Where to buy scripts?
October 29, 2008 12:28 AM   Subscribe

Where is the best place to buy produced screenplays? 12-point courier, 8.5x11", brass-brad screenplays. Not buy to make, but buy to read and study?

I have to purchase a bunch for a course I'm teaching, and I'm wondering if there are any reputable dealers/publishers who sell in quantity. I need to purchase 20 copies of three or four scripts (I haven't decided on exactly which titles I want to use, yet).

Unfortunately, the "shooting scripts" available at bookstores/Amazon.com (Newmarket seems to be the primary publisher) just won't cut it. The formatting is incorrect and I want my students to read the actual versions of the scripts that were read by agents, actors, producers, directors, etc.

I've done some Googlin', but all the sites I'm finding seem...well, less-than-reputable. But maybe I'm just being picky. Any experience with any of these stores?

I also know that a tremendous number of scripts are available for download (dailyscript.com, simplyscripts.com, movie-page.com), but the legality of simply printing out PDFs for my students seems iffy. Any thoughts on this?
posted by wonderyak to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I can vouch for Hollywood Book and Poster. But ordering a script from there and then photocopying it for your students would probably put you in the same theoretical hot water.

Have you flipped through the Newmarket editions? Many (if not all of them) are actually published in proper 12pt courier screenplay format.
posted by roger ackroyd at 1:06 AM on October 29, 2008

Response by poster: Ah, yes - I actually own Newmarket's versions of The Shawshank Redemption and Magnolia. The typographical formatting is good, but they are closer to shooting scripts than spec scripts, as they include a lot of camera movements and direction. Granted, those two scripts were written by the directors, so they may just be the only versions available.

But, to clarify, what I'm after are scripts that at least look like spec scripts.

Thanks for the lead on Hollywood Book and Poster! I'll check them out. Rather than order one and photocopy, since that would make me feel dirty, I would opt to simply order 20 copies from them, if they can do such a thing (and if my college's bookstore can handle ordering something without an ISBN/wholesale-retail-price-structure...still working on that end).
posted by wonderyak at 1:30 AM on October 29, 2008

Best answer: The best thing to do is get copies and email your class a PDF or print them up yourself. Nobody is going to sue you for it and there isn't a reasonable alternative for the vast majority of screenplays.

Places like Hollywood Book and Poster do not operate legally, they're selling photocopies. They're not paying the writers of those scrips a dime. Encouraging their business with bulk orders is far worse than buying one and printing them up yourself (if you must buy from them). Having your students pay $15-20 for an illegally copied script doesn't help your quest for propriety at all.

It would help if you knew specifically which scripts you were looking for. If they're well regarded "classics" then people on MeFi likely have them and can email them to you directly.
posted by paperzach at 3:36 AM on October 29, 2008

If you're bent on buying them there's also Script City, but I 2nd paperzach that a list of what you're looking for could be good.
posted by sharkfu at 4:54 AM on October 29, 2008

Have you considered asking the screenwriter for a copy you can use for class? Unlike actors and directors, screenwriters aren't that hard to track down, and many of us would be happy to offer a spec or six for you to use free of charge.
posted by headspace at 6:20 AM on October 29, 2008

I actually own a script that may be what you're looking for. It's for a movie called My Ride With Gus that never got made, but was supposed to star Ray Ramano. I found it in an Unclaimed Baggage store a couple years ago and thought it might turn out to be valuable. I don't know much about scripts, but it features courier and brass brads. If you could use it, memail me your address.
posted by shopefowler at 7:24 AM on October 29, 2008

I second sharkfu on Script City. Also, try Script Fly.
posted by luckyveronica at 12:36 PM on October 29, 2008

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