FAQ & Writing Resources

To search our collection, visit the LIBRARY CATALOG

Click the links that pertain to your questions:


Agents

Hollywood Creative Directory: Hollywood Representation Directory
Formerly Agents and Managers Directory (issued 3 times annually, ceased publication in 2011)

Literary Agents: The Essential Guide For Writers
Mayer, Debby. New York: Penguin, c1998.

Literary Agents: What They Do, How Do They Do It, and How To Find the Right One and Work With the Right One For You
Larsen, Michael. New York: John Wiley and Sons, c1996.

The Screenwriters Guide To Agents and Managers
Lewinski, John Scott. New York: Allworth Press, c2001.

The Script is Finished, Now What Do I Do?
The Scriptwriters’ Resource Book and Agent Guide,
3rd ed.

Callan, K. Studio City CA: Sweden Press, c2002.

Writers Guide To Hollywood Agents
Beverly Hills, CA: Fade In Books, annual edition.

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Blogs & WGA Member Sites

A broad spectrum of writer-focused advice, information, essays, workshops, consulting and coaching services, Q&As, interviews, fiction, publicity and promotion, rants, links, and wide-ranging discussion on topics from software design to egg salad recipes.

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Copyright

The library collection includes books on basic legal issues of copyright
for writers in the entertainment industry.

Between the Lines
Column article on the legalities of securing rights to literary material.
Rubenstein, Todd. Filmmaker Magazine, Spring 2002.
available online here

Clearance and Copyright: Everything the Independent Filmmaker Needs To Know, 3rd ed.
Donaldson, Michael C. Los Angeles: Silman-James Press, c2008.

Contracts for the Film and Television Industry, 2nd ed.
Litwak, Mark. Los Angeles: Silman-James Press, c1998.

Dealmaking in the Film and Television Industry
From Negotiations Through Final Contracts
, 2nd ed.

Litwak, Mark. Los Angeles: Silman-James Press, c2003.

The Public Domain: How to Find and Use Copyright-Free
Writings, Music, Art & More
, 6th ed.

Fishman, Stephen. Berkeley: Nolo Press, c2012.

The Writer Got Screwed (But Didn’t Have To):
A Guide to the Legal and Business Practices of Writing For The Entertainment Industry

Wharton, Brooke A. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, c1996.

Protecting Intellectual Property:
Promote and Protect: How to Safeguard Your Creative Work From Theft by David Walter

Registering Movie Titles:

The MPAA’s Title Registration Bureau maintains a list of already-protected titles and arbitrates titles in dispute. “In order to register titles, filmmakers must subscribe to the Bureau’s registry. There are currently almost 400 subscribers, including all of the major motion picture studios. Subscribers are bound by the Bureau’s rules, which prescribe procedures for registering titles and handling any related disputes.” — MPAA.org

The MPAA can be reached at 818.995.6600 – ask to be connected to title registration.

Additional Copyright & Intellectual Property Resources:

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Formatting

The library’s resources on formatting of film and television scripts include books, periodical articles, and websites. Script formatting rules can follow complex guidelines and conventions, but there is no single or official WGA format template. Format conventions continue to change over the years. Thus, newer reference works on format are the preferred guides and the library maintains “retired” format guides in its special collections as items of historical interest rather than current practice.

Publications:

  • The Hollywood Standard:
    The Complete And Authoritative Guide To Script Format And Style
    , 2nd ed.

    Riley, Christopher. Studio City, CA: Michael Wiese Productions, c2009.
  • Professional Writer’s Teleplay/Screenplay Format Guide, millennium ed.
    WGA East, c2000.
  • The Screenwriter’s Bible, 5th expanded and updated ed.
    Trottier, David. New York: Silman-James Press, c2010.
  • Tools of the Screenwriter Trade, rev. ed.
    Luttrell, Esther. Mt. Dora, FL: Broadcast Club of America, c2002.

Downloadable Format Guides/Samples:

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Obtaining Copies of Scripts

The library’s collection is non-circulating and not for reproduction. A script’s copyright
is typically owned by the production company or studio. Published screenplays are
available through the following companies:

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Pitching

Freelance Writing For Hollywood: How To Pitch, Write, and Sell Your Work
Essman, Scott. Studio City, CA: Michael Wiese Productions, c2000.

How To Pitch and Sell Your TV Script
Silver, David. Cincinnati, OH: Writers Digest Books, c1991.

The Perfect Pitch: How To Sell Yourself and Your Movie Idea To Hollywood
Rotcop, Ken. Studio City, CA: Michael Wiese Productions, c2001.

“Pitching In The Big Leagues”
Article – Written By Magazine, July 1998.

Ten Minutes To The Pitch
Abbott, Chris. Los Angeles: Tallfellow Press, c2005.

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Screenwriting Contests & Workshops
(some with Diversity emphasis)

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Script Libraries

None of these institutions permit loans or photocopying of their script collections.

National Directory of Script Writer Collections
The Writers Guild Foundation’s National Directory of Script Writer Collections (NDSWC) is an index of film, television, and radio writers and the repositories that hold their materials, which include archives, libraries, universities, and museums throughout the United States. The Directory is also browseable by institution.

Motion Picture Scripts: A Union List
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Margaret Herrick Library maintains an index of screenplays held in the collections of 6 libraries in the metropolitan Los Angeles area.
The database can be accessed online at scriptlist.oscars.org and is updated monthly.
The Writers Guild Foundation Library collection is included in this union list.

