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Required Software

All SCRP 270, 275 and 380/381 students are required to buy and become proficient on Movie Magic Screenwriter 2000 screenwriting software (the software formerly known as ScriptThing). This program normally sells for around $300, but Drexel students can buy it in the campus bookstore for $100 per copy.

(If you want to contact Screenplay Systems directly, you can do so at http://www.screenplay.com)

After buying Movie Magic Screenwriter 2000, you should make some modifications to the program settings to make it a little better suited to the kind of work you'll be doing in class. You should also validate your software over the Internet; if you don't do this, you'll have to insert the CD-ROM every time you want to use the program.


Electronic Mail

All Screenwriting & Playriting students need valid email accounts. With very few exceptions, all email will be sent to your Drexel account; it is your responsibility to check that address frequently or set it up to forward mail to an address you do check frequently. Long-term email forwarding is available for your userid and your official email address. To request long-term forwarding, send email to accounts@drexel.edu or call 215-895-2698.


Freshman FAQ

Q: How many people are in the screenwriting program? Is it likely that we'll have most of the same classes together?

A: Last time I counted, there were around 60 students in the program-- the number is always in flux. You'll have occasional classes together with upperclassmen, but you'll get to know your Freshman cohorts pretty well-- you'll all be in the same section of Drexel Experience (taught by me), probably in the same English 101 class. The Playwriting class you'll take first term will be mostly SCRP majors, as will the Screenwriting class you'll take in Sophomore year.

Q: What will our classes be like?

A: Wow. Total range. Many will be really fascinating and relevant. But even the ones that seem to have nothing to do with what you want to learn are important: as a writer, you'll always need to be soaking up expertise in weird fields. Doing well in, say, Physics, is great prep for that. You're welcome to come to campus and sit in on any of my classes this summer. 

Q: Can I sit in on a class?

You betcha. Contact me for details. Give me advance notice and I'll find a student to take you out to dinner before class.

Q: Is there any type of co-op that is associated with the BBC? Or are there any international co-ops for screenwriting majors that I should be aware of?

A: If you want a job at the BBC, we'll try to help you look for one. As far as international coops go, we don't have pre-existing slots; the idea is that we give you the training to search for a job and then you do it yourself, with occasional help from us re tactics, contacts, etc.

Q: What types of extracurricular clubs/organizations might I find appealing as a screenwriting/playwriting major?

A: First of all, honestly, acting is great prep for being a dramatic writer. If you acted in high school, you should try to get on stage here.

Other stuff: there are a few student organizations you should look into. Take a look at Mad Drama, Dragon Stage, Screen, etc.

Q: Do you really believe that acting is important for a screenwriter?

A: Yes. The more you know about every craft that goes into making movies/TV/theatre/etc., the better prepared you are as a writer. It's no coincidence that, among others, Shakespeare was an actor. But, beyond that, there's the question of self-confidence and nerve. As a writer, you'd think that you'd just have to sit in your garret writing by the light of a single candle, then mail it off and just wait for the checks to arrive. In real life, you have to go into a room and pitch. For that, the more confident you are, the better. And, in my experience, there's nothing that builds confidence more than going in front of a large theater filled with strangers and doing something complicated in such a way as to get applause. So, if you can act, you should act. If not, you'd better make sure that the reason you're noticing isn't shyness-- shyness is not a how biz survival trait.

Q: Will I learn how to direct? I love to write but I feel like that is something I definitely want to do, too.

A: Absolutely. There is a required class on directing for the stage, and you'll be able to take FMVD 202, Directing for the Screen.

Q: Any recommended summer reads/watches?

A: Want to read the best books I know about show business and screenwriting? Read "Adventures in the Screen Trade" and "Which Lie Did I Tell?," both by William Goldman. Want to find out what kind of people you'll be associating with? Read "What Makes Sammy Run," which, after almost 70 years, is still the best novel about Hollywood.

See a lot of movies, all different genres, and keep asking yourself-- why is the story unfolding this way? Why are they telling us this about this character? What's the point being made in every minute of screen time? What's the emotional takeaway from every scene?"

