZURSKY'S TEMPEST
Screenplay by Paul Mazursky & Leon Capetanos
Final Revised Draft, February 17, 1981

BLADERUNNER
Screenplay by Hampton Fancher
Draft dated July 24, 1980
SPELLBOUND
Screenplay by Ben Hecht
Undated
TOOTSIE
Screenplay by Larry Gelbart
Draft dated March 8, 1982

SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES
Screenplay by Ray Bradbury
Revised Draft, August 24, 1981
WHAT'S UP DOC
Screenplay by Buck Henry, et. al.
Revised Final Draft, June 1, 1971
A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Screenplay by John Cassavetes
Draft dated August 23, 1972

12 YEARS A SLAVE
Screenplay by John Ridley
Final Shooting Script, January 24, 2013
HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS
Screenplay by Sam Hall & Gordon Russell
Second Draft, February 24, 1970

Free screenplays for download can also be found at:
Cinephilia & Beyond
Simply Scripts and The Daily Script

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