What does a screenwriter do?

Thu 12 May 2022

A screenwriter is essentially a writer who creates or adapts a story into a script for the entertainment industry. These scripts are written in a specific way to help readers understand the story, setting, and emotion of how it will be seen and heard on a screen.

Screenwriters today work very closely with producers, directors, and actors with drafting, editing, adding details, explaining characters and so much more - bringing stories to life across various mediums that will be remembered forever. 

What is the difference between screenwriting and scriptwriting?

Screenwriting is actually a part of scriptwriting where writing is done for cinema and TV - essentially anything with a screen. Scriptwriting (which includes screenwriting) usually refers to writing a script for everything else. This could include writing for radio, theatre, and advertising.

What exactly does a screenwriter do?

The first thing a screenwriter does is take an idea and build a story around it. This can be an original idea or an existing idea that a studio wants the screenwriter to work on. During this stage characters are created, the structure of the story is formed, and details are planted.

Once the script (also called screenplay) is completed, it will be pitched to and chosen by experts in the entertainment industry. From thereon, screenwriters work within the circle to perfect the storytelling for the screen. This usually means the screenwriter is involved with the production from start to finish, with various tasks such as rewriting sections to better translate into the screen, enhancing character personalities, adding new details, and making sure there are no loopholes.

The job role of a screenwriter is always evolving. Today they are involved with so much more than just writing. They are at the heart of the production, balancing multiple tasks and making sure everything runs according to script!

Where can screenwriters find work?

One of the areas where screenwriters can find work is in the glitz and glamour of the cinema and TV world. The screenwriting stage for cinema is the starting point where great movies are born. Commercials and TV series are other mediums in television that screenwriters may write for. Depending on the type of screenwriter you want to become in this industry, whether it is long or short-form storytelling, you can find specific jobs in creative and media agencies, film companies or even as freelancers. 

Find out more about breaking into the industry:

How to become a screenwriter ❯

Sources show that the UK’s film industry is thriving post-Covid with a £6 billion boom in film and TV production, which could also translate to very attractive remuneration packages in the prospective future as well.

Video games are also another popular field in which screenwriters may find work today. When a game has been designed and technicalities are being set into motion, video game companies hire screenwriters (also called game writers) to help structure the game story to add depth, branch dialogue, and expand scenes/levels. 

We presently live in a world where video games revenue makes up more than half of the UK's entertainment market. In 2020, research showed that the UK has the largest video game sector in Europe, where world-class talent is attracted and developed.

How will an MA in Writing for Script and Screen help you?

While you can improve and practice your craft for screenwriting in many ways, a Master’s will equip you with the right fundamentals and insight into jobs to meet the ever-changing demands of the industry. 

Falmouth University offers a Master's in Writing for Script and Screen which can be accessed from anywhere in the world, with flexible learning options both online and part-time. The Master's will help you gain the writing skills you need to compete in your field, complete with a professional portfolio, and will provide you with the experience required to perform in different screen industries in a professional capacity.

This course will not only guide you into becoming a professional screenwriter but also help to develop collaboration and networking skills which are important to land that first job, especially when it comes to the entertainment industry. 

If you’re ready to type out your first slug-line and journey your way into the world of screenwriting, learn more about Falmouth University’s online and part-time MA in Writing for Script and Screen:

Explore the course ❯

Writing for Script & Screen

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