The best books for elevating your screenwriting career

Julian Friedmann Author Of Creative Strategies
By Julian Friedmann

Who am I?

Julian Friedmann is co-owner of the Blake Friedmann Literary Agency and was the publisher of ScriptWriter magazine. At the agency, he has represented both book and scriptwriters for over 40 years and also acts as Executive Producer for and with clients. Julian is a TEDx speaker and is the author of the Make Money Screenwriting series, co-author of The Insider’s Guide to Writing for Television, and editor of two volumes on Writing Long-Running Television series. He has taught at universities and film schools all over the world. He designed the MA in Television Scriptwriting at De Montfort University, and PILOTS (for developing long-running television series) for the EU MEDIA Programme. 

I wrote...

Creative Strategies

By Julian Friedmann,

Book cover of Creative Strategies

What is my book about?

The first volume in the series Make Money Screenwriting, looks at creative strategies, the creative process: how to grab your audience; the physiology and emotion of being the audience; cinema or television - what format is right for you; SVODs, the streamers, and the new world order: writing treatments and step outlines that work; bibles: how TV shows are pitched; adaptation: pros and cons and more pros; writing prose, another string, another bow.

Written by an Agent with 40 years’ experience the book is a practical guide to navigating the creative aspects of developing a professional career. The focus of the series of books is on actually making money from writing.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Writing for Television: Series, Serials and Soaps

Why did I love this book?

There are numerous books on writing for TV but Yvonne’s book is eminently practical covering the basics and also the more complex and nuanced aspects like the relationship between writers and script editors. Given the importance of the streamers writing for TV is more important than ever.

By Yvonne Grace,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Writing for Television as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A no-nonsense, direct down-the-lens look at the television industry written from the point of view of a television drama producer who's been there, done it, fought some battles and won the odd award. Written in an engaging, anecdotal tone, Writing for Television provides advice on:

Getting an agent

The type of writer television's looking for The tool kit a television writer needs The writer /script editor relationship How to structure a storyline How to write good treatments and outlines

Packed full of useful insights, links and information, the book includes interviews with successful television writers working today, pointers on how…

Book cover of The Science of Writing Characters: Using Psychology to Create Compelling Fictional Characters

Why did I love this book?

A wonderful book that looks at the psychological bases for the development of sophisticated characters in screenplays. Don’t be afraid of writing complex characters: they are more effective in engaging the audience and this book will help you achieve that.

By Kira-Anne Pelican,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Science of Writing Characters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Science of Writing Characters is a comprehensive handbook to help writers create compelling and psychologically-credible characters that come to life on the page. Drawing on the latest psychological theory and research, ranging from personality theory to evolutionary science, the book equips screenwriters and novelists with all the techniques they need to build complex, dimensional characters from the bottom up. Writers learn how to create rounded characters using the 'Big Five' dimensions of personality and then are shown how these personality traits shape action, relationships and dialogue.

Throughout The Science of Writing Characters, psychological theories and research are translated into…

Book cover of Writing & Selling Drama Screenplays

Why did I love this book?

Lucy is a screenwriter and script consultant and has created a whole eco-system around supporting writers, with frequent blogs, courses, newsletters, and consistently good advice. It is almost like having a writing partner.

By Lucy V. Hay,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Writing & Selling Drama Screenplays as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It may be drama features that win the most awards and kudos from critics, but in the current marketplace you're unlikely to sell a drama screenplay in the way you would a genre script.

Breaking down the nuts and bolts of what differentiates drama from genre, Writing and Selling Drama Screenplays will consider questions such as:

What is 'emotional truth'? What separates stereotypical and authentic characters? What are the different types of drama feature screenplay? How do we make these films, when there's 'no money'? What are the distribution opportunities for dramas?

Exploring the ways in which drama and authenticity…

Book cover of The Filmmakers' Legal Guide

Why did I love this book?

Aimed at filmmakers, this guide is also invaluable to screenwriters, who can use it as a reference book covering all the contracts that are involved in making a film or TV drama. It will certainly help writers appear more professional if they know their way around this essential area of the business.

By Tony Morris,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Filmmakers' Legal Guide as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There is an infinite number of legal matters on which producers seek advice. Nevertheless, certain questions frequently arise: is permission required to use material from a book? Does a contract have to be in writing? May classical music be used in the background of a scene? The Filmmakers' Legal Guide addresses the practical legal requirements of those making movies, documentaries, shorts, television programmes and other audio-visual content. Key issues are analysed and explained in a clear and logical manner concentrating on the practical needs of producers.

'Tony Morris’ guide is unique. It's clear, practical, and comprehensive. If only it had…

Book cover of Writing Screenplays That Sell, The Complete Guide to Turning Story Concepts into Movie and Television Deals

Why did I love this book?

No-nonsense book about what makes a good script. Writers find it particularly difficult avoiding flashbacks and voice-overs, and can’t always find ways of showing rather than telling. Michael demonstrates how to build the obstacles so your sympathetic character has increasing problems battling against the odds before they finally achieve their goal.

By Michael Hauge,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Writing Screenplays That Sell, The Complete Guide to Turning Story Concepts into Movie and Television Deals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“No one is better than Michael Hauge at finding what is most authentic in every moment of a story.” —Will Smith

“Michael Hauge is a story master, and this book is an absolute must have for anyone serious about telling great stories for the screen.” —DeVon Franklin, Vice-President of Production, Columbia Pictures

Concise, authoritative, and comprehensive, Writing Screenplays that Sell is the most complete guide available on the art, craft, and business of screenwriting for movies and television. Renowned Hollywood story consultant Michael Hauge—considered “one of the most sought after lecturers and script consultants in the U.S.” by Scriptwriter magazine—covers…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in screenwriting, television, and film?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about screenwriting, television, and film.

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Writing the TV Drama Series, Screenwriting 101, and My Story Can Beat Up Your Story if you like this list.