Another Story Idea Straight from the News

June 30th, 2015 by

Every April for six consecutive years, I have run a monthly series called A Story Idea Each Day for a Month. It’s exactly like it sounds: I post a story idea every day for 30 days in a row. We brainstorm possible ways to take each story, then I give them away for free.

The one thing they all have in common: My source for each story idea is the news. Here are links to 180 story ideas I’ve surfaced via various news services over the last 6 years:

Which leads me to this recent news article from the Daily Mail: ‘I am the Watcher. Bring me young blood': Family forced out of $1.3m dream home after being targeted by terrifying stalker.

A New Jersey family say they’ve been forced out of their luxury home by a stalker who identifies himself as the home’s ‘Watcher’ in letters threatening their children’s safety.

Maria and Derek Broaddus began receiving letters last month – just days after closing on the $1.3million dream home in the idyllic community of Westfield.

‘Why are you here? I will find out,’ the letter read.

‘My grandfather watched the house in the 1920s and my father watched in the 1960s. It is now my time. Do you need to fill the house with the young blood I requested?’

The letter is signed ‘The Watcher’.

I had already flagged this story for next April’s series, then this: Hollywood Eyes “The Watcher” – True Scare Story Packaged Around Town.

In a nightmarish story straight out of a horror film, a New Jersey family was forced to leave their idyllic dream home after becoming tormented by a terrifying stalker who calls themselves “The Watcher.” In two days, the macabre report made national headlines and has already captivated Hollywood interest. I’m hearing that in a mad scramble to be the first out of the gate, several packages are being shopped all over town, with names like James Wan and Bryan Bertino in the mix. Sources confirm that interest is swelling and the project is taking shape at the likes of Blumhouse Productions, Dimension Films, New Line Cinema, and Universal. Several different takes on the true terror tale are being pitched across the board, some unofficially, with rights still up in the air.

While it looks like I won’t be able to include this story in the 2016 version of A Story Idea Each Day for a Month, assuming it gets set up as movie deal, the larger point is this:

STORIES ARE EVERYWHERE!

It is virtually impossible to overstate the importance and value of a strong story concept for a spec script. The best way to find a great one is to generate a lot of them. And one source for story ideas: The news.

All you need to do is be a watcher…

Of the news, that is.

Why write?

June 24th, 2015 by

Fact: The chances of you making any money from writing, let alone establish a career, are slim. This is especially so with the creative arts like screenwriting and TV writing.

The competition is fierce. Writing gigs are limited. Studios, networks, and other purveyors of content are currently caught up in an obsession with pre-branded material — remakes, reboots, prequels, sequels — much to the detriment of original stories.

Which is to say if your primary goal with regard to writing is to make money, you are much better off going to work on Wall Street or some such thing.

Bottom line, it’s hard to make a living as a writer.

Given the long odds against financial success, the obvious question is this: Why write?

Here are my three answers.

Write because it brings you joy to give expression to your creativity.

If you are a person drawn to reading, watching, and telling stories, and you have a strong creative impulse, then it’s probably safe to say when you create something, that experience gives you a sense of personal satisfaction.

Holding an original script or book in hand, something you took from concept to The End, to be able to bring something into existence from nothing but your own imagination, creativity, talent, and perseverance…

You cannot put a price tag on the value of that experience.

So if creating from the seeds of your own inspiration brings you joy… that is a good reason to write.

Write because you love the act of writing.

Some people love having written something, yet loathe the actual writing.

Far more writers, I would guess, actually do love the act of writing.

There is something special about the time we devote to writing. The solitude. The deep immersion into our story universe. Communing with our characters. Seeing their actions and hearing their words. All of it playing out in our mind’s eye.

In some ways, it’s approaches something sacred, transforming however many hours we give to a particular writing session into an almost otherworldly type of experience.

There is nothing else we do which can approximate the unique nature of the very act of writing.

Yes, sometimes it can be incredibly hard to find the words. Writing. Rewriting. Rewriting again. Plot complications which at times seem unsolvable. Characters not responding to our pleas to talk to us. And the endless hours of butt on chair…

Yet we know this is a gift which has been given to us. While there are times we may say we hate it, we grasp that at a deeper, more existential level, we love writing… hands on keyboard or pen on paper, the tactile experience of magic happening in front of our eyes, words appearing on the page.

So if you love the act of writing… that is a good reason to write.

