Concluding our three part series on must read blogs for film professionals, we profile seven blogs that furnish screenwriters with tips and advice on craft and business.
Previously, we've profiled blogs that cater generally to filmmakers and others published for film tech professionals, such as cinematographers, editors, and animators. Now, we turn our focus to blogs that aim to assist the professional and beginning scribes of the industry - the people who, through some alchemy of structure, character, and story, create the narrative blueprints of our productions.
We understand there are plenty of great screenwriting publications and resources, such as Script Mag, the Script Lab, Scott Meyer's Go Into The Story (the official blog of the Blacklist), and the Done Deal Professional message board, where it's possible to get your business questions answered by agents and lawyers that frequent the forums. But we're shouting out the personal blogs of working screenwriters and industry professionals that write for the writer, from script readers to executives. So let's get started!
[Disclaimer: Some of these blogs offer script coverage and consultancy services for a fee. RedShark News cannot testify to the quality or value of these paid services.]
Screenwriting From Iowa...and Other Unlikely Places reads as a travelogue to the vast world of screenwriting beyond the borders of Los Angeles. Although never stated in so many words, the blog progresses two inter-related messages: learning and practicing the craft of screenwriting is not dependent on geographic proximity to major industry towns (like LA); and your own environs, no matter where you are, can be an enormous source for inspiration and discovery. Advice comes in the form of 'Tips' that weave blurbs from more well-known writers with personal stories, such as this one about 'Complex Stories / Simple Characters' that recalls a video shoot with former two-sport star Deion Sanders. From Iowa also features its share of ruminations on the current state of professional screenwriting and filmmaking, such as this article that illustrates the roller coaster of working in the industry. Sprinkle in some cross-disciplinary jewels ('Harold Pinter's Nobel Prize Lecture' and 'Screenwriter as Poet / Journalist / Director'), mix-in some pop culture fun ('The Lebron James Redemption'), and the result is a thoroughly satisfying and illuminating tour to the far-flung heart of screenwriting.
The person behind Screenwriting From Iowa is Scott W. Smith, a twenty year veteran filmmaker, producer and writer. The industry has taken notice of Smith's efforts, as his From Iowa blog won a regional Emmy back in 2008 to go along with the awards Smith has snagged for his film projects. He stays busy; along with a full production slate, which is frequently chronicled, he produces a new blog post daily (or very close to it). Smith's high output of dispatches from the geographic and creative margins makes From Iowa an important destination on your professional roadmap.
While Screenwriting From Iowa takes its cues from life outside of media epicenters, it's also beneficial to get advice from a working writer who calls Hollywood home. Some of you may have such a writer on speed dial, but for everyone else, a visit to My Blank Page might be the next best thing. The blog is written by Scriptcat, the blogging persona of Mark Sanderson. He hails from the sketch comedy world and has made the successful transition to professional screenwriter, with an assortment of television movies to his credit, and much more uncredited assignment work.
Sanderson's blog is the rare insider's perspective of a profession that may seem impenetrable to some, with scores of fledgling writers on the outside looking in. Sanderson debunks the 'romanticized life of a working screenwriter' with anecdotes and wisdom gained from first-hand industry experience. You'll find plenty of practical career advice, like 'the importance of finding a screenwriting mentor' and how to approach your treatments with an eye to building a "roadmap to a successful first draft." Sanderson typically publishes only a few blog posts a month, but it's well worth sifting through older posts, as nearly all of it is still relevant, especially to those who want know what life is really like for a working Hollywood writer.