Read screenplays from famous and popular films for free!
If you read my posts about studying suspense and conflict, you may have noticed that I found a lot of useful information in books on screenwriting. I learned about story beats, the hero’s journey, and the purpose of story as an emotion generating machine.
Recently, I told a friend about my frustration with a particular short story’s many rejections. It is a story written completely in dialogue, not even a dialogue tag. He said, “Maybe it’s a one-act play,” and I could feel the light bulbs popping in my head. I ran to the internet and found a free online course called An Introduction to Screenwriting through Future Learn and the University of East Anglia, and I signed up.
The first assignment was to read screenplays–makes sense–and we were provided a link to a wonderful website where you can read over 100 free and legal to access screenplays. The Black List is so easy to use: Just click on the poster of the movie you want to read and it opens the full screenplay as a pdf.
2-9-2017 Sadly, when I went to The Black List site yesterday, it was not at all what it was when I wrote this post. There is an informative blog, so I’m leaving the link up, but you now have to sign up and pay to read scripts. But, Good News! I found another great site for reading scripts called Simply Scripts. It has a great selection of all kinds of scripts: Movies, TV, Unproduced, Radio, and more.
Our assignment was to pick a film we had seen and one we had not. I chose Gone Girl because I had read the book then seen the film and the author of the book, Gillian Flynn, also wrote the screenplay. I found this choice very boring (probably too familiar) and quickly switched to my next choice, The Bling Ring by Sofia Coppola. Though I had no interest in seeing this film, reading the screenplay was fun and informative. I especially enjoyed seeing some scenes replaced with the word Omitted. I felt like I was in on part of the process.
Our next assignment is to evaluate the screenplays we read for three act structure. This morning, I’m reading The Way Way Back, a film I have not seen yet and Despicable Me 2 which I have watched several times.
You can learn so much from reading these screenplays: script format, story structure, character development, dialogue and so much more. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to get a glimpse at the process of a movie beginning with words on a page.
I hope you enjoy this resource as much as I am. Let me know which scripts you choose in the comments. Do you like reading films you’ve seen or films you haven’t seen?
Discovering that the links in this post no longer went where intended was a good reminder to check your blog every three to six months to make sure posts are still current and relevant.