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Best Gifts For Screenwriters
Long gone are the days of typewriters or word processors and going through stacks of paper trying to figure out the correct margins and tabs to properly format a screenplay.
These days, there are countless new and exciting products, books and technologies on the market that make a screenwriter’s work easier and much more fun.
If you’re looking for some ideas for useful, fun or creative gift ideas for the screenwriter in your life, here are some of the best.
Here are some of the best books about screenwriting for writers new to screenwriting, as well as those with some experience.
You can find these at most bookstores and online booksellers like Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and TheWritersStore.com.
SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder
Year after year, many screenwriters will tell you that Save the Cat is one of their all-time favorite screenwriting books.
It's currently #1 in Screenwriting Books on Amazon.com.
Blake Snyder breaks down the story beats found in every good movie and shows writers how to carefully plan and structure their stories before they start writing the actual screenplay so the writing process becomes much smoother.
STORY by Robert McKee
This very in-depth screenwriting book by Robert McKee goes deep into the heart of what makes a great story and will create a memorable screenplay.
It’s the kind of book that beginner as well as more advanced screenwriters will appreciate.
THE SCREENWRITER'S BIBLE by David Trottier
This is the book Hollywood goes by when it comes to all the very detailed rules of professionally formatting a spec script.
Recently updated (6th edition is the most current), this invaluable reference guide has examples that cover just about every common formatting question a screenwriter can have.
It’s truly a must-have for screenwriters who want to learn how to properly format their script to industry standards.
THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES by Joseph Campbell
The classic hero’s journey is one found in many genres of films, even in some of today’s biggest blockbusters.
Though not a quick read, this very helpful book goes in-depth about each step of the hero’s journey so that writers can understand how to craft a classic story that stands the test of time.
SCREENPLAY: THE FOUNDATIONS OF SCREENWRITING by Syd Field
This long-time best-selling screenwriting book teaches writers all the basics they need to know about story, character, screenplay structure and more.
This classic book is a must-have for anyone who wants to learn about screenwriting.
THE SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING by William C. Martell
For writers who want to write in the action and thriller genres, this fantastic, very thorough book by William C. Martell is worth every penny.
Learn what works and what doesn’t when crafting an action-based screenplay and how to write fast-paced, intense scenes that will keep audiences on the edge of their seats.
The Kindle version is currently $9.99 US and has a 5-star rating on Amazon.
STORY MAPS: HOW TO WRITE A GREAT SCREENPLAY by Daniel Calvisi
This book focusing on screenplay structure was written by an experienced professional story analyst who has worked for many top studios and production companies.
Story Maps helps writers approach their screenplay from the perspective of the ‘Hollywood Reader’, which typically is the very first person to read a screenplay submitted to an agent, movie studio or production company.
With lots of examples from current blockbusters, this book goes beyond the screenwriting basics and teaches writers how to write the kind of screenplays Hollywood is always looking for.
HOW TO WRITE A MOVIE IN 21 DAYS by Viki King
This is another classic screenwriter favorite. Viki King teaches screenwriters of all levels how to come up with compelling movie ideas and then shows them easy-to-follow techniques for developing those ideas into full-length screenplays, all in just 21 days.
Fade In Pro Professional Screenwriting Software
Fade In Pro was designed by screenwriter, director and producer Kent Tessman.
This powerful, yet easy-to-use screenwriting software makes writing a professionally formatted screenplay so simple. The many writing and development features are intuitive to use and it has a black background around the edges of the white pages, which seems easier on the eyes than some of the other programs.
It’s also compatible with other screenwriting software (such as Final Draft, Scrivener, Movie Magic, Adobe Story, Celtx and many text editors) so importing and exporting to and from different formats is easy. Fade In Pro tends to be updated regularly, so it keeps getting better all the time.
It’s currently available for only $49.99 at http://fadeinpro.com.
Scrivener is a comprehensive writing program that can help screenwriters immensely, especially in the planning, outlining and drafting phase of the screenwriting process.
It has a great index card feature, a powerful outlining mode, a screenplay writing mode and places to gather character bios, setting profiles, story research, notes, story boarding, photos and just about anything else all in one file.
There’s even a composition mode for writers who like to see nothing but a pure white page on their screen to write on. It’s very affordable too.
