In the Writer's Diet Follow-up post, we discussed the importance of reading good writing. The principle applies (and works) regardless of what kind of writer you are. And while you may have to make a trip to the local library or bookstore to get your hands on a good book, you don't even have to leave the computer to acquire a good screenplay.
Here are some sites which house screenplays for download. As with everything online, use caution when downloading documents and clicking on links.
I generally rank websites based on whether they have two screenplays in their database: My Best Friend's Wedding and Shakespeare in Love. The former is important because it's my favorite movie. And I'm biased. The latter is important because it has been referenced as the epitome of what a screenplay should be and because it won just about every award imaginable. You need to know what works in order to produce along those same lines.
Here are my top three:
3) Drew's Script-O-Rama: funny name, but it's efficient. The database is filled with links to movie scripts, tv scripts, and a bunch of other fun stuff (as if you don't already procrastinate enough). Watch out for the inadvertent pop-ups.
2) My second favorite is Movie-Page. There aren't a lot of bells and whistles to this site, nor is there any deep script organization, but it's straightforward and simple. AND there are no pop-ups!
1) Simply Scripts. This is a database which mainly links to other websites where the scripts are located. I love the fact that the scripts are organized into categories. There are TV scripts, Movie scripts, even Anime, radio, and non-English scripts. And then, there's the holy grail: Oscar scripts! The first one listed is the phenomenal Slumdog Millionaire. Even if you only kind-of want to be a screenwriter, do yourself a favor and read this script. "Jai Ho!"
The most attractive quality of this website is that, in most cases, you don't have to download anything. You simply click on the link to view the script. You can leave it up in your browser as a quick resource or save it as a PDF, depending on which option is available for the script you want. Either way, you've got the goods in just a few clicks.
Bonus: The current screenplay rage is centered around Toy Story 3 which is being offered up by Walt Disney Studios. This is the real reason to love awards season! Here's the link: http://www.waltdisneystudiosawards.com/toystory3/script-toystory.pdf
Bonus #2: If you're in LA, the Writer's Guild Foundation Shavelson-Webb Library houses 17,250 produced film, television, and radio scripts. It is located at 7000 W. Third St., Los Angeles, CA 90048. Phone number: 323-782-4544. It is open to WGA members AND the public.
With all that said, you have no excuse to not study scripts. So, get cracking!!!!!
Until the next scene,