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Read Screenplays Online And Skyrocket Your Screenwriting

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November 28, 2009 2 comments

If you don’t read screenplays online to help your writing, you’re putting yourself at a major disadvantage compared to those who do.

And if you do read screenplays online, how many have you read? One? Ten? Twenty? The truth is, if you want to get seriously good at screenwriting, you need to have read at least one hundred professional screenplays, and to continue reading them.

Anyone who wants to become an artist—to master a creative pursuit, whether that’s writing, acting, painting, or training a dog to tap dance—does so in part by a process of osmosis. That is, they immerse themselves in the work of other great artists in their field, soaking up all they can.

In the world of screenwriting, this is easy to do. All you have to do is start to read screenplays online. But if you’ve only read one or two scripts, it’s kind of like saying Prince would’ve been able to write Kiss after only hearing two James Brown songs.

Many aspiring screenwriters, though, think they can get by without reading scripts and yet still somehow knock out a Nicholl winner. Sadly, life’s just not that easy when it comes to starting a professional screenwriting career.

Now, you’ve probably heard this advice to read movie scripts before, but we suggest you don’t just randomly pick up any old script once in a while and read it. Here’s our action plan detailing how you should read them:

Step #1: Download 100 Screenplays To Read

Go to this post: 50 Of The Best Screenplays To Read And Download In Every Genre and download some of your favorite scripts. Then check out where you can read scripts online and download some more.

Then, make a list of one hundred scripts that you want to read. Many writers like to stick to reading screenplays online in the genre that they want to write in. This is because if you’re writing a Comedy, you need to learn how to make the description funny. If you’re writing a Horror, you need to know how to convey a sense of dread, and so on.

Step #2: Write Up A Plan To Read Screenplays Online

Now, looking at one hundred scripts just sitting there in a folder on your hard drive can be daunting. But if you make a commitment to read two scripts a week—say, on a Sunday morning and Wednesday lunchtime—you’ll get through them all in about twelve months.

Draw up an action plan. Pin it to your wall if needs be, start to read screenplays online and take this screenwriting thing seriously. Once you make the commitment, we can guarantee that your writing will be far more confident, expressive and professional at the end of twelve months than it is now.

Step #3: Start Reading Screenplays Online

Take a deep breath, open the first screenplay on your list, and start reading. Vigorously ignore the nagging sensation that you’re wasting time “just reading scripts” when you could be writing. What you’re doing by reading scripts online is building an understanding from the ground up on how they’re crafted: 

How the description effortlessly brings an evocative image to mind with so few words. How the action lines always suggest forward motion, pushing the scene, the characters and the story along. How the dialogue is short, tight and witty.How scenes are crafted to generate  maximum emotion in the reader. And so on.

We won’t go into a specific list here of things to keep in mind while reading, as it’s more a  process of osmosis as we said. Basically, the more you read scripts online, the more you’ll subconsciously absorb the writers’ styles into your own.

Step #4: Be Aware Of Formatting Differences In Pro And Spec Scripts 

There are a few differences between professional screenplays and spec screenplays format-wise, though. For example, professional screenplays sometimes have numbered scenes. It’s not a deal breaker, but it’s probably best not to do this in a spec.

Professional screenplays are also often full of those naughty camera angles, such as CLOSE ON, REVERSE ANGLE, TILT UP, etc. that you’ve probably been told never in a billion years to include in your script. Well, they’re wrong.

If you want to create the sensation of the camera slowly going from left to right across pairs of shoes under a table in a restaurant, by all means write “PAN ACROSS well-heeled feet nuzzling.” Just don’t overdo it. Remember, your primary aim in writing description is to convey the impression we’re watching the movie as we read, and if you need the odd camera angle shot to make that easier, use it.

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Do you read screenplays online? And if so how many? Have you found that reading scripts online has helped your screenwriting? Let us know in the comments section below. And once you’re ready, don’t forget you can get some of the best script coverage on the web by having a pro screenwriter review your work. Simply click the banner below to get started.

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2 Comments
  1. Daniela says:

    Hello and thank you for the intrigue of your book. i ateteptmd to acquire it to read, through your amazon link, being thrilled to find a free offering, then seeing the expiration date had just passed. There was no further information on how to procure a copy.I am eager to read it when it comes available to me, your comments are great.Your artwork is fabulous! I too am a water spirit and a new author. I look forward to knowing you more.Thanks for liking my post on Change.

    1. SRP says:

      Hey Daniela, thanks for your kind words. You can get the book by visiting this link: https://www.scriptreaderpro.com/screenwriting-books/

      Hope it helps you out 🙂
      Cheers!

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