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The best gifts for screenwriters

By BBC Maestro

Film and TV
Last updated: 26 April 2023

Are you looking for something special for the screenwriter in your life? Whether they’re already working as a screenwriter, are interested in screenwriting as a career, or simply like writing in their spare time, you’re in the right place.

In our gift guide, we’ve picked out a selection of thoughtful, useful and unique gifts for screenwriters that will help them to hone their craft.

11 gift ideas for screenwriters

Whether you want to give them the gift of inspiration, or just a little peace and quiet, there's something on this list for every screenwriter. Take a look.

 A pocket-sized notebook

Inspiration can strike anywhere, so a writer needs to be ready to jot down any ideas that come to them when they’re out and about. Sure, they could make notes on their phone, but sometimes the best way to overcome writer’s block is to ditch the distractions, leave the phone at home, and get out for a walk.

As Jed Mercurio, writer of hit TV show Line of Duty, explains in his BBC Maestro course, Writing Drama For Television:

“Inspiration doesn’t fall into your lap as a fully formed idea for a brilliant TV series. You have to go out and find it. Get a notebook, write down the things that interest you. Look for characters, events, and stories. Watch TV, read books, follow the news, listen to friends’ anecdotes, people watch.”

So, a pocket notebook could be just the thing the screenwriter in your life needs to get their creative juices flowing and find inspiring stories to tell on screen.

people in a cinema

An unlimited cinema pass

If someone wants to work in the movie industry, it’s imperative that they love films. It can be easy to stick to watching your favourite film genre, but as a screenwriter, there’s a wealth of knowledge and inspiration to be found from branching out into other types of films.

An unlimited cinema pass or vouchers for their local independent cinema will allow them to see as many films as they like, from big action blockbusters to arthouse films.

You could even challenge them to see a film from a different genre every week, or to close their eyes and pick a film at random from the programme. You never know what might end up inspiring them!

Screenwriting books

Who better to learn from than the masters of their craft? Books about writing make the perfect gift for an aspiring screenwriter who wants to soak up as much knowledge as they can.

Award-winning director Edgar Wright recommends some of his favourite film books in his BBC Maestro course, Filmmaking:

“Books like Syd Field’s Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting and Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat! are incredibly helpful resources that can guide you through learning the building blocks of structure and pacing, even though they won’t teach you the actual art of writing.”

A person pours coffee into a mug

A good coffee mug

Writers spend a lot of time at their desk and, inevitably, there are a lot of late nights when working on scripts. A coffee mug, then, is a must-have for any screenwriter. You could even get their favourite movie quote printed on it, for added inspiration whenever they take a sip.

Screenwriting software

If you want to help make the writing process easier, screenwriting software could be a good gift option.

Scripts need to be written and formatted in a specific way for TV and film. Software takes care of the formatting, so all the writer needs to do is work on is crafting compelling scenes by working on the dialogue, developing characters, and ensuring the scenes are the right length.



There are lots of film streaming services out there, but there’s still a place for DVDs. Not necessarily as a way of watching films, but because of a hidden resource – director’s commentaries. Edgar Wright says:

“Director’s commentaries on DVDs aren’t appreciated in the way they should be. Some commentaries are practically small seminars on filmmaking that can be incredibly valuable to listen to.”

Why not put together a package of DVDs you think they’ll love, with fantastic commentaries included? Just make sure they have a DVD player first!

Noise-cancelling headphones

When a writer is in the zone, they want to avoid distraction at all costs. A good pair of noise-cancelling headphones will be a much-appreciated gift to help them remain focused.

A keyboard

If you’re looking for a practical gift, you can’t go wrong with a keyboard. After all, screenwriters spend most of their time typing, so it makes sense that they use a comfortable, ergonomic keyboard.

If they’re a fan of writing in coffee shops or other communal spaces, go for a wireless keyboard. They’re lightweight and portable, meaning they can take it out along with their laptop or tablet and set up their writing station anywhere.

Magazine subscription

A subscription to a screenwriting or film publication will help the writer in your life to keep up to date with everything going on in their industry.

Magazines can be an endless source of inspiration and when you get an ongoing subscription, it’s a gift that keeps on giving. It’s something they’ll look forward to receiving in the post every month.

An open window

Writer’s retreat

Sometimes, writers need the time and headspace to write – and nothing else. A writer’s retreat is the ultimate luxury for those seeking an escape from everyday life where they can focus on their writing.

Whether it’s for a weekend or a week-long escape, retreats allow writers to get in the zone and simply work. It’s a great gift if they’re approaching a deadline and need time to focus or if they’re experiencing writer’s block and would benefit from being in a different setting.

Organised retreats often host seminars and workshops where writers can learn from peers and experts in the field, helping them to work through obstacles or find new perspectives. They’ll come back from the retreat feeling refreshed, inspired, and brimming with new ideas.

Screenwriting courses

Give the gift of knowledge with a course on screenwriting or filmmaking. Whether you choose an in-person course or an online course, they can be invaluable sources of knowledge on all aspects of the craft.

The benefit of an online course is that they can take it at their own pace, fitting it in around their other commitments – and they also have access to the course for life, so they can keep coming back to it again and again.

For TV writers, Jed Mercurio’s BBC Maestro course is an excellent choice. It’ll tell them everything they need to know about writing great TV, from ideas to final script to getting it made.

If they’re more interested in films than TV, Edgar Wright’s Filmmaking course is perfect for them. They’ll learn about everything from storyboarding and scriptwriting to fundraising and pitching their film idea.

Whichever of these gifts you choose, we’re sure they’re going to love it. Whether it’s something practical, like a notebook or a screenwriting course, or something more whimsical; if it helps them to develop their craft and deepen their love of film, it’s a winning choice.