You like to read?
Of course, you do.
You like movies? Got a favorite movie? Or a favorite book that was made into a movie that you refuse to see because it can’t possibly be as good as the original?
You want to learn to write a screenplay?
I answered “yes” to all of those and hied myself up to Bethesda, Md., recently to the Writing Center to see if I am educable. (Results are still not in on that.)
I had dabbled in writing TV scripts when I worked for public TV (NPACT) more than a lifetime ago so I figured I pretty much knew my way around screenplays. Wrong.
Movie and TV scripts are an entirely different beast.
In producing non-fiction TV, we used a two-column format — audio in one column, video descriptions in the other, side by side — which I continued to use when I wrote video scripts for marketing and advertising clients more recently.
Screenplay formatting is entirely different. Fortunately someone by the name of Matt Carless at the BBC Writer’s Room posted a PDF file of a document formatted for writing TV scripts. I’m told it can be used for movie screenplays as well.
(BTW, a screenplay is a type of script written for film or the movies, as opposed to a play or other visual medium. So they are not precisely synonymous.)
Mr. Carless’ work was very useful, but I learn best by watching experts do their best. I like to see finished products.
My fellow aspiring writers at The Writer’s Center pointed me to three online sites that provide actual movie and TV scripts free in a variety of formats (.pdf, .txt, .html and the odd one or two others). What I could not find in one, I was able to locate in another.
So if you would like to see a real scripts for a real movie or TV program, try these links: