Where Can You Get Free Unproduced Short Movie Scripts?

In the process of learning to produce, many filmmakers find themselves unable to start the pre-production process because they don’t have a solid script. If a producer is not a writer, the step of finding the perfect script to shoot for his or her movie can be challenging because he or she is not sure where to look for a script or a screenwriter to get the job done.

The number one place I send my producing and directing students for short screenplays is a website called I have successfully found scripts here for myself, and there are a high number of short movie scripts to peruse, so you are bound to find one you like eventually and you can finally get moving on pre-production.

I selected a script from to use in my directing course to teach students how to do a director’s breakdown. I read about 30 scripts and then I contacted the writer of the script I liked the best and asked him if I could use his script and he said yes. It really is that easy (but don’t forget to read the end of this article because there should be some sort of contract confirming that you have permission to make the script into a movie).

I have also seen genre contests on and that is helpful if you are looking for a specific genre to produce.

You’ll have to dig through dozens of scripts and read all of them to find one that is suitable to your aesthetic and interest, but it’s worth it to take the time to do this. In fact, just the act of reading screenplays makes you more adept at identifying a great screenplay when you have found one in the piles of mediocre ones.

So you know is a great choice, but here are some other options…

Other Sites (Like Forums and Lesser-Known Screenplay Websites)

I frequently switch between having an IMDB pro account and then going back to a regular account. In the past when I’ve had an IMDB-Pro account, I used to hang out in the forum section on and would find the conversations where other industry people would hang out, including screenwriters.

These days, the IMDb forum is closed, but there are still many forums out there related to movies filmmakers and screenwriting that may help you in your quest for the perfect script.

One option is to do a search on LinkedIn for screenwriting or screenwriters, like the one I have done (see the link below).

Join these screenwriter groups and see if writers are talking about their latest script. Read projects by the members in the group and if you like their writing, connect with them. Even if the project he or she has posted isn’t right for you, if you like the writer’s style or genre you can ask them to write a short or if they have any shorts in their repertoire or portfolio.

You can also do a Google search for movie forums or screenwriting forums or screenwriter forums, and then post that you are looking for scripts to produce.

You can also look at smaller screenplay websites besides  I did a quick search for “short film scripts and found 4 additional sites that could be the answer to your script woes.

If you find a script you like, be sure it has NOT already been produced. That is why it is important to contact the writer and to option/purchase the script (see below).

And of course, I then started thinking about the genres I am interested in and how that can help in a search for the perfect screenplay. Using my own interests, I did a search for “funny short film scripts” and found several more sites with long lists of potential projects for me to produce and direct.

Very frequently, the writers on these websites are also just getting started, so they’ll be thrilled to have their screenplay produced by you and you’ll be able to get an awesome screenplay to produce for a nominal cost. In addition to this, you are helping the screenwriter out by bringing their writing to life on the screen.


While you can easily find freelance screenwriters in the methods I mentioned above, you can also find them on sites that are meant to help people hire freelancers of all different types.

Sites such as connect freelancers with employers. I know these sites are not limited to the film industry but there are many freelancers that are screenwriters and other film industry professionals. I personally am on as a video editor because I can do it remotely which is convenient to both the employer and myself (as opposed to directing which would require that I be where the employer is located).

If you choose to find your script by hiring a freelancer, they will expect to get paid so leave room in your budget for that expense.

This payment will probably be higher than if you choose to explore colleges and other schools related to filmmaking to find a writer because writers that are still in school are looking to build their own produced screenplay credits on IMDb and will likely cut you a deal.

If you go to a site like or, you will find people who already have a portfolio of work and are already Pro or Semi-Pro, and therefore more expensive (but not necessarily better quality or skill).

Writer’s Bootcamp, Colleges and Others Film Schools (or related)

Another great option for finding a writer is to go to a local school that has a film department. You don’t even really have to be physically at the school.

You can send an email to one of the teachers at a film school in Los Angeles, for example, and possibly get a response back with several student screenwriters that are attending the film school and that are interested in having their material produced.

If you want to go even more specific, you can go to a school like Writers Bootcamp ( which is where I studied screenwriting) and find a freelance writer that is specifically focusing on screenwriting, as opposed to an entire film program

I caution you that a number of writers in these screenwriter focus programs are interested in writing features, not shorts, so this might be a more difficult option, but it is likely that the writing skills will also be much better.

Additionally, they might be able to write a screenplay for you based on your ideas for a nominal fee. This would be a work for hire situation and you would own the rights to the screenplay (and create a contract stating such).

Again, this helps the screenwriter because it adds a paid gig to their resume (and IMDb credit) even if it’s just a short film.

Other Options (offline)

I have found several screenplays through a playwriting contest I used to participate in as a director. It was an annual fundraiser for a local theater group in Los Angeles, and writers would apply from throughout the United States.

The theater group’s website is offline now but it would be worth it to see if there’s anything like that in your area or even in relation to film festivals that have short screenwriting contest.

The other offline method I employ almost exclusively is to ask the people I know that write screenplays if they have anything they’d like me to shoot and produce.

I am blessed with having spent a majority of my life in New York and Los Angeles so I’m pretty well connected and know many, many writers.

You don’t necessarily have to be in a big city like I am, but it does help. But even a medium-size city with filmmaker Meetup group will probably have a screenwriter or two in the pack, so maybe take a day trip to the nearest mid-sized city and go to that Meetup and schmooze a bit.

Or you will find another producer that knows a few screenwriters that can help you with your script.

IMPORTANT: There MUST Be An Exchange of Money For The Screenplay

While I know the original question asked for free screenplays, I strongly cautioned against using a screenplay without paying anything. There is a formality to acquiring a screenplay that all producers should go through and it requires the exchange of money. This is to cover your ass as a producer and is worth the nominal fee you may have to shell out.  

Be sure you set up a contract with the writer stating that you have the right to shoot their screenplay and that you have paid for that right. It is okay if you only paid $1 for that right but do you pay for that right.  

If you have space in your budget to pay more, I hope that you do.


As you can see there are many options for finding a screenplay for your movie.

Again, my favorite place for free unproduced remove is but if you enjoy the process of networking with other professionals and getting to know writers through forums and educational programs you will find some other possibilities in the area you live in or on websites that cater to filmmakers or even some sites that cater to a wider audience.

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