John August to the Rescue

I like starting new things. I like having the opportunity to learn something new. And that’s why I signed up for this screenwriting challenge in the first place. I wanted to take a shot at something I’d never tried before.

Well, I have a lot to learn in the next couple days, that’s what I learned today.

I started by looking at the NYC Midnight Screenwriting Challenge website, which had a very helpful section covering the basics of how to write a screenplay. It covers exactly what I’ve been most concerned about, which is the formatting rules of screenplays. I will be referencing this page heavily throughout this challenge.

Next I wanted to see if I could find any good examples of screenplays that I could read over. We learn by the examples of others, after all. This is how I came to discover IMSDb, the Internet Movie Script Database. And let me tell you, if you like movies, you could spend weeks combing through this website. All the scripts are there to read. For free. It’s dangerous. Needless to say, I have plenty of reading material here to work with for when I need examples of how things are done.

As I was reading through some scripts, I began to remember having listened to a podcast a while back that had something to do with screenwriting. I dug through my listening history and came across Wondery’s Launch podcast by John August. I realized that it was about August’s journey of launching a novel, but his career has mostly been spent as a screenwriter. So I decided to look him up and see if he had anything else out there that could be helpful. Turns out, he has a website.

Of course I went digging around his site. And it is full of excellent advice on writing screenplays! It also has a link to the script reading app he helped build, called Weekend Read 2. I remembered playing with it a while back, likely when I was listening to his podcast. So I loaded it up on my phone and filled it with a handful of scripts for me to read through over the next couple of days to get a feel for the flow of them.

So now I feel like I have the tools I need to do the work of learning. I have two days to burn through all this material. And hopefully at the end of it, I’ll have a bit more of a clue than I did at the start of the week. Which is my general goal for every week.