Do that and two things will happen--

  1. You'll begin the process of turning yourself into a screenwriter
  2. You'll lose the ability to enjoy movies.

Q: What computers and writing software do we need for the course?

A: You may not want to tell your folks this, but you don't need anything more than what I use most of the time, which is a Acer Aspire Netbook that fits into the pocket of my cargo pants. If I'm doing a lot of writing, I use an external mouse and keyboard and sometimes hook it up to a larger screen. But this $300 machine does everything I need it to do. This may not be the answer you want to hear, but I make it a point never to lie to my students unless telling the truth will cost me money.

As for software, about the only thing you'll need will be Movie Magic Screenwriter 2000, for which we have a deal with the manufacturer to make it available to students for $100, about $50 less than it costs in the campus bookstore and around $150 less than it costs retail. You won't actually need it for screenplays until the top of Sophomore year, but it can make playwriting easier. If you want to get it now, let me know.

Q: How difficult would it be for me to also major in film?

A: Pretty darn easy. There's already a huge overlap in classes. I think you can declare a double major at the start of Sophomore Year, but you can call your Academic Advisor, Erica Waldorf at 215-895-2396 to find out the details.

Q: I missed the deadline for the Pennoni Honors College application but still want to apply. Can I still apply later as a student at Drexel? If so, do I need to wait for sophomore year?

A: You don't have to wait that long-- you can apply at the end of fall term. So, really work hard to do well from the start, and you can be in Pennoni in time for your second freshman term.



Links

Here are some links you may find useful and interesting, grouped into the following categories:

Institutions

Reference

News

Writers & Filmmakers

  • Writer Wrench: "# 1 Troubleshooting Toolbox for Screenwriters"
  • Go Into the Story: "Written by Scott Myers, a screenwriter himself, who also teaches at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and UCLA Extension, this website is a wonderful compendium of information. Not only does Mr. Myers scour the internet to cull information about what's happening in the business of screenwriting, he writes daily segments to highlight different aspects of the craft."
  • Life on the Bubble: This website focuses on the spec market in Hollywood."
  • Creative Screenwriting Magazine: "Inspiration / Information / Instruction"
  • Movie Bytes: "The newsletter for screenwriters"
  • James Stevens-Arce's Links for Writers: This one is so huge and extensive that it deserves a category of its own. Here's what you'll find: Agents | Articles | Beware | Contests | Contracts | Copyright | Dictionaries, English | Dictionaries, Spanish | Encyclopedias | Entertainment Law | History | Internet Hoaxes, Urban Legends and Computer Viruses | Journalist Groups | Maps | Markets, Online [Genre] | Markets, Online [Literary] | Markets, Listings | Markets, Print | Music | Names | Newsletters, Online (Free) | On Writing - Basics | On Writing - Manuscript Preparation | On Writing - Intermediate | On Writing - Advanced | Playwriting | Query Letters | Quotations | Science Fiction and Fantasy Databases | Screenplays Online | Screenwriting | Search Engines | Software | Space | Spam | Terminologies | TV Writing | Writers' Home Pages | Writers' Online Forums | Writers' Organizations | Writing Workshops
  • Done Deal: "Your daily Internet news resource for screenplay, pitch, treatment, and books sales in the film industry, in addition to interviews, software & book reviews, advice, agency & production company listings, contests, news, and more. "
  • ScriptShark.com: "Your connection to Hollywood agents, managers, studio and development executives currently searching for new talent and material."
  • Wordplayer: Extremely interesting site operated by screenwriters and Terry Rossio & Ted Allen
  • DV Video.com: site dedicated to making and reviewing DV videos.

Screenplays

  • ScriptShadow: "The site specializes in reviewing hot scripts in the Hollywood marketplace. That's right, he reviews actual scripts before they are turned into movies."
  • Drew's Script-o-Rama: Source for hundreds of TV and film scripts and transcripts
  • Script Dude: More film scripts, in Adobe Acrobat format, plus lots of software to buy or demo.
  • Not to mention the Drexel Screenwriting & Playwriting Program's own on-line script collection.
  • Script Dude: More film scripts, in Adobe Acrobat format, plus lots of software to buy or demo.