Write because if you don’t, you’ll always regret not having taken the chance.

Giving voice to one’s creativity is always a risk. We can fail. Be rejected. Craft a story which simply does not work.

And yet, there is a greater existential risk if we do not pursue writing. The risk that at some point in our lives, we will be haunted by a soul-crushing question: What might have happened?

You will never know the answer to that… unless you try.

If you have a creative spirit and you feel you have stories to tell, if you do not try your hand at writing, you can be assured of one thing: You will regret it.

There are a lot of sad things that come with human existence, but from an aesthetic perspective, to me there is nothing sadder than someone who goes through their entire lifetime and opts not to attempt to follow their bliss and pursue their creative ambitions. Joseph Campbell summed it up well:

JCampbell08.0WRONGWALL

So if you know you’ll always regret not having taken the chance… that is a good reason to write.

There is no guarantee anyone will make money off their writing. But that doesn’t mean there are no good reasons to write.

Write because it brings you joy to give expression to your creativity.
Write because you love the act of writing.
Write because if you don’t, you’ll always regret not having taken the chance.

Those are three good reasons. There are dozens more. How about you? How do you answer the question, Why write?

Special thanks to Patricia Curtin for creating the Joseph Campbell image above.

What writing podcasts are you listening to?

June 24th, 2015 by

The Writers Guild of America, West has launched a new podcast called 3rd & Fairfax (named after the street corner in L.A. where the Guild headquarters is located). With its debut, I thought it would be a good idea to touch base with readers to see what writing / screenwriting / TV writing podcasts you find worthy of your attention.

Here is a list of podcasts I frequently promote in Saturday Hot Links:

3rd & Fairfax (WGAW)
Black List Table Reads
Broken Projector
Dave Bullis
Chicks Who Script
The Moment with Brian Koppelman
Nerdist
Nerdist Writers Panel
Scriptnotes
The Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith
Writers Guild Foundation

What other podcasts about the craft of writing are you listening to and would recommend?

“Writing Strong Female Characters: What You’re Doing Wrong”

June 18th, 2015 by

If you look at movies currently in theaters, there are several with female leads: Furiosa (Mad Max: Fury Road), Casey Newton (Tomorrowland), Susan Cooper (Spy), and Pitch Perfect 2 which features several roles played by women.

With that in mind, I was interested to read a blog entry by author Hannah Heath: Writing Strong Female Characters: What You’re Doing Wrong. In it, Hannah lists eight items:

1. You think of her as a strong female character: “The fact that you have to put the word “strong” in front of “female” shows that there is something very wrong with the way you view girl characters. Females are strong.

2. She’s super good at “guy things” for no particular reason: “This one cracks me up. This girl can do everything. She can fix cars, fire a gun, knows how to skateboard, and can pack a punch better than any guy. Why? Um…well, because it’s defying man’s superiority! ”

3. You’re objectifying her: “Strong females do not parade around in skin tight suits, low cut blouses, dresses with slits up to the thigh, or midriff-showing tops. They do not flaunt their bodies or try to seduce bad guys in order to get a good shot at killing them. Ever.”

4. She has no personality: “This is exasperatingly common. Other than kicking butt and taking names, having the generic dark past that she struggles with, Ms. Strong doesn’t really have much of a character.”

5. She’s distant and not very nice: “She’s snaps at everyone around her, hates the world, and is kind of self-centered until the end of the story. She’s afraid of letting people into her life because she got hurt once. Deep down she’s insecure and lonely.”

6. She’s perfect: “Strength is not synonymous with perfection. Strength is having flaws but fighting to deal with them.”

7. She falls in love with your male character for no apparent reason: “Romance is good and all, but not when it’s only there for the sake of being there. Give her a reason to fall in love that goes deeper than ‘He’s cute and I understand him.’

8. Her weapon of choice is a bow and arrow or she always wears leather jackets: “Naw, I’m just kidding. It’s totally fine if you want your character to do this. Just be aware that it’s pretty common.”

Hannah goes into much greater detail in her post, which you can read here. But it raises a question: What other ways are female characters portrayed in movies, TV and books that feel inauthentic to you?

Twitter: @_HannahHeath.

If you resonate with Hannah’s list or have others to add, please head to comments. I’m interested to read your thoughts.

