Adam, nice list. Ex Machina is a great read, but Nightcrawler and The Artist would include a caveat for a beginning screenwriter in this regard: Format and style. Nightcrawler is terrific, but Dan Gilroy has a unique style of action writing which, although it works on the page, it differs significantly from a more ‘standard’ approach. Similarly with The Artist which has long blocks of scene description, some paragraphs stretching up to 20 or more lines. It’s interesting because it’s more reflective of screenplay style from the 20s and 30s, so in some respects the script is as historically accurate as the movie is (to silent films). But here again, the style is considerably different than current general sensibilities.

As you know, I’m not a style and format literalist, far from it. But when interfacing with beginning screenwriters, it’s probably better for them to read scripts which are more ‘in the pocket’ re style and format, then once the writer is more grounded in that regard, send them off to read scripts like Nightcrawler, The Artist, and others which stretch style norms to match their story’s needs.

Still, those are three excellent script recommendations. Thanks!

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