LOS ANGELES AREA INSTITUTIONS

Academy Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Margaret Herrick Library
333 S. La Cienega Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Academy Primary Number: 310.247.3000
Telephone Reference/General Inquiries: 310.247.3020

American Film Institute (AFI)
Louis B. Mayer Library
2021 N. Western Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027
323.856.7654

Los Angeles Public Library
Frances Howard Goldwyn Hollywood Regional Library (HRL)
1623 N. Ivar Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90028
323.856.8260

University of California, Los Angeles
Young Research Library
405 Hilgard Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(by appointment only)
310.825.7253

University of Southern California (USC)
Cinematic Arts Library (Doheny Library
University Park
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0182
213.740.3994
Research and Reference:
213.740.8906
ctvref@usc.edu

OTHER INSTITUTIONS WITH SCRIPT COLLECTIONS

Brigham Young University
L. Tom Perry Special Collections
Harold B. Lee Library
2060 HBLL
Provo, UT 84602

Indiana University
The Lilly Library
1200 E. Seventh St.
Bloomington, IN 47405-5500

New York Public Library
Billy Rose Theatre Collection
40 Lincoln Center Plaza
New York, NY 10023-7498

Syracuse University
Bleier Center for Television & Popular Culture
S.I. Newhouse School of Publication
Syracuse, NY 13244

The University of Texas at Austin
Harry Ransom Center
21st and Guadalupe Streets
Austin, Texas 78712

University of Wyoming
American Heritage Center
2111 Willett Drive
Centennial Complex
Laramie, WY 82071-3924

Wisconsin Historical Society
The Wisconsin Center For Film and Theater Research
816 State Street
Madison, WI 53706
608.264.6466

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Treatments & Show Bibles

The library does not collect treatments in the same way that it collects scripts and books.
Our resources on treatments include books on the subject, periodical articles, and a
somewhat unsystematic cumulation of advice, overviews, and actual examples
we come upon in our collections.

Books on Treatments:

  • Writing Treatments That Sell:
    How To Create and Market Your Story Ideas to the Motion Picture and TV Industry

    Atchity, Kenneth & Wong, Chi-Li. New York: Henry Holt, c2003.
  • Writing The Killer Treatment: Selling Your Story Without A Script
    Halperin, Michael. Studio City, CA: Michael Wiese Productions, c2002.

Other Treatment Resources:

  • Treatment Pack
    Freeman, David S.
    This workbook includes advice and tips on treatment writing.
    Available for purchase at The Writers Store.
  • Wordplay
    www.wordplayer.com
    This site has information about many screenwriting subjects.
    (select Archives and scroll down to Outlines and Treatments)

Screenwriter John August also provides a wealth of answers to questions about treatments.

Show Bibles:

Writer Jane Espenson discusses show bibles on her website. Her article How To Give Maris Hives, Alphabetized from April 2008 is particularly useful.

The library collection contains several show bibles which can be found in the catalog using “show bible” as a title search.

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Writer-Oriented Magazines

The library has a comprehensive periodical collection focused on screenwriting. These publications have their own websites with links to a wealth of well-organized information about writing contests, events and festivals, discussion boards, online classes, script formatting, query letters, free advice and fee-based script analysis.

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Writing Classes & Writing Groups

Screenwriting classes are available online, at colleges, universities and commercially-run
workshops. You can earn an academic degree in screenwriting through these resources or
attend a “boot-camp style” weekend workshop. The Writers Guild Foundation and Library cannot endorse, recommend, or evaluate these classes. Writer-oriented magazines are also a good
resource for classes and groups. (See FAQ: Writer Oriented Magazines.)

Degree Programs:

Certificate Programs & Online Classes:

Seminars & Other Programs:

  • Robert McKee’s Story Seminar
    www.mckeestory.com
  • John Truby’s Writers Studio
    www.truby.com
  • The Guy Hanks and Marvin Miller Writing Program
    (aka Bill Cosby Writing Program) at USC is a 15-week television workshop for “intermediate to advanced level” writers.
    www.cosbyprogram.com

Other online resources to assist you in finding everything from
writing classes to writing retreats:

The following film school guidebooks may also be helpful:

  • Film School Confidential: The Insider’s Guide to Film Schools, rev. ed.
    Kelly, Karin & Edgar, Tom. New York: Penguin/Perigee, c2007.
  • The Complete Guide to American Film Schools
    Pintoff, Ernest. New York: Penguin, c1994.

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Other Useful Resources

The Writers Guild of America West website (www.wga.org) contains a vast amount of information useful to professional and aspiring writers, students, and anyone interested in the art, craft, business, and history of film and television writing.

To find a Guild member’s agent:
From the WGAw homepage, click on If You’re An Employer, and
select Find A Writer from the drop-down menu.

Other Areas of Special Interest:

The Writers Guild of America East maintains its own website: www.wgaeast.org

The Story Analysts Guild (part of the Motion Picture Editors Guild, West Coast) is the union representing script readers:

Local #700 of IATSE
7715 Sunset Blvd. #200
Los Angeles, CA 90046
323.876.4770
www.editorsguild.com

Additionally, there is a helpful book included in our collection:

  • Reading for a Living: How to Be a Professional Story Analyst for Film and Television
    Katahn, T.L. Los Angeles: Blue Arrow Books, c1990.

Humanitas Prize:
Writers On Writing
A Collection of videos involving writers discussing a variety of topics, from the evolution of an idea and working with directors to writing a long-running series.

The UK group WriteWords website has advice and information on submitting scripts
to the BBC for consideration, and making short films:
So you’ve got a script- or at least an idea for one. What do you do next?

Radio interviews with Screen and Television Writers:
Terry Gross’ NPR radio program Fresh Air has archived dozens of interviews with writers on the show’s website. Follow the link Archived Shows, then Find a Show by Topic (enter search terms “screenwriter” or “TV writer.”)

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