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2018 Holiday Gift Guide for the Screenwriter in Your Life

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We are in the height of the holiday season, and whatever that means for you (staying in the city of angels to have some quiet work time? Traveling to the Midwest to answer a hundred awkward questions about what exactly you do? Going on a fabulous tropical vacation?), you may want to give your non-industry family and friends a little heads up regarding the types of things that would aid you in your writing journey. Or, perhaps you have a screenwriting friend or honey you’d love to pamper? Look no further! I’ve curated a list of fun gifts at a variety of price points. We have:

Stocking Stuffers ($5-$20):

Seasons of Scriptnotes – remember when I shared a list of podcasts that are fantastic resources for new writers? Scriptnotes is definitely at the top of that list, with almost 400 episodes from writers John August and Craig Mazin – plus, tons of fantastic guests! If your writer friend is new to the podcast, or would like to revisit some of the great past episodes, they are now selling 50-episode seasons for $5, or 300 episodes for $17. Endless learning!

Perhaps you could get them some nice writing supplies (hey, I find these fun!)–

Coffee shop gift cards –  Odds are, the writer in your life spends a significant amount of time at local coffee shops, whether that’s the environment in which they prefer to write, they’re attending production meetings, or they’ve asked someone to coffee in order to get career advice. Find out where they love to hang out and get them a gift card they could use for either work or pleasure!

Joshua Tree Guidebook – Everyone in Los Angeles knows how valuable it is to get out of the city once in a while, and this fantastic guidebook shares everything you need to know to experience the enchanting natural beauty of Joshua Tree National Park!

Some book inspiration, like –

  • Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott
  • Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King

Writer Emergency Pack – these fun, illustrated idea cards from screenwriter John August (Big Fish, etc) are perfect when you’re feeling stuck and need to rejuvenate your story or your writing.

Substantial gift ($20-$50):

Screenwriting Software – hopefully your writer friend already has screenwriting software, but perhaps they’d like the latest and greatest. I would recommend Highland 2 or Final Draft 11.

AMC A-list – Every writer needs to stay up to date on the latest TV shows and movies, and AMC’s new subscription service (at $19.95/month for minimum of 3 months) is a great way to see a bunch of films in the theatre!

Super comfy pjs. Because what writer hasn’t spent an entire day writing in jammies?

Above and beyond ($50 or more):

MasterClass – There are some FANTASTIC classes available from industry leaders on MasterClass. I would especially recommend Shonda Rhimes’ for TV Writing, Ron Howard’s for Writing/Director, and Helen Mirren’s if you want to learn more about acting. You can gift a single class (with lifetime access) for $90, or a year of unlimited classes for $180.

Membership to The Hatchery Press – The Hatchery Press is a co-working space in Los Angeles that provides quiet spaces to write, free tea, coffee, and printing, writing classes & events, and more! Membership can range anywhere from a day pass for $35, to a year of full time commitment for $245/month. And they insist that you get a free trial day to come check it out before you commit to a membership! I am not a member, but I’ve heard great things about this place as an alternative to renting your own office space.

Meal subscription service – Let’s be honest, when you’re in the writing flow, it can be difficult to remember basic self-care like eating. So, why not gift the writer in your life a meal subscription service? Services like Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, and Sun Basket have really become popular in the last few years – they ship the ingredients and instructions for several meals in the exact quantities that you need. All they need to do is follow the instructions – it takes planning and shopping out of the equation, and will fuel your writer to meet that next deadline.

And the gift of all gifts (if you happen to have money to burn and want to spend it on your writer friend):

A weekend away so they can have a mini writer’s retreat. Every writer I know would love to be able to spend a weekend writing at a resort out of town. And although I have yet to experience this, here are a few of the places I have been eyeing for future writing –

  • 29 Palms Inn North of Joshua Tree National Park. With a mix of cute adobe bungalows and wood frame cabins, these look like a writer’s retreat waiting to happen! Add their pool, organic garden, hammocks…hm, I better book my trip!
  • Air BnB this awesome Treehaus Chalet on Big Bear Lake. How cool does this hillside cabin look?! Gorgeous panoramic mountain views, a fireplace, a bench – it all looks very idyllic. And if you’ve never used air bnb before, here is a link for $40 off your first trip!
  • The Ojai Valley Inn & Spa – this one is definitely on the pricier side, but it got on my radar when writers Sarah Fain and Liz Craft shared it numerous times on their podcast Happier in Hollywood! It looks gorgeous, and I can just imagine splitting my time between writing and going to the spa.

There you have it! No need to fret about what to get the writer in your life – these gifts will help them feel supported and dare I say pampered in their artistic journey. Who wouldn’t love that?

Have another gift idea for the writer in your life? Tweet me!

Sarah J Eagen

About Sarah J Eagen

A TV actor and writer, Sarah is currently a semifinalist for the prestigious Humanitas NEW VOICES program. She was recently staffed on the sci fi audio drama The Veil from Voxx Studios. Sarah co-wrote/produced/acted in the short Soledad, which screened on the Disney lot at the end of 2018. She was a top 10 finalist for the Stage 32 TV Writing Contest in 2019, a finalist for the NYTVF Script Comp in 2018, and the Women in Film/Blacklist Episodic lab in the fall of 2017. Sarah recently appeared on an episode of The Big Bang Theory, TV's longest-running multi-cam comedy, which was a dream come true because she double majored in Neuroscience and Theatre. She also played the helpful paralegal Carol in CBS's action comedy Rush Hour, and had the pleasure of sharing the screen with funny lady Kristen Schaal in the feature film Austin Found.