When you are watching a horror movie, have you ever wondered why is that particular character going to the attic when obviously the ghost is present there? Why is she climbing the crooked stairs? Why are the children planning to play in the house that they know is haunted? I have so many times called those kinds of actions stupid, thinking I would have never done it.
But in retrospect, I think if they didn’t I would have left the theatre hall and won’t have gotten the experience I paid for. This is a significant part of screenwriting where the writer doesn’t have to write in a logical sense but write in dramatic order. The audience despite being logical enjoys the surprise element in movies which are written for dramatic effect. This is where screenwriting makes the audience the main character and not the movie characters.
If this chunk interests you in becoming a screenwriter, read the blog to know more about the career. What does a screenwriter do? What are the various job roles? How much can you earn? What are the growth prospects? And much more will be revealed in the blog and will give you a complete insight into the career as a screenwriter.
What does a Screenwriter do?
Dramatic screenplays for movies and television are created by screenwriters. They could create this from scratch, turn an existing tale into a screenplay, or collaborate on an ongoing production (TV).
It takes more than simply knowing how to write dialogue and plot lines; you also need to know about the entire film business. Screenwriters craft their scripts so that readers can picture the location, the mood, and how it will play out on screen. For this, their story needs to be presented on screen as effectively as possible, and therefore collaborate closely with directors, producers, and performers. Thus, you must develop the characters, the framework, the plot, and the payout.
But what do they do other than just sitting and writing, you mean? They will be present on TV sets throughout filming to respond to queries from actors about their characters. The same is true with films. They’ll aid in problem-solving by enhancing the narrative or changing the conversation.
There are numerous tasks that scriptwriters perform. They can work in a large room only assisting filmmakers in breaking worlds or developing backstories for TV shows; they are not limited to just delivering stories. Your day will be filled with a variety of activities, including writing, breaking stories, visiting sets, speaking with tech consultants, revising, and more. The obligations of a writer in cinema and television are always expanding, changing, and changing again.
Job Roles for a Screenwriting
Becoming a screenwriter is not an easy job as it requires quality content on your part. But there are various writing roles that you can try:
- Freelance copywriter:
A freelance copywriter writes clear, succinct content for a variety of media, such as newsletters, blog posts, white papers, and advertisements. Working with a group of designers and marketers to create engaging campaigns and content may be part of the job description. This position could entail client interaction, research, and proofreading using SEO techniques.
- Content Producers:
Website writing, media, and other content are created, edited, and allotted space by content producers. Writing social media headlines for each article as well as adding meta descriptions, tags, and categories are daily jobs. Producers of content also choose the appropriate location for photographs and videos.
Editors are people who edit and approve the final draughts of prose and assist authors with story ideas. Editors can work for a variety of businesses, including publishing houses and digital marketing agencies. They should not be confused with the video editor, which is more frequently connected with the motion picture industry.
- Freelance Writer:
Self-employed freelance writers produce a variety of articles. They might create content for numerous websites or print companies, or they can blog about a specific passion or hobby. Usually acting as authorities in a single subject, freelance writers produce content for a variety of platforms.
- Podcast writer:
They conduct research and produce scripts for the themes covered in each episode. Writing for podcasts also entails directing the show’s production, which includes scheduling studio time, ensuring that the storytelling is faultless and the sound production is up to par, and reviewing the finished product.
For those in executive positions, speechwriters produce briefings, speeches, and other forms of communication. The job entails comprehending the executive’s major beliefs and producing a document that expresses them. Speechwriters produce editorials, articles, news releases, and social media postings.
These are some of the writing jobs that involve transferable skills to screenwriting. Other than these, the type of screenwriting jobs available is very less. However, here are a few you can try if you find them:
- Spec Scriptwriters:
A screenplay that has not been requested or commissioned is referred to as a spec script or speculative screenplay. Typically, a screenwriter creates it with the intention of having the script optioned and subsequently purchased by a producer, production firm, or studio.
- Gaming screenwriters:
This is not the tag given to the screenwriter. However, screenwriters can also work in the gaming industry. Games are made available to screenwriters in a special format that fits the interactive play. Stories serve as an introduction to the game, a justification for the action, and a mechanism to force certain occurrences. The next stage is to create a flowchart after examining the game bible. The writer is instructed on what situations to create by this sketch of potential narrative outcomes.
- Corporate Screenwriter:
Companies create videos for a variety of reasons, including employee training, sales promotion, audience outreach, and installation and usage guides. Another significant media platform for businesses’ scripted material is YouTube. Corporate world screenwriting assignments could be written internally or given to public relations or advertising agencies. As an ad agency copywriter, education and work experience are advantages.
- Television writing:
A contract to write one or more episodes for an ongoing television show is often obtained by a freelance television writer using spec scripts, prior credentials, and reputation. Rewriting or polishing may be necessary after an episode has been submitted.