Leads for Co-Ops & Internships

  • Misc. companies looking for interns & assistants
  • The Philadelphia Film Office Hotline -- jobs in the Philly area
  • Marvel Comics: Student Tom Brennan had a very successful internship here in 2004. Contact Mr. Aubrey Sitterson, asitterson@marvel.com. You might also want to contact Tom himself for pointers.
  • Academy of Television Arts and Sciences: 30 paid eight-week internships every summer for college students.
  • Bender Helper Impact Public Relations firm with offices in Los Angeles and New York
  • Glenn Rigberg of Rigberg Entertainment Group, specializing in personal management of actors, writers and directors
  • Cari-Esta Albert: Independent producer
  • Mark Sternberg: Independent producer
  • EntertainmentCareers.net: This site was found by John Reha, who used it to get leads to several plum co-op jobs. He writes, "A free or pay site that allows you to search hundreds of up-to-date listings from the entertainment world, mostly in LA and NY, but some elsewhere. Separate sections for internships/entry-level jobs and actual paying jobs in the industry."
  • Dramatists Play Service: Licenses plays for theatrical productions around the world. Probably excellent for anybody interested in the theater.
  • Bondesen-Graup: "Bondesen-Graup is a management production company that specializes in young, cutting-edge writers and directors. We are known for representing writers and directors interesting in working within the studio system, doing bigger budget Hollywood fare."

Competitions & Companies Looking for Scripts

      Warning: in show business, it's very hard to tell what's for real and what's a scam. There is a huge industry dedicated to preying on the hopes of would-be writers. We have no reason to believe that any of these links aren't on the up-and-up, but you should still use your best judgment when dealing with them.

  • Big Break! International Screenwriting Contest: "Big Break! is an annual, global screenwriting competition designed to support emerging creative talent. Big Break! rewards screenwriters with prize money and exposure to the entertainment industry, through meetings with industry professionals, studio executives and agents. Winning screenplays have been optioned and produced, finalists have garnered attention from recognizable production entities and literary agents."
  • The Great American Film Project: "The Great American Film Project Film Festival and Short-Screenplay Contest has been created as an additional outlet for student filmmakers and writers to showcase their work, and for them to have an opportunity to win some serious cash!"
  • P.A.C.3 Organization Announces its First Annual Screenplay Competition: Winner gets produced
  • American Gem Short Screenplay Competition: Top 25 short scripts will be read by FOX. Winning Short Screenplay Produced! Guaranteed representation for the winner.
  • The Dead Zone: "If you are willing to write a full Dead Zone script, and you let us know that it is done and ready to be seen, I will arrange for it be read by a legitimate literary agent in Los Angeles."
  • TriggerStreet Screenplay Forum: "The TriggerStreet Screenplay Forum offers a unique opportunity to Screenwriters, regardless of your experience, expertise or location. Not only can you upload your work and have it reviewed by your peers-- but here's a once in a lifetime chance to become part of a global community devoted to screenwriting..."
  • Michael Kanin Playwriting Awards Program: Run by the Kennedy Center. "The distinguished playwright and screenwriter Michael Kanin (1910-1993) arranged for a remarkable series of awards to be given to student writers whose plays are produced as part of the festival. The purpose of the program is to encourage college students to write for the stage by providing the opportunity for them to engage in the complete playwriting process."
  • Prism Generation Next: Group that encourages scripts dealing with substance abuse
  • Moviebytes.com: Comprehensive listing of screenwriting contests
  • The Writers Room of Bucks County Screenwriting Competitions $1,000 top prize, open to PA, NJ and DE residents.
  • Phobos Entertainment: "seeking science fiction and horror screenplays to be developed into TV & movie production and video game properties."
  • Scriptapalooza.com: $10,000 first prize, top 13 entrants are read by Scriptapalooza participants, including agents and production companies.

Misc.

Also in Screenwriting & Playwriting

Westphal in L.A.

CREATIVE WORK