One of the best things an aspiring writer can do is read. A lot. That goes for screenwriters as well: While watching movies is certainly instructive, reading the screenplay afterward helps you understand the actual mechanics of a script and how it gets adapted into a movie, which is important if you want anyone but a couple of friends who think it “has some interesting ideas” to actually read the damn thing, let alone get it made.
Earlier this month, Indiewire took it upon itself to provide amateur screenwriters with a valuable resource: A database of free, downloadable screenplays for a number of recent films, like Straight Outta Compton, Ex Machina, The End Of The Tour, Trainwreck, While We’re Young, and the upcoming Trumbo. The site promises to continue updating its database throughout awards season, so, if nothing else, you’ll be the best-informed person in your Oscars pool come February.
So don’t be a Garth Marenghi, and don’t trust those books that “guarantee” you’ll sell a million-dollar script within a month just by following this one weird trick. Download some screenplays, read them, get inspired, and get to work.