[Editor’s Note: I’m busy as hell, so no time for reflecting on the past year and the new year. I will get to it shortly. In the meantime, here is a question I meant to answer some weeks ago.]
This question from Hong Kong:
Could you point me to a good online screenwriters course for absolute beginners.
I appreciate your help.
AFI has a free introduction for beginners seminar online here. Other resources you will want to consult include the following:
First are the many sites that have downloadable screenplays, including the script gallery at screentalk.biz. I like this one because all the scripts are PDF files and, therefore, in there original format. You should read scripts voraciously.
Second, there are the wonderful columns at Wordplayer, the website run by A-list writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio. You should read all of them. In fact, the entire site is terrific.
Third, the WGA west website has a number of great resources for writers, including columns on craft.
Fourth, there are a number of websites that explain traditional three-act screenplay structure. The substantial caveat on these is that every writer develops his or her own ideas about structure – so do not take any one set of ideas as gospel. In fact, some of them will just send you in the wrong direction. One example of a site that explains structure is Screenplay Mastery. I am not endorsing this site in particular; you should look at a number of sites to see different points of view.
I hope this gets you started. Good luck….