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 Starbucks gift card (which I’m not opposed to in the least), 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. Happy present hunting!
All the Rage RIGHT NOW
Here are three hot items for screenwriters this holiday season:
It’s a classic: Moleskin notebooks. They come in multiple sizes. The pocket size is perfect for writers on the go. The large softcover notebook is a personal favorite. Rhodia is a popular alternative, and Field Notes is a hipster-preferred choice.
Any Possibility’s THE WRITE TRACK: A Screenwriter’s Goal Setting Guide from Brainstorming to Submissions. Go step by step through the process of mapping out your year, brainstorming your ideas and implementing tools to follow through on your script – including revising and networking! It’s NOT a how-to-write book. It definitely IS a workbook filled with strategies to make your goals happen, questions that will transform the way you think about your year, and tips on how to effectively use your time.
The design of the Productivity Planner uses the Pomodoro Technique, which is super popular amongst writers. Rather than a traditional calendar planner, the Productivity Planner keeps you focused on certain tasks by helping you track your time. This kind of 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. This is a huge plus for someone with a busy schedule.
This planner is heaven sent! Ready to tackle your 3-year plan in the least overwhelming way possible? Yes, it’s 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. There are two designs: dated and undated. If you get the undated design, you can fill in the dates of the months and weeks to fit your needs – perfect for a writer. If you’re getting it as a gift, throw in some clear tip highlighters, washi tape, and colorful pens.
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.
Once I started using it, it made me 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. The tool tackles mindset and motivation.
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”
Stranger Things, The Crown, Mindhunters… Netflix is on point. Someone bumming your account? Get them one of their own!
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…
Amazon Prime is 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.
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 TV 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.