Have you listened to Rick Dees’ Top Forty lately?

What’s the latest trend in Art?

Quick. Who’s Frank Gehry?

If this sounds far afield from the subject of screenwriting, not so.

The topic is: being well-rounded. And it’s a must for any writer attempting in his work of fiction to be current with “the news of the day.”

Being well-rounded is one of the great pleasures of our profession — and a great excuse for anyone asking why we’re interested in any subject.

I’m a writer. I need to be up-to-date.

What are the latest trends in Art, Architecture, Pop Music, International Diplomacy, Science, and Astronomy? Who are the leaders at the cutting edge of Poetry, Medicine, History, Fashion, and Interior Design?

There is nothing worse when reading a script than finding an outdated pop culture reference, or sensing that this writer isn’t up-to-date on a trend or a new wave of thinking. It makes me wonder if I should throw in with this project. If you don’t know what’s happening, odds are your script may be lacking in other areas, too.

Only one cure for that: get up-to-date. Drop in occasionally on the latest goings-on in worlds other than your own. You might even find some thought-starting nuggets that inspire you to other stories.

What sources do you regularly tune in to just to stay up-to-date and well-rounded? What journals, reading lists, websites, or newsletters keep you being the Renaissance Man or Woman you need to be?

Hey, for me, this justifies buying the occasional issue of Dwell Magazine, or browsing through the Science section of Amazon, or checking out that Netflix documentary on a topic outside my ken.

This job lets us keep learning — and that’s a perk all by itself.