Career Paths to Become a Screenwriter
There is no mandatory subject requirement that is required to become a screenwriter. Thus after 12th, there are various ways you can become a screenwriter:
You can choose any stream in 11th and 12th grade. Post the 12th, you can pursue a Bachelor in Arts (B.A.) in Literature or B.A. in Film studies. After completing your undergraduate degree you can get a job or you can choose to pursue higher education. A Masters in Mass communication or journalism or M.A. in Fil studies can also open paths to becoming a screenwriter.
After choosing any stream in 12th, you can go for Bachelor in Fine Arts (BFA), followed by a Masters in Fine Arts (MFA). Depending on the specializations that the college offers, you can choose one based on writing.
Post 12th, another option you can choose is to go for Bachelor in Journalism and Mass media (BJMC). It is a three or four years undergraduate degree that examines every facet of various forms of mass communication as well as the methods used to gather, convey, and subsequently disseminate news to the general public. After this degree, you can go for a Master’s in Journalism and Mass Media which will help you get an edge while applying for jobs.
To get more information on the degrees, you can check out our blog on How to become a screenwriter.
Salary in different stages of Career as a Screenwriter
The average gross pay for scriptwriters in India is 10,27,143.
Wage estimates based on data from anonymous Indian employees and employers via salary surveys have found the following data:
|Experience level||Entry-level||Middle level||Senior level|
Skills required to become a screenwriter
Being passionate about your work is crucial in any profession, but this is especially true for aspiring screenwriters. Do you enjoy viewing movies and TV shows? Do you frequently make references to movies or TV shows? There is much more to screenwriting than merely drafting a script. It entails learning about the art and appreciating it.
Filmmaking, including screenwriting, is incredibly subjective. When you went to the movies with friends, how often did they enjoy it while you didn’t? We encounter this nearly daily in life and are aware that individuals hold different opinions, but when it comes to our own writing, it takes on a more intimate quality. The sting of rejection is lessened when you consider others’ opinions of your work with objectivity. You may also respond to notes and feedback in a more composed and professional manner when you do this.
You must be adaptable in every way if you want to write for the big screen. The act of writing, criticism, problem-solving, and more. Budget worries, a change in directors, and a shift in studio management can all occasionally cause script problems. The objective is always to provide high-quality content, though. You will succeed if you persevere, accept criticism, use your vision, and exercise patience. It’s crucial to have the adaptability to handle everything.
Screenwriting, like all artistic endeavours, can provide difficulties, impediments, and challenges to the artist. A wise man once observed, “Nothing worth doing is simple.” The way you move through these stages of the process will ultimately decide your long-term success. For instance, before succeeding in their chosen field, Rowling had numerous rejections. Because they possessed the next trait on this list, they were able to persevere in the face of difficulty.
In the entertainment industry, consistency is of the biggest significance. You can use a variety of tips and techniques to stay organised and overcome writer’s block. The last thing you need is a bad reputation for being inconsistent, so get in the habit of meeting deadlines early.
Networking is so important, especially for screenwriters. It’s the best way to get a script to an agent, studio executive or producer. Many cities offer networking events where screenwriters can meet like-minded artists. Your script won’t sell itself so it’s important to get out there and market yourself. Don’t be shy, and be confident in your skills and script and you might just stumble across someone who wants to make a movie with you.
Having a fresh project to focus on can help make the waiting period a bit less painful. Some projects may take years to begin. Screenwriters need to be patient and accept the amount of time it takes to get a movie completed. This is one of the most useful skills a screenwriter can acquire.
- Keep Writing
You are familiar with the procedure. You start writing a fantastic concept only to run into a wall. You abandon the project because you are at a loss on what to do. Many writers deal with this, but even while it’s a good justification, that doesn’t mean you should give up.
Is being a Screenwriter a good career option?
By 2026, it is anticipated that there will be 8% more employment openings for screenwriting positions. They must, however, operate alone for extended periods of time.
Additionally, the field of scriptwriting is challenging and competitive, with many unknowns. If you are successful, it can be a very lucrative job, although the income is relatively low at first. Before producing a script, research about individuals and subjects often requires some travel. It is not the best career for those seeking a steady salary and job stability.
Fame is not a given of the career. However, if you’re keen on leveraging your writing abilities to create stunning stories and scripts that will look fantastic on film, and if your passion for writing with creative freedom outweighs your ambition to rapidly become well-known and wealthy, this can be a suitable career choice for you.
