My friend Nima recently pointed out that most of the stuff our company makes is free.
That’s probably not a great business model, but it’s always been our culture. We only charge for those things that have significant ongoing costs — like upkeep and hosting — or a per-unit cost to produce.
If you’re a writer, here are the things we offer at absolutely no cost. As in free.
This blog has been running since 2003. Nearly all of its 1,500 posts are screenwriting advice. The Explore tab on the right is a good way to get started looking through the archives. For example, you might start with the 129 articles on formatting.
Craig Mazin and I have been recording this weekly screenwriting podcast for over ten years. It’s always been free, with no ads whatsoever. The most recent 20 episodes are available in every podcast player. Back episodes are available to Scriptnotes Premium members, or can be purchased in 50-episode “seasons.”
Chris Csont edits this weekly newsletter, which serves as a good companion to Scriptnotes. Every Friday, it has links to things about writing, centering on a given theme. It’s a Substack, but completely free.
For years, I’ve written all my scripts and novels in this terrific app our company makes. It’s a free download on the Mac App Store. The Standard edition is fully functional, with no time limits. Students can receive the enhanced Pro edition through our student license program.
English-language screenplays are written in Courier, but not all Couriers are alike. Many are too thin, and the italics are ugly. So we commissioned a new typeface called Courier Prime. It’s Courier, but better. Since it’s free and open licensed, you can use it through Google Fonts and similar services.
Reading a screenplay on an iPhone is a pain in the ass — unless you use Weekend Read. It melts down screenplay PDFs so they format properly on smaller screens. Weekend Read also has an extensive library of older scripts, including many award nominees. It’s free on the App Store.
The Library has most of the scripts I’ve written, and hosts a few other writers’ work as well. For several projects, I’ve included treatments, pitches, outlines and additional material.
While johnaugust.com offers detailed articles on various topics, screenwriting.io answers really basic questions about film and TV writing. If you’re Googling, “how many acts does a TV show have?” we want to give you the answer with no cruft or bullshit.
We gathered the 100 most frequently searched-for entries on screenwriting.io in this handy 85-page PDF.
I recorded this seven-episode podcast series about the pitch, sale, writing and production of my first Arlo Finch book. If you’ve ever thought about writing a book, you’ll want to check it out. Free wherever you listen to podcasts.
The Paid Stuff
Given all the free stuff we put out, how does our company make money? We sell things.
Highland 2 Standard Edition is free, but most users choose to upgrade to Pro for its added features: revision mode, priority email support, extra templates, custom themes, and watermark-free PDFs. It’s an in-app purchase, $39 USD.1
Bronson is the app I needed when watermarking scripts for a Broadway reading. Now it’s become the default watermarking app in Hollywood. It’s $20 on the Mac App Store.
We used to print and ship our own t-shirts, but we now sell them through Cotton Bureau. We put out a new Scriptnotes shirt every year. It’s definitely not a profit center, but it’s fun seeing merch out in the wild.
Users can unlock their expanded library for $10 USD.
The Scriptnotes podcast runs out of a separate LLC from our software business. Premium subscriptions pay for the salaries of our producer, editor and transcriptionist, along with hosting and management fees. Craig and I don’t make a cent off it.
- Prices may change. Also note that Apple sets international pricing, so some apps cost a little more or a little less in some countries. ↩