A story’s “second music”

June 16th, 2015 by

A screenplay universe has two worlds:

The External World, what I call the Plotline, the domain of Action and Dialogue.
The Internal World, what I call the Themeline, the domain of Intention and Subtext.

We may think of the Plotline as the story’s Physical Journey.
We may think of the Themeline as the story’s Psychological Journey.

The Psychological Journey gives meaning to the Physical Journey, the respective contours of character arcs. Transformation. Metamorphosis. Change.

This means that in any given scene, any moment, while something is happening in the External World, something else happens in the Internal World.

I came across a poem which conveys this point wonderfully.

The Second Music
by Annie Lighthart

Now I understand that there are two melodies playing,
one below the other, one easier to hear, the other

lower, steady, perhaps more faithful for being less heard
yet always present.

When all other things seem lively and real,
this one fades. Yet the notes of it

touch as gently as fingertips, as the sound
of the names laid over each child at birth.

I want to stay in that music without striving or cover.
If the truth of our lives is what it is playing,

the telling is so soft
that this mortal time, this irrevocable change,

becomes beautiful. I stop and stop again
to hear the second music.

I hear the children in the yard, a train, then birds.
All this is in it and will be gone. I set my ear to it as I would to a heart.

In a screenplay, there are two melodies: The Plotline. The Themeline.

The former we see as Action and hear as Dialogue.
The latter we intuit as Intention and interpret as Subtext.

That first melody is visceral, playing to our eyes and ears.
The second melody is more… evocative… feeling… emotionally tactile.

When we write a screenplay, we give much thought and consideration to the Plotline, as we should. The events from scene to scene. Pace. Transitions. Major plot points.

That’s the first music.

We must also — and in equal fashion — pay close attention to the Themeline. The emotional life of the characters. The psychological ups and downs, ins and outs. The emergence of themes and motifs.

That’s the second music.

Whether it’s Dorothy Gale learning to feel like her home in Kansas is a home in The Wizard of Oz… or Clarice Starling vanquishing her nightmares by saving a victim from a serial killer in The Silence of the Lambs… or Phil discovering what it means to move from selfish to selfless in Groundhog Day, all stories, all movies have two narrative melodies.

As writers, we need to hear — and write — them both.

“Now I understand that there are two melodies playing, one below the other, one easier to hear, the other… lower, steady, perhaps more faithful for being less heard yet always present… I stop and stop again to hear the second music… I set my ear to it as I would to a heart.”

For more poetry by Annie Lighthart, go here.

Twitter Rant: Brian Koppelman on Writing Advice and the Courage to Risk Failure

June 16th, 2015 by

Brian Koppelman is a writer, director and producer whose movie credits include Rounders, Ocean’s 13, and Runaway Jury. He is also known for his excellent podcast “The Moment” and a popular Vine series on writing and the creative life.

Recently Brian went on a Twitter rant in three parts. It is reprinted here in its entirety by permission.


1b) the fact that every EVERY agent in Hollywood passed on the Rounders script and on repping us. Only to all, ALL, beat down our door…

1c) the week after Rounders sold, with excuses and lies about not having really read it. In an instant, I knew that the lemming thing

1d) wasn’t for me. And same thing happened, in a different way, on Solitary Man. We were told that it could not get made unless we

1e) changed the ending. We refused. Found a way. The conventional wisdom is only right, and only sits in final judgement if you let it.

“How do you know your talented enough?” You’ll hear this one too. Say: I know I love doing it. That’s enough for now.

“Do you have an agent yet?” This one’s just another way of saying: I’m jealous that you have the courage to try what I have always wanted to

“Nobody sells orignal material.’ This means: if you try and succeed at it, I will hate myself for settling.

“If you don’t move to LA, you’re not serious.” Translation: I believe there are hard and fast rules for success. Don’t make me think.

“Hollywood wants you for only one genre.” This means: I will hate myself for abandoning the great 10 pages I wrote out of fear.

“If you get an agent, do exactly what they say, or they’ll stop taking your calls.” This means: I want to be a child again.

“Well, sure, you got lucky. You knew someone. Were related to someone. Are pretty.” I have to blame someone for the fact that I’m a coward.


“Stoop to conquer. Smile. Do the notes.” This means: My relationship with the studio/producer is more important than mine with you.

“Come on. Be realistic. You’ve been at this for years.” Means: Please quit, so I can feel better about never trying.