Type of Industries hiring for a Screenwriter
Screenwriters usually work for the film and TV industries. However, there are also a few other areas where you can be a screenwriter:
- Gaming industry
- Animation industry
- Production houses
Top Recruiters hiring for a Screenwriter
Screenwriters usually freelance their work. However, there are certain agencies that you can check out if you want to start fresh:
- What a Story
- Get best writers
- Orange Publishers
- Shadow Puppet
- Camera and Shorts media
Courses to upskill as a Screenwriter
If you’re unsure about a job as a screenwriter, you may test it out by registering for a range of time- and money-saving online courses or as a way to upskill yourself. There is no prerequisite for them, thus you can enrol in them after getting your 10th grade.
|Beginning Screenwriting made easy- Screenwriting course||2.5 hours of video content (self-paced)|
|Screenwriting Workshop||7 hours of video content (self-paced)|
|Scriptwriting: Write a pilot episode for a TV or web series||1-3 Months|
|Learn Screenwriting with movies you know||1-hour content (self-paced)|
|Creative Writing: The Craft of Plot||1-4 Weeks|
Qualifications to become a Screenwriter
Degrees in India
As mentioned previously, there is no mandatory subject requirement to become a scriptwriter. However, there are certain undergraduate degrees that you can pursue to become a screenwriter
A) UG Degree
Some of the undergraduate courses that help you in becoming a screenwriter in India are:
|Bachelors in Journalism and Mass Communication||3 Years|
|B.A. in Literature||3 Years|
|Bachelor in Fine Arts||4 Years|
|B.A. In Film Studies||4 Years|
B) PG Degree
Some of the post-graduate degrees that you can pursue include:
|M.A. in Film Making||2 years|
|Masters in Journalism and Mass communication||2 Years|
|Masters in Fine Arts||2 Years|
The undergraduate course abroad differs in course curriculum, structure and approach to teaching. Some of the courses that you can check out abroad include:
- B.S. in Communication
- B.A. (Hons) in Journalism
- Bachelors in Arts in Communication Studies
- Digital Communication and Multimedia Journalism B.A.
- BA Hons in Book and Media Studies
- Bachelor of Science in Comparative Media Studies
- Bachelors of Arts in Fine Arts
- Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media Studies
The undergraduate course takes 3-4 years to complete. Similarly for Masters, some of the options that you can check out include Master of Screenwriting, MFA in Screenwriting, and MA in Screenwriting. These take around 1-2 years to complete.
Entry into these courses will require you to give language proficiency test scores of IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, SATs, etc along with an SOP (Statement of Purpose) and LORs (Letter of Recommendation). Want some help with SATs? We have got you covered. Read this blog to know more!
Want to boost your chances of getting admission abroad? Sign up for the Clever Harvey JuniorMBA Advertising Course and add a real industry project to your student portfolio.
Want to know more? Check these out:
Some of the books that you can read include:
- Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need – by Blake Snyder
- The Idea: The Seven Elements of a Viable Story for Screen, Stage or Fiction by Erik Bork
- The Screenwriter’s Bible: A Complete Guide to Writing, Formatting, and Selling Your Script by David Trottier
- Adventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman
- The Idea: The Seven Elements of a Viable Story for Screen, Stage or Fiction by Erik Bork
When you enjoy travelling to a fictional world with characters, scriptwriting can be enjoyable. It helps to have a basic understanding of human behaviour while writing conversations and setting up scenes. Therefore, in addition to having good English skills, make sure you are aware of the fundamentals of human psychology.
FAQs- Frequently Asked Questions about Career as Screenwriter
What does a screenwriter do?
Screenwriters craft their scripts so that readers can picture the location, the mood, and how it will play out on screen. When writing and rewriting their script, they collaborate with producers, directors, and performers while frequently meeting deadlines. Almost always independent contractors, and screenwriters.
What’s the difference between scriptwriter and screenwriter?
The phrases “screenwriter” and “scriptwriter” are sometimes used interchangeably, however, the job title may give some indication of how the writer intends to use his or her script. The term “screenplay” is used to refer to scripts written by screenwriters that are prepared for usage in film, television, and theatre.
Do I need a degree to be a screenwriter?
Although it’s not necessary to have a degree to create screenplays, it could help you further your career. There are numerous institutions, universities, and film schools that provide bachelor’s degree programmes in screenwriting, cinema studies, and television writing.
Is there a demand for screenwriters?
As it has been for decades, screenwriting is in great demand and most likely will remain so for decades to come. However, many people struggle to keep a profitable profession going and obtain regular work. However, there are many prospects for screenwriters who produce viable screenplays.
Who is the best screenplay writer in India?
Some of the Celebrated Script Writers from Indian Cinema include Satyajit Ray, Jaideep Sahni, Anjum Rajabali, Vishal Bhardwaj, and KV Vijayendra Prasad.
What degree is best for a screenwriter?
A full-time writing position normally requires a bachelor’s degree. Since this job requires writing abilities, many employers favour applicants with degrees in English, journalism, or communications.