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Career as Screenwriter

Career as a Screenwriter

About Screenwriter

A screenwriter, also known as a screenplay writer or scriptwriter or scenarist who deals with writing content for visual mediums. They write screenplays for short films, feature films, commercials, video games, television, plays, skits, etc. The job of a screenwriter requires talent, determination and patience more than any educational qualification. Most of the jobs in the field of performing arts does not require any specific educational qualification and screenwriting is one of them. If you are interested in becoming a screenplay writer then following are the things that you must know. 

Eligibility to become Screenwriter

The job of a screenwriter does not demand any educational qualification or age criteria. Irrespective of your educational background, if you possess talent for screenplay writing, you will make a career in the field. 

Subject Requirements: No specific requirements

Educational Qualification: 

  • You do not require any specific educational qualification to become a screenwriter. 

  • Although, if you are looking to pursue a degree course or postgraduate diploma programme in screenplay writing, you will be required to meet the eligibility criteria. 

  • For a master degree or PGD in screenplay writing, you must hold a bachelor degree or equivalent in any discipline.

Experience:

  • Again, there is no specific work experience required for the job but, it is always good to go for the bigger media houses with some experience in the field. 

  • Also, with experience, you make contacts, understand the media industry and learn to improve your work. So, many media houses hire writers with experience.  

Key Skills Required to Become a Screenwriter

  • Strong command over at least two languages

  • Must be familiar with regional languages

  • Keen observation skills

  • Creative

  • Good interpersonal skills

  • Ability to work under pressure

  • Flexible with inputs from higher authorities

  • Passionate

  • Disciplined

  • Consistency

  • Persistence

  • Knowledge

  • Conviction

  • Imaginative 

How to Become a Screenwriter?

Here is how you can become a screenplay writer and make it big in the world. 

  • You have got talent? Great. Now you need to start approaching talent agencies, producers, directors, actors or people with contacts in the film and television industry.

  • Start sending you scripts to these people and production houses.

  • Networking is very important in this field. 

  • Keep looking for writing gigs and requirements on the internet through different platforms. 

  • Although there are no educational requirements for the job, you can pursue certain courses in screenwriting from good film making schools.

Employment Sector/Industry for Screenwriter

The responsibilities and duties of screenwriters include the following. 

  • Developing ideas for original movie screenplays

  • Writing or adapting a story into a script

  • Creating an initial framework for screenplays

  • Meeting with film executives for pitching screenplay ideas

  • Working with directors and producers to adjust and edit a script as demanded

  • Weaving together all the visual elements in a scene with dialogues and plots.

Planning to choose Screenwriter as your career?

Pay Scale/Salary of Screenwriter

The salary of a screenwriter can not be calculated on a monthly basis as it depends on the number of projects one gets. Some writers get paid on hourly basis whereas some get paid on a project basis. To get an idea, you can check out the following table. 

Category 

Salary 

Minimum Salary

INR 1.9 LPA

Maximum Salary

INR 10 LPA or above

Average Salary

INR 5.9 LPA

Books & Study Material to Become Screenwriter

Here are some books that will help you make a career in screenplay writing.

  • 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

  • Into The Woods: How Stories Work and Why We Tell Them by John Yorke

  • Story: Style, Structure, Substance, and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee

  • 150 Screenwriting Challenges by Eric Heisserer

  • The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller by John Truby

  • Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting by Syd Field

  • 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 Nutshell Technique: Crack the Secret of Successful Screenwriting by Jill Chamberlain

  • Getting it Write: An Insider’s Guide to a Screenwriting Career by Lee Jessup

Pros of becoming a Screenwriter

  • Once recognised, pays well

  • In contact with stalwarts of the film and media industry

  • Creative freedom

  • Good work garners even international recognition 

Cons of becoming a Screenwriter

  • Hard to get recognition

  • Networking is very important

  • Is not lucrative in the beginning

  • Need for an agent to sell the scripts

Paths for Being Screenwriter

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