Judith Downie
Humanities Librarian
CSUSM Library
KEL 3424

Back to Film Resources Index

Screenwriting is different from writing a novel and there are differences if you are writing an adaptation of a fiction or non-fiction work or doing original work for the screen. Here are some tips on finding a variety of resources.

Internet Sources



To find additional materials, you can look through these catalogs:

  • CSUSM Library Catalog is what you can find in the Kellogg Library

  • Circuit is the joint catalog for CSUSM, SDSU, UCSD, and USD with delivery in 1-3 days for CSUSM users.

  • Melvyl searches the entire University of California catalog system and delivers in 5-10 days through Interlibrary Loan for CSUSM.

  • WorldCat searches a 'universe' of library catalogs and delivers in 5-10 days through Interlibrary Loan for CSUSM.

Useful Subject Terms
Can't think of terms to accurately describe your topic?  Library catalogs use specific subject headings to group related books together. 'Film' and 'review' are such large topics and can be defined in multiple ways, so you will want to think of ways to narrow it down, by title, director, genre, etc. Ask a librarian to help, or here are some examples to consider:


The Research Databases at CSUSM will offer both articles on adaptation in general and specific titles. When looking for articles on screenwriting, keep in mind that the text may refer to screenwriting or screenwriters. Some databases do not offer full text of the articles. Use the Check SFX for Availability button to check our other resources for full text.

Academic Search Premier
Covers a wide array of subjects with full text for nearly 1,850 scholarly journals, including more than 1,250 peer-reviewed titles.

Communication & Mass Media Complete
Provides abstracts and full text for more than 200 communication journals.

Includes abstracts of articles from critical literary and language journals. This is primarily concerned with the original work of literature, but you will find plenty of articles on adaptations here.


Internet Sources
These may not be as scholarly as published journal reviews, so be aware of the credentials of the reviewer. Keep in mind when searching the internet that not all material will be scholarly and other search terms will be 'cinema' or 'film' rather than 'movie'.

Internet Movie Script Database
Claims to be the largest collection of scripts available on the web for free reading or download.

Motion Picture and Video Industries (Occupational Handbook)
Offers information on the roles in the industry and educational requirements for screenwriters.

Screenwriters' Guild of America
The organization for US screenwriters, this site has both members-only and visitor access.

Writers Guild of America, West
Directed to not only movie, but television and other media. The site offers some legal forms to be used as contracts and a means to register your work. The WGA, East offers more material.

The Secret to Your Scripts Success
While you wade through a lot of commercial "buy this book" graphics, there are some helpful articles and information.

Simply Scripts
How-to information, copyright discussions, a message board and free scripts for download.