It currently sells for $45 US and can be bought from directly from the software's developer at http://www.literatureandlatte.com, the Apple App Store or or Amazon.com.
Final Draft 9
Final Draft 9 is known as the industry-standard screenwriting software for film and television. It’s a powerful and versatile program that automatically formats screenplays to a professional standard.
It includes a variety of other helpful features like spell check, Index Card View, a dictionary and dozens of templates. Windows and Mac compatible.
Final Draft 9 Regular version sells for $249 at http://www.finaldraft.com.
It’s usually much less expensive to purchase from Amazon.com or TheWritersStore.com.
A good, portable laptop computer is one of the best gifts for screenwriters. Even writers who like to draft screenplays with a pen and paper will eventually need a computer to put their script into the proper format.
If you really want to spoil the screenwriter in your life, here are some of the best options:
The MacBook Air is perfect for screenwriters. It’s super light, thin and portable so that writers can work on their project wherever they go.
It has more than enough power to handle any screenwriting software and has a great keyboard that makes typing a breeze.
iPad Air Tablet
Tablets are becoming more popular with screenwriters because of their portability and the wide selection of writing apps to choose from.
Many of the most popular screenwriting software programs (including Scrivener, Fade In Pro and Final Draft) offer an iOS version of their software that makes it easy for writers to work on their script from anywhere.
Most screenwriters find typing on a tablet isn’t ideal, so adding a keyboard case like the highly-rated Logitech Type+ Bluetooth Keyboard Case for iPad Air makes it nearly as easy to type as if you’re working on a laptop.
Apple App Store Gift Cards
The selection of apps for writers and screenwriters is growing by the day. There are apps for creating index cards, story boarding, basic drafting and word-processing.
iOS versions of Final Draft, Scrivener and Fade In Pro let screenwriters to plan and write their next screenplay on their iPad or iPhone.
If you’re not sure what to get, an iTunes Gift Card is one of the best gifts for screenwriters. They can also download their favorite music to have on in the background as they work on their script.
App Store and iTunes Gift cards can be bought at most major retailers and at http://www.apple.com/shop/accessories/giftcards.
Some Gifts for Screenwriters from CafePress.com
Other Gifts Ideas for Screenwriters
Some other good places to look for gifts for screenwriters are CafePress.com and TheWritersStore.com.
Here are the specific links on these sites to find gifts and items geared toward screenwriters:
CafePress Gifts for Screenwriters:
Be sure to check out Cafe Press tote bags. They have hundreds of designs specifically for writers and screenwriters. The bags are made from a durable, sturdy canvas and are perfect for carrying around notes, drafts and other writing essentials.
WritersStore.com | Apparel & Fun Things:
'Writer' Cap from TheWritersStore.com
Vintage Typewriter Mouse Pad
Clap Board Gift Bag
Pilot Varsity Pens
Even with all the latest software and gadgets available to screenwriters, sometimes there’s nothing like a nice fountain pen and a notepad to start writing Hollywood’s next blockbuster.
Pilot Varsity pens are as close as you can get to old-fashioned style fountain pens, but they’re disposable and inexpensive. They come in black and an assortment of other colors.
These pens can be hard to find in some stores. Check office supply stores or Amazon.com, which tends to have a good selection of them.
Anyone who has ever owned a Moleskine Notebook knows they’re a real treat to write in.
The ultra-smooth, acid-free paper and the attention to detail that goes into constructing these classic notebooks makes them ideal gifts for screenwriters.
The notebook shown here is the Reporter Notebook that flips open at the top and is convenient for taking notes and jotting things down on the run.
There are hundreds of very cool notebooks to choose from at http://www.moleskine.com.
Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag
What screenwriter doesn't need a rugged messenger bag to tote their laptop or tablet, notes and other gadgets?
The Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag is very durable and comes in a wide selection of colors and sizes.
The padded strap is comfortable and the bag comes with a lifetime warranty.
Timbuk2 Messenger Bag in Medium is 18.1" wide x 12.2" high, so it will easily fit scripts, notepads and even a 15" laptop computer or large tablet like the iPad Pro.
More Gift Ideas for Screenwriters
I hope I've given you some good ideas for the screenwriter on your shopping list.
When in doubt, gift cards for iTunes, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the Apple Store or any office supply store are usually things any screenwriter will surely appreciate and love.
Who are you getting the gift for?
© 2012 carolynkaye