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.
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
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.
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.
Strong command over at least two languages
Must be familiar with regional languages
Keen observation skills
Good interpersonal skills
Ability to work under pressure
Flexible with inputs from higher authorities
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.
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.
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.
INR 1.9 LPA
INR 10 LPA or above
INR 5.9 LPA
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
Once recognised, pays well
In contact with stalwarts of the film and media industry
Good work garners even international recognition
Hard to get recognition
Networking is very important
Is not lucrative in the beginning
Need for an agent to sell the scripts