—-

1) We tried to get I Smile Back made for 4 years. All agents said no way. Too dark. This was a script my wife and her partner wrote from…

2) My wife’s novel (@AmyLKoppelman btw). It had taken Amy 7 years to write the novel. No publisher ahead of time. Many publishers passed.

3) all said, it was too disturbing and dark and unrelenting. Finally one said yes. Then Amy and Paige wrote the script. And nobody would

4) finance it. Same reasons given. It is too dark. Too disturbing. At least three agencies said no one would finance it even w cast.

5) but we found a way to make it, for little money, with the great @SarahKSilverman. And it got into Sundance, got distribution…

6) is coming out theatrically. There were 15 times Amy could have quit. Everyone told her she was crazy. Didn’t seem that way at Sundance.

—-

A) Here’s a true thing I don’t think I’ve said publicly. I love to write songs. Country songs, mostly. It’s something I do to blow off steam

B) the odds of me selling a song, getting a cover by a country artist, are supremely small. But I have taken songwriting trips to nashville

c) I demo the songs and send em out. It is scary and embarrassing each time I try. But if I don’t try, that’s worse.

D) because not trying feels like something dies inside. So I do it. And someday, maybe I beat those odds and hear a great sing one.

Brian is co-creator and producer of the upcoming Showtime series “Billions”.

You may follow Brian on Twitter: @briankoppelman.

Page One Writer’s Conference: May 2, 2015

April 24th, 2015 by

Attention all you writers within hailing distance of Chicago: On May 2nd, be sure to check out the DePaul University School of Cinematic Arts Page One Writers’ Conference.

page one 2015

Here is the list of writers and industry insiders who will be appearing at the event:

-Randi Barnes is a film and TV writer whose most recent work includes the animated film, Legends of Oz and the current hit TV series Girl Meets World.

-Alex Beh is an award winning Actor/Writer/Director and recently name by Shoot Magazine as one of the new directors to watch. He has directed and appeared in multiple commercials and his first feature film, Warren, is now available for streaming.

-Linwood Boomer began his career as an actor in the NBC series Little House on the Prairie. He moved behind the scenes in 1985 and since served as an executive producer or consultant on many TV shows, leading to his biggest success, the Fox comedy Malcolm in the Middle.

-Trey Callaway is a veteran writer that has written for both Film and TV (I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, CSI:NY) and currently, is the Executive Producer and writer of a new CW series called The Messengers, which debuted mid-April.

-Josh Golden graduated from DePaul University’s Digital Cinema program. After making his move out west, he wrote the spec script Road to OZ, which became a finalist in the prestigious Nicholl Fellowship, and soon thereafter the script sold to New Line Cinema.

-Sneha Koorse first gained attention upon winning the Grand Prize in the Slamdance Screenwriting and Teleplay Competition. Her first staff writing job was on FX’s The Americans, for which she received a WGA Nomination for Best New Series. Currently, Sneha finished the first season of NBC’s show, Constantine.

-John Oakes is senior vice president of development at Bold Films. Jon has produced such films as, Drive, starring Ryan Gosling, Legion and The Hole. Bold Films is the production company behind Whiplash and Nightcrawler.

-David and Janet Peoples’ collaboration as scriptwriters began on the Oscar-nominated The Day After Trinity documentary. David, a former editor of news programs, documentaries and commercials is a screenwriter known for the films Blade Runner, Unforgiven and Twelve Monkeys which he wrote with his wife, Janet.

-Kate Powers has been a writers’ assistant and/or script coordinator for shows such as, Breaking Bad, The Good Wife and Mad Men before becoming a writer for Sundance Channel’s Rectify, for which she was nominated for a WGA Writing Award for Episodic Drama for her episode, “Donald the Normal.”

-Erin Rodman has worked in many facets of film and television production and development for many networks and studios. As a writer, Erin is a Nicholl Fellowship semi-finalist and a Family Friendly Programming Forum award winner.

-David Rosenthal has been writing and producing television for over twenty years. His credits include Spin City, Gilmore Girls, The Middle and Jane The Virgin.

-Bruce Joel Rubin is a writer and producer, known for Ghost, for which he won an academy award for Best Original Screenplay, Jacob’s Ladder, Stuart Little 2 and Deep Impact.

