Screenwriter; So You Want to Be A
SCREENWRITERS create scripts for TV or film. They write feature films, TV comedy, drama series and serials, adaptations, animation and children's programmes, as well as writing for the games market and corporate production companies.
What are the main duties? Screenwriters research, plan, draft and revise scripts before submitting them to a producer, production company or broadcaster. They also typically choose themes for their work; assemble and organise background material; develop theme, plot and characterisation; and ensure a coherence of style before submission.
After it is accepted, a screenwriter's work is likely to go through a variety of transformations from the original outlines and treatments. The screenwriter will spend considerable time negotiating and modifying their work to achieve a working shooting script, and at the request of a script developer, editor, producer or director, they may be asked to rewrite their work several times.
Screenwriters may be the originator of an idea or be approached with a commission, often working to strict deadlines. It is desirable for them to study current and future market sectors and tailor their work to a target audience. It is important for screenwriters to self publicise, make contacts and network with broadcasters and filmmakers.
What are the hours and environment? Hours of work vary, depending on the relationship between the screenwriter and broadcaster/producer, and the writer's own personal aspirations. If the screenwriter has received a financial advance, they may be required to adhere to an agreed schedule and attend meetings with agents and the production team.
Screenwriters generally work alone and from home; they often establish their own routines to meet long term personal goals or deadlines.
What skills do you need? To be a screenwriter you should be able to produce fresh and original ideas, and have storytelling skills and an understanding of dramatic structure.
A self-disciplined and highly-motivated individual, you can also take criticism and implement changes, plus have a methodical and flexible approach to planning and drafting.
An ability to meet deadlines is key, as are excellent communication and presentation skills.
You should also have an interest in marketing and promoting your work.
What qualifications do you need? There are no formal entry requirements for this type of work although an understanding of the conventions of screen writing is useful. Some writers may have proven storytelling experience from another field.
Competitions and special initiatives are designed to discover new talent and some programme strands are used as testing grounds. …