Looking For Great Screenwriting Resources? Check out John August’s Site

By Danny F. Santos (doddleNEWS)

Looking for a good resource on screenwriting? John August is a screenwriter who’s best known for working with Tim Burton on Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Frankenweenie. He was also the screenwriter for Go and directed The Nines with Ryan Reynolds. But the great thing is that he’s been blogging online for the last 10 years on screenwriting and has a pretty good following at his website, JohnAugust.com. He’s also the creator of the Writer Emergency Pack, which looks like a great resource for screenwriters and filmmakers.

Advice on screenwriting online is dime a dozen but usually it’s from screenwriters who have never sold a single screenplay so it’s great that we have writers like Mr. August to give a view from the trenches. Besides giving advice on his blog and answering readers’ questions he also runs a podcast called Scriptnotes with Craig Mazin which is about, you guessed it, screenwriting. They’ve cover quite a bit of the business of screenwriting on that show along with advice on craft.

I guess this is why the byline for his site is “a ton of useful information about screenwriting”.

Beyond Just Simple Advice

Advice for writers is great and he covers everything from formatting to surviving a director’s rewrite but he also takes it a step further and has made his screenplays available for educational purposes. It’s the age old advice of if you want to learn to write a screenplay, you need to read a lot of them.

Rounding it all up, he also owns a company called Quote-Unquote Apps which sells apps for screenwriters. One of my favorites is called Fountain which is a syntax formatting set of rules for .txt files. You basically write your screenplay in a text file and it formats the file based on rules. For example, if you start a line with INT. Fountain will automatically know that is a scene header and will format accordingly. I love writing in text files that I sync on the cloud so it’s a great little program for me.

They’ve also developed a new courier typeface called Courier Prime. The idea was to make minor changes to the font in an effort to make it as readable as possible. As they developed the font they showed the same screenplay page in Courier, Final Draft Courier and their own Courier Prime to screenwriters to get feedback in a blind study– that is, the screenwriters didn’t know which font was which.

Ultimately they went through 25 builds of the typeface to get to the font they’ve just released. It’s been released for free for both Windows and Mac and while the changes are subtle, I find it just a bit easier to read. There are many artists who go out of their way to foster the next generation of talent. But few screenwriters have gone as far as John August to really give you a sense of what they’re up against. Check out his website JohnAugust.com and his app company Quote-Unquote Apps.

About Danny Santos

Freelance writer, filmmaker, actor, musician, and visual artist. Writing online professionally for 4-plus years and has produced and performed in over a dozen films and webseries. He has also been everything from a social media consultant to managing a JUNO award winning musician.