-Craig Titley is a feature and TV writer/producer who found success writing family films such as, the live-action Scooby-Doo, Cheaper by the Dozen, and Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lighting Thief. In television, Craig has written episodes for Star Wars: The Clone Wars and is currently a writer/producer on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

-Rob Wolken is the co-owner and COO of Rain Management Group. He handles artists in film, TV, theater and new media, some of his clients produce such shows as: House of Cards, The Mentalist and NCIS New Orleans. Rob is also the Executive Producer on the new ABC Family series Stitchers.

For more information, you can visit their Facebook page here.

For background on the DePaul University School of Cinematic Arts, you can read my June 2014 interview with screenwriter and faculty member Brad Riddell here.

Remember the date: Saturday, May 2nd. Spread the word, Midwesterners!

Update: The Joker’s third scar origin story from The Dark Knight

April 7th, 2015 by

Last week, I was musing about The Dark Knight and what the Joker’s third origin story of his facial scars might have been before Batman rudely interrupted the psychopath by tossing him off the skyscraper. One thing led to another and we ended up with a contest. A bunch of folks contributed their take on what the Joker might have said had he been allowed to continue. Indeed I offered a prize:

I’ll do a 30 minute teleconference with the writer of the winning entry. If you have a story idea — logline or short treatment (no more than 2 pages) — we can discuss that. Or if you just want to talk about writing, we can do that, too.

I was originally going to award one prize, but the posts were so great, I ended up going with three winners. They are: Will King, Jacob Holmes-Brown, and Chris Molinaro. Here are their winning entries.

Will King

I’m going with the observation that the Joker tailored his story to each audience, and at this point, his audience is Batman.

Just past this point after Batman pulls him back up on the safety line (or Batrope—yeah, I’m a child of the 60s), the Joker plays his hand by saying “You didn’t think I’d risk the battle for Gotham’s soul in a fist fight with you?” and tells him about Harvey being his ace in the hole.

So, my what-if for this alternate scenario is: what if the Joker was just about to expose his hand when Batman cut him off?

JOKER
You can’t rely on anyone these days. You’ve got to do everything yourself, don’t we? That’s okay, I came prepared.

It’s a funny world we live in. Speaking of which, you know how I got these scars?

As a kid I had a dentist who said I didn’t open my mouth wide enough. He told me, “We got to make it a lot bigger so I can work in there.” So, he took the drill, but instead of drilling my teeth, he used it to broaden my smile, all the while humming along with it’s high-pitched whine. Sure made him happy. His office had one of those old-fashioned doors with the name painted on the wavy glass. Funny world. You see, it didn’t say “DDS” or “Dentist” like the others. His had a different spelling: D-E-N-T. Period. Funny, don’t you think?

Jacob Holmes-Brown

I always saw the Joker’s stories as writing himself an origin story. He is clearly an unreliable storyteller as we don’t know if either of his stories are true but I felt that it was the process of telling that was more important to him.
For me the scars themselves are just a detail, the Joker always seems more interested in provoking the “why” response/thought process. So I felt that in this final conversation with Batman the Joker wanted to reveal Batman to himself.

***

JOKER: Speaking of which, you know how I got these scars? You could say that I had a, uh, a rough childhood. Abandoned and set adrift in this mean ol’ scary world. I looked at myself in the mirror, I thought- I couldn’t keep them, I could save them, you know. ‘course you do. Not as me anyhow. But you stare into yourself for too long, Bats, you stare into the void, and you- I just got to that point where I couldn’t go on staring any longer. Not when you’ve got the radio crying out and the television crying out, all those screams just trying to get a piece of your attention. So I broke the mirror. And, with so many eyes on me, I took the glass… [traces his smile with his fingers] and I put on my mask. Who am I without it, hmm? Maybe just another lunatic who climbed out of the asylum. Maybe just another little lost boy without a mommy or a daddy… but that’s who I was and he doesn’t interest me much anymore.

Chris Molinaro

Wanna know how I got these scars? When you’re a kid who gets off killing small animals, it raises a red flag or two. But once you graduate to… bigger game… that’s when they send you to juvi. Out of sight… out of their minds.

The other boys used to tease me relentlessly. Always laughing. Kids can be so cruel. Now the warden was an especially creative disciplinarian. After the inevitable fights between me and the kids who sensed I was…different… he’d hand us each a sharpened screwdriver, lock us in the showers, kill the lights and tell us to settle it like men. Like men? We were little boys! Well, what are little boys most afraid of?

