If you have a creative imagination, excellent writing skills, and the ability to create a strong line of dramatic action, then a career as a screenwriter may be well suited for you.
Finding a job, however, is never easy. Below is a simplified guide that can help you with your job search as a screenwriter. We’ll go over the nature of the job, how much you might be paid, as well as a guide for figuring out how to get started in your job search today.
What Are Screenwriting Jobs?
A screenwriter or a scriptwriter is a writer who writes a blueprint for producing motion pictures or television programs. It’s more specifically targeted at the visual narrative arts, such as television programs, movies, video games, YouTube videos, etc. The major components of what makes a screenplay are dialog and action. The writer normally writes the action in the present tense, though this could vary.
Nature of Screenwriting Jobs
There are several skills and attributes that you must possess as a screenwriter. For example, you need an in-depth knowledge of the story and plot of what you’re creating, as well as the ability to bring characters to life through dramatic and pictorial writing. The writer also needs to be creative, flexible, and willing to take criticism.
Some screenwriting work can be done online and vetted through freelancing platforms, where jobs opportunities are often posted. You could be writing for movies, TV, video games, and sometimes even scripts for YouTube videos (these are specifically often posted on freelancing websites).
Screenwriting Job Rates
In the movie industry, screenwriters are not usually paid a monthly salary. Rather, the writer is paid a fixed amount based on the nature of the project. This is known as contract or project work.
In movies, a novice screenwriter could be paid between $72,662 and $136,413 for an original screenplay. In the television industry, on the other hand, screenwriters are often paid by script length. For a 30-minute episode on a Network TV station, screenwriters could make up to $18,864 – $19,244. Those who work in the ads industry can earn a decent rate of up to $120 per minute, while others may work on a project by project basis.
Depending on how you market your skills, this can be a great way to generate income. It is important to note that you can also set your own fees. Set your rates appropriately and be open to negotiations. If you set your rates too high, you may never get clients. And if you set too low, no one may take you seriously. And most importantly, networking/having an agent will be crucial in finding good gigs.
Screenwriting Job Eligibility
No formal education is required to start a career as a screenwriter, though it is extremely helpful to have some form of education in the practice, because it can help you gain connections to current successful screenwriters and their circles. Most scriptwriters, however, have a degree in some other field, such as photography, English, or business. Having some sort of relevant education might just give you an upper hand over other candidates. Most clients prefer writers with a degree. They assume that graduates have excellent communication skills, think critically, and are more professional.
How to Apply for Screenwriting Jobs
It is worth noting that TV and film scripts adhere to strict on-page and length formatting guidelines. You may be need to enroll in a course that covers this type of formatting to familiarize yourself with the rules. Find an institution that focuses on the entertainment industry, or just take a class online and use your self-starter skills to get you the rest of the way. Many of these courses can be taken from anywhere in the world.
And unless you have connections, it is quite challenging to get your manuscript accepted. You may, therefore, need an agent to help you secure employment or an adviser from wherever you got your screenwriting education (if applicable) to help you get started.
A quick Google search will show a long list of reputable agencies online that you can check out. Request to send them your script. If they are interested, they may respond with their terms and request for reading your work. What are you waiting for? Jump start your career in screenwriting today!