Trying to figure out what to buy for that difficult, picky screenwriter in your life — even if that person is you? Fear not! Coverage Ink is here with our annual gift guide to help you look like a champ without emptying the wallet.
One key piece of advice CI has given a few thousand times over the past twenty years: card out your script. There is no better way to see your story from 20,000 feet than to lay it all out on index cards. Sure, some screenwriting software has this feature, but here’s one for iPad users that is quite interesting. It actually mimics real index cards on a corkboard. And it has other cool features too, like color-coding, the ability to add images or icons, export to Scrivener, and more. Unfortunately, it’s only for iPad (boo), but for iOS users, this one’s pretty much a no-brainer.
Okay, so we all know that ALL of us have excellent grammar and English skills. We never see any mistakes in the screenplay submissions we receive (sarcasm.) Okay, yeah, we all need help from time to time. Is it it’s or its? Farther or further? Affect or effect? Do I have to use commas? (Yes.)
This clever 18×24″ poster, printed on heavy-duty 100 lb. glossy stock, hits many of the common gaffes we see every day in screenplays (NOT “everyday.”) Posting this handy chart above one’s desk cannot help but de-stressify the writing process and improve one’s confidence and voice and give you a fighting chance against the grammar snob readers out there. Plus it’s a cool conversation piece.
3) FUNNY SCREENWRITING SHIRTS ($25-$30)
Sure, this one is pretty obvious, and there are a bunch of these out there on Etsy, eBay, etc. But this is one of those things that some people may not buy for themselves, which makes them a great (and cheap) gift. Here are three we liked. You will likely find more!
4) SCREENWRITER CAMEO ($50)
Cameo is the service where for a (usually substantial) amount of $$$, you can purchase a personalized video greeting for any occasion from a plethora of actors, athletes, and musicians, from Gloria Estefan to Thorgy Thor. The greetings are generally around 3-8 minutes, and they are admittedly cool (my sister got me John Cleese for my birthday last year — nice!)
But did you know they have a tiny handful of cool screenwriters as well? Yep, for only 50 smackeroos, you can send a one-of-a-kind, memorable experience to your screenwriter friend from the likes of Thunder Levin (writer of the Sharknado movies,) Meghan McCarthy (My Little Pony series – brony alert!) and hold onto your hats — Carl Gottlieb, writer of Jaws!
Thunder Levin: https://www.cameo.com/thunderlevin?qid=1638842791
Meghan McCarthy: https://www.cameo.com/meghanwmccarthy?nodeId=&nodeType=category
Returning to this list for the third straight year and for damn good reason. Celebrating your 1,000th rejection by the Hollywood Industrial Complex? On your 23rd draft and still getting pass/pass on the coverage? Bemoaning the success of the untalented but well-connected hacks populating so many writers’ rooms of late? My friend, you need Writer’s Tears.
Now look, we are not encouraging anyone to drown their sorrows in fine, smooth, single malt Irish whiskey, distilled entirely from pot still and malt without grain. Buuuut if you are so inclined… we feel ya.
It began as a series of prompts and exercises concocted by writer Moira E. King to help her through writer’s block. King then turned these into a charming and ingenious workbook designed to help you get to know your characters better, as well as to help the writer understand what they personally find appealing about the story and why they’re writing it. In so doing, truths, themes, and even marketing strategies may be revealed.
A simple book with potentially powerful results.
For decades, underground publisher Paladin Press put out hundreds of crazy-ass books that the establishment really doesn’t want you to read. But for screenwriters, this stuff is research gold. Want to learn the best ways to crack a safe, create a new identity, run drugs, start a smuggling empire, or build a nuclear bomb? Yeah.
Over 450 ebooks, covering everything from combat, espionage, revenge, guns, dirty tricks, breaking and entering, confidence games, explosives and demolition, forgery, self-defense, lockpicking, survival, and so much more. So often writers neglect to properly research what they’re writing about; the result is a script lacking verisimilitude. A true treasure trove of researchy goodness for the writer looking to inject some real-world detail into their crime thriller.
Click Here to Buy Paladin Press Complete Library on PDF or Thumb Drive
Lynne Truss’ beloved zero tolerance grammar book is unique in that it is used in grade schools as well as colleges. A brilliant and hilarious illustrated book that illustrates why comma use is important, and how failing to use them properly can lead to confusion — “Let’s eat, Grandma!” vs. “Let’s eat Grandma!” — or worse, for screenwriters, a “pass.” There has been this bizarre falling off the proverbial cliff in the past ten years where suddenly Americans think both turn signal and direct address comma use is optional. It is not.
Read it to your kids, then sneak it into bed and savor it yourself. You will be glad you did. And so will we!
Sure, YouTube is a great resource, with tons of free content for screenwriters. But if you want the good stuff, you’re probably going to have to pony up. Like $695 for a UCLA Continuing Ed screenwriting class. Yikes. Or you can spend 20 bucks or so and immerse in one of Udemy’s many classes on screenwriting. Generally running from 1-5 hours or more, and featuring legendary teachers like Karl Iglesias and Michael Hauge, they’re a great value. Udemy has over 200 online writing classes ranging from $20 to $99, from introductory to advanced, as well as hitting specific topics you may want to focus on, like writing killer dialogue or the hero’s journey.
And hey, a quick DuckDuckGo search shows you can easily find Udemy discount codes on sites like RetailMeNot. Win!
Finally, we can think of no better present for the writer in your life (and again, that person may be you!) than a gift certificate from Coverage Ink. For two decades, CI has been providing expert story analysis to screenwriters at all levels. CI’s coverage services will identify those areas where the script might be going off the rails and offer actionable, empowering solutions. Or schedule a 1-hour consultation with one of our team for career guidance, in-depth troubleshooting, pitch practice, and more!
The CI Gift Certificate comes as a PDF download available in any amount. We recommend printing the certificate, rolling it up and tying with a ribbon like a scroll. Makes a unique and invaluable holiday present!
Thanks for reading! CI receives NO KICKBACKS or compensation of any kind for these mentions; nor do we have any relationships with any of these companies.
Happy holidays to all from the Coverage Ink team — Since 2002, the Industry Experts.