Monsters.

One day it’s me and Robbie O’Malley’s turn and he’s standing there, laughing at me like a hyena. As per usual. So I took that screwdriver and gave myself a permanent makeover. Oh, that shut Robbie up all right. Then I looked at that scared little urine-soaked boy and as the room went pitch black, said the last three words he’d ever hear. “Who’s laughing now?”

Honestly, every post had something interesting going on in it, so thanks to each writer who participated.

How about this: If you have other suggestions for dialogue challenges based on notable movies, post in comments. Maybe we’ll do something like this every month or so. I’m all about doing what we can to motivate people to write.

Winners, email me and we’ll set up your calls.

Again thanks to everyone who took the time and effort to get in touch with their inner Joker.

What is the third origin story about The Joker’s scars in The Dark Knight?

April 2nd, 2015 by

This week in my Character Development Keys class, yet another stellar session, our study script is The Dark Knight. In one of the many forum discussions, we were analyzing the story’s Nemesis figure: The Joker. The subject came up about the two stories Joker tells about his scars.

The first version he recounts to Gambol, the crime boss:

Wanna know how I got these scars? My father was a drinker and a fiend. And one night he goes off crazier than usual. Mommy gets the kitchen knife to defend herself. He doesn’t like that. Not. One. Bit. So – me watching – he takes the knife to her, laughing while he does it! Turns to me, and he says, “Why so serious, son?” Comes at me with the knife… “Why so serious?” He sticks the blade in my mouth… “Let’s put a smile on that face!” And… why so serious?

The second version he tells to Rachel:

Oh, you look nervous. Is it the scars? Wanna know how I got ‘em? C’mere, look at me. So, I had a wife, who was beautiful…like you, who tells me I worry too much, who tells me I oughta smile more, who gambles and gets in deep with the sharks… Hey. One day they carve her face. And we got no money for surgeries. She can’t take it. I just want to see her smile again. Hmm? I just wanted to let her know that I don’t care about the scars. So, I stick a razor in my mouth and do this… to myself. And you know what? She can’t stand the sight of me! She leaves! Now I see the funny side. Now, I’m always smiling!

There’s an obvious discussion to be had about these two. Obviously they both can’t be true, so which one is it? Or more likely, neither is. But then I got to thinking about the final struggle between Batman and Joker. And just before Joker is going to detonate the bombs on the ships, he says this:

Joker: Speaking of which, you know how I got these scars?

To which Batman replies:

Batman: No, but I know how you got these.

Then proceeds to assault Joker and send him tumbling ass over teacups off the skyscraper only to save the Bad Guy’s life. You can see the specific interchange at the 01:30 mark of this clip:

My question is this: What was Joker’s third story? What would he have told Batman had he had the chance? It might be fun for folks to take a whack at Joker’s third — unspoken — story.

To spice up things, how about a prize? I’ll do a 30 minute teleconference with the writer of the winning entry. If you have a story idea — logline or short treatment (no more than 2 pages) — we can discuss that. Or if you just want to talk about writing, we can do that, too.

For inspiration, you might start off with this interesting analysis on Reddit about the first two stories.

But what is that mysterious third story Joker started to tell? Put your creativity to work and concoct a story Joker might tell.

Let’s put a deadline on this: You have through midnight Pacific Daylight Time this Friday.

Speaking of which, you know how I got these scars…

There’s your prompt. Finish Joker’s third story.

Go!

UPDATE: I will announce the winners — yes, there are more than one! — tomorrow (Tuesday) right here on the blog.

Resource: Writing Groups

March 5th, 2015 by

This week, I’ve been aggregating writing groups arising from a post I did on Monday wherein I asked: Are you a member of a writers group? Lots of responses. Then Go Into The Story Research Assistant Wendy Jane Cohen did her usually brilliant job (thanks, Wendy!) and has come up with this list:

LOS ANGELES AREA

Dramatica Writers Group (Burbank, CA)
Ink Tank Group (Burbank/DTLA)
Hollywood Write Club (Hollywood, CA)
Script It Writers Group (Los Angeles, CA)
Sunday Night Screenwriter’s Group (Los Angeles, CA)
Malibu Screenwriting Group (Malibu, CA)
Orange County Screenwriters (Orange County, CA)
Pasadena Area Screenwriting Group (Pasadena, CA)
Pomona-Claremont (Round-the-way) Screenwriters Group (Pomona, CA)
Coffee House Writers Group (San Dimas, CA)
South Bay Screenwriters (San Pedro, CA)
ScriptWrights (Studio City, CA)
Beyond Baroque Screenwriting Workshop (Venice, CA)
Ventura County Screenwriters Group (Ventura, CA)

