One of the best ways to learn about screenwriting is to read produced screenplays. A little bit of Google research can certainly turn up several screenplays in various formats (some less helpful than others). Admittedly, finding a pirated copy of a screenplay online doesn't make me feel that great, either, even if I'm just searching for it for my own educational purposes. This time of year, however, the Interwebs deliver a pleasant surprise for aspiring screenwriters everywhere: award-hopeful screenplays for your consideration (and available for legal downloading).
Obviously, we are very early in the awards season (it's only Halloween, for Pete's sake! And yes, I just invoked the name of Pete in 2012), so the official screenplay offerings have only just begun. As we move closer to the bigger awards, more studios will post screenplays online. When they do, we'll be sure to post an update with a more complete list of downloadable screenplays. Here's what is available so far:
- The Lorax, screenplay by Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio, based on the book by Dr. Seuss
- Moonrise Kingdom, written by Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola
- ParaNorman, written by Chris Butler
- Snow White and the Huntsman, screenplay by Evan Daugherty and John Lee Hancock and Hossein Amini, story by Evan Daugherty, inspired by the Brothers Grimm's "Little Snow White"
- Ted, screenplay by Seth MacFarlane and Alec Sulkin & Wellesley Wild, story by Seth MacFarlane
- This is 40, written by Judd Apatow
Don't wait to download these PDFs. You never know when studios will decide to take them offline. For instance, the screenplay for Les Misérables was apparently posted online very briefly then removed by Universal Pictures (probably because the film hasn't been released, and yet, the script for This is 40 is available online from Universal Pictures - go figure).
Also, in case you don't already know the difference between '&' and the word 'and' in writing credits, '&' denotes a writing team while the word 'and' identifies writers that worked separately on a screenplay.
Most of the screenplays that studios post online for awards consideration are cleaned up versions of the final shooting script, but this isn't always the case. The screenplay posted for Snow White and the Huntsman is the 2nd Blue Revision shooting script dated November 22, 2011, with all of the scene numbers, omitted scene slug lines, and letter pages intact.
Finally, please use these screenplays for your personal educational purposes only. That is, unless you are a member of the Writers Guild or another organization that gives out writing awards. In that case, feel free to ignore these screenplays entirely.
How do you use produced screenplays to improve your writing? Do you prefer to read a screenplay before watching a movie or do you go back to the script after a screening to see how the page translated to the film? Let us know in the Comments.
[via Go Into the Story]