What does the screenwriter in your life really want? Probably a two million dollar script sale. Not in your budget? No worries! I’ve got your back. If you’re looking for more than a Moleskin or a Starbucks gift card, mix it up by checking out these gifts for screenwriters. Covering a wide range of writerly needs, we’ll go over everything from planners, pens, and journals to the best software, subscriptions, and screenwriting books. You’re going to find the perfect present!
Disclosure: Some of the following are affiliate links. If you decide to purchase any of these awesome resources, I earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only recommend things I truly value.
This planner is heaven sent! Ready to tackle your 3-year plan in the least overwhelming way possible? The Passion Planner helps you break down the steps it takes to pursue your dreams through actionable steps. It’s a traditional calendar combined with reflective questions and mind maps. You can get a dated or undated design. If you’re getting it as a gift, throw in some clear tip highlighters, washi tape, and colorful pens to boot.
Rather than a traditional calendar planner, the Productivity Planner tracks your daily priorities. Organization is the key to combatting stress and making sure fear doesn’t render you immobile. It’s undated too, so you aren’t restricted by a calendar and the fear of not using it before the dates run out.
The 5-Minute Journal
The Five-Minute Journal is my favorite daily motivational tool. Each morning you write three things you’re grateful for and three things that would make today great if you got them done – boom, you know exactly what you have to do to make the day productive. I found that once I started using it, I was not only happier, but I got more out of my time by adding intention. Rather than a giant to-do list, three things always seem manageable to me. For instance, if I write for two hours after dinner, do my laundry, and call my great aunt Susie, it will be a good day. All in all, it really only takes 5 minutes every day.
Final Draft is still number one in terms of screenwriting software. It’s what most of the pros and writers’ rooms use. Classic and conventional. You can’t go wrong by getting it.
WriterDuet is the up-and-comer in terms of screenwriting software. It allows for two writers to simultaneously work on a script, which is great for writing partners who don’t live in the same place. The Pro version is a little more advanced. It does things like let you work offline.
Subscription to THE Tracking Board
The Tracking Board is a well of industry information. It’s useful for tracking industry news and spec sales as well as job searching.
Outlining & using index cards to plot scenes is a widely regarded process in screenwriting. For those who don’t want to actually handle a physical cork board and index cards, Scrivener is an online app to do the exact same thing. It’s very Hollywood.
Gifts for writers who “Research”
Subscription to Netflix
Stranger Things, The Crown, House of Cards… Netflix is on point. If you want to get a gift for a screenwriter, this is definitely a recommendation.
Subscription to HBO
Sure, everyone shares their parents’ HBO password with their friends, but giving the gift of an HBO subscription would be kind of amazing. No one wants to miss a new episode of Game of Thrones, Westworld, Silicon Valley, etc…
Subscription to Amazon Prime
Amazon also has their own TV shows like Man in the High Castle. Plus, Prime is generally awesome. It gives you access to a ton of shows and movies as well as free 2-day shipping.
Save the Cat
One of the best screenwriting books ever written, Save the Cat makes plotting and structure easy and accessible. It’s a great gift for a screenwriter (if they haven’t read it already).
Writing Movies for Fun and Profit
This book breaks down what it takes to be a screenwriter without holding back the punches. The authors are frank about the business in a fun and funny way. AND they are the writers behind The State, Reno 911, and Wet Hot American Summer.
Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting
Syd Field masters modern day movie structure. The Foundations of Screenwriting trends as one of the top screenwriting books of all time.
Writing Television Sitcoms
Writing Television Sitcoms goes over what it takes to be funny in television. It’s clear, well-written, and smart.
Gifts for Writers on the Job Hunt
Subscription to Entertainment Careers
The job hunt in Los Angeles can be difficult. Entertainment Careers manages to be both cheap and effective. Many of my peers and Hollywood assistants found there first gig here (no, not to be a screenwriter, but to get an entry-level position in the biz). The paid membership means that you get the postings before they go public. This makes a HUGE difference since resumes fly in the moment the posting goes live.
Kate Lupo’s Course
Trying to land a job in the biz? Kate Lupo is a career coach with a high success rate of helping her students find positions within the entertainment industry. Check her out here:
Hollywood Resumes’ resume service
Hollywood Resumes helps with everything from resumes to mock interviews. They truly know what their doing when it comes to getting you prepared to land a job.
Gifts for screenwriters in Los Angeles
Membership to the Junior Hollywood Radio and Television Society
If you or your giftee is working in the entertainment industry, JHRTS provides so many different levels of support. It’s a great organization to join for young Hollywood assistants.
Membership to Women in Film
WIF offers a community, panels, and events to bring women together in the film and television arena.
Membership to Film Independent
Film Independent is for film lovers and filmmakers. They are a non-profit organization in charge of the LA Film Festival and the Spirit Awards.
Gift Card to the ArcLight
The ArcLight is one of the nicest theaters in Los Angeles. The movie quality is amazing. You reserve your seat ahead of time. And, they have a great selection of movies including blockbusters and indies alike. It’s also just a tad more expensive, but totally worth it! PLUS they do cool panels from time to time where writers, directors, and actors sit down after the movie to talk to you.