NORTH AMERICA (Alphabetized by State)

Phoenix Screenwriters Association (Phoenix, AZ)
Tucson Writers Workshop (Tucson, AZ)
Berkeley Writers Circle (Berkeley, CA)
Desert Screenwriters Group (Palm Springs, CA)
Oxnard Screenwriters (Oxnard, CA)
San Diego Screenwriters Group (San Diego, CA)
San Francisco Screenwriters Group (San Francisco, CA)
Shut Up and Write! (San Francisco / Bay Area, CA)
Litchfield Hills Film Festival – Screenwriters Group (New Milford, CT)
Washington Screenwriters (Washington, D.C.)
Miami Screenwriters (Miami, FL)
Orlando Screenwriters Meetup (Orlando, FL)
Sarasota Writers Group (Sarasota, FL)
Atlanta Screenwriters Anonymous (Atlanta, GA)
Georgia Screenwriting Group (Hiram, GA)
Oahu Shut Up and Write (Honolulu, HI)
Chicagoland Screenwriters and Filmmakers (Chicago, IL)
Chicago Screenwriters Network (Chicago, IL)
New Orleans Screenwriters Group (New Orleans, LA)
Boston Screenwriters Group (Boston, MA)
Noho Screenwriters Workshop (Northampton, MA)
Baltimore Screenwriters Coffee Club (Baltimore, MD)
Minnesota Screenwriters Workshop (Minneapolis, MN)
Kansas City Scriptwriters (Kansas City, MO)
Las Vegas Screenwriters Group (Las Vegas, NV)
New Jersey Screenwriters Network (North NJ)
Long Island Screenwriters Group (New York, NY)
NYC Screenwriters Collective (New York, NY)
Shut Up and Write! (New York, NY)
American Screenwriter’s Association (Cincinnati, OH)
Dysfunctional Screenwriters Society (Philadelphia, PA)
Philly Scriptwriters (Philadelphia, PA)
Tennessee Screenwriting Association (Nashville, TN)
Austin Screenwriters Group (Austin, TX)
Dallas Screenwriters Association (Dallas, TX)
San Antonio Screenwriters Guild (San Antonio, TX)
Salt Lake City Writers Group (Salt Lake City, UT)
Utah Screenwriter’s Group (Salt Lake City, UT)
Northern Virginia Writers Guild (Fairfax, VA)
Burlington Writers Workshop (Burlington, VT)
Seattle Writers Group (Seattle, WA)
Wisconsin Screenwriter’s Forum (Madison, WI)

Canada

The Writers Room (Ottawa, Canada)
Toronto Screenwriters Group (Toronto, Canada)
Vancouver Screenwriters Meetup Group (Vancouver, Canada)

INTERNATIONAL

Europe

Dublin Screenwriters Group (Dublin, Ireland)
Galway Scriptwriters Group (Galway, Ireland)
London Writers’ Circle (London, United Kingdom)
Scottish Screenwriters (Glasgow, Scotland)

Oceana

Sydney Screenwriters Group (Sydney, Australia)

ONLINE

The Academy of Film Writing
The Internet Writing Workshop

FIND A WRITING GROUP / OTHER RESOURCES

LA TV Writers Group (Online Tracking Board)
Meetup Search For A Screenwriting Group In Your Area
The Scriptwriters Network
ScreenPlayLab
JHRTS NY / LA

Three things. First, the inclusion of these groups on GITS does not mean I endorse them, rather I am simply providing them as a resource. You should do due diligence in checking them out for yourself.

Second, if you have a suggestion for another writing group, please post in comments and I’ll be happy to update this post.

Three, this is where this whole initiative started, my thoughts on the matter:

However you do it, connect with other writers. Good ones. Create a writing group. Commit to reading each others’ pages and provide a constructive critique. You’ll help them. They’ll help you. Everyone will become less ‘precious’ with their work. You will be learning how to accept critiques of your material, lock in on the good ideas, then implement them in rewrites.

I am putting this into the Archives as a resource for writers from here on out.

Onward!