What Does a Screenplay Writer Do?

Updated on January 9th, 2022
What Does a Screenplay Writer Do?

Has the thought of being a screenplay writer ever crossed your mind at some point in your life? If yes, I'm sure you must be interested in what the screenplay writers do. And of course, that's why I'm here. I will show you what the screenplay writer does, and by the end, you will know whether you are fit to do it.

Screenplay writing is one thing that could generate millions of dollars if you master the art of writing them perfectly. In this post, I'll guide you through the roles that you will undertake as a scriptwriter.

What Does a Screenplay Writer Do?

The screenplay writer creates a section of the actors and forms a dialogue of the entire movie or TV series. The screenplay writer is usually responsible for the whole of the series's success or failure. Therefore, you have to be extra careful when dealing with scripts.

To become a scriptwriter, you will always need some samples to show off to your potential buyers. For instance, you can start by writing an imaginary speculated screenplay. A speculated script is something that you will do while practicing your scriptwriting skills.

Once you make your speculated script at its best level, you can sell it to media outlets that can use it in the desired need. And that will be the beginning of your screenplay writing.

What is a Screenplay?

As the name suggests, a screenplay is a script that shows how a TV show or a movie plays on television or other channels like YouTube. For any action to occur, there has to be a guide that the actors follow to actualize their tasks.

A screenplay shows a better way to determine the overall budget of the movie or the TV show. The script also determines the success of the entire film. Therefore, if it's good enough, the movie will be one of its time.

What Characters should a Screenplay Writer Possess?

To become a successful scriptwriter, you have to distinguish yourself from the crowd. Therefore, you have to possess particular features that will help you in your career.

You Beed to be Creative

Being creative is the number one requirement to be an excellent scriptwriter. You must generate original ideas that will help in the film creation.

We have multiple movies and TV series with similar themes, but their uniqueness differentiates them. Otherwise, there won't be any need to create various films with the same plan from beginning to end.

That is why it's crucial to have the creativity feature as your defense. For instance, we have many soap operas with similar themes, but the play is usually different. So, of course, the scriptwriters include uniqueness in each film.

If every film you see around had the same actions, watching a single movie would be so dull. Therefore, to be an excellent scriptwriter, you need to up your creativity skill.

To do that, you can focus on reading as many scripts as your mind can hold. That way, you will learn from different writers and develop unique ideas.

Be a TV Series / Movies Fan

This feature is among the best you need to have as a screenplay writer. Of course, you have to be a movie fan to understand the different themes of movies and TV series.

Without having a rough idea of how a movie looks, it will be tough to start writing a movie plan in the first place. However, different films and TV shows can give you an actual picture that you have to print in your speculated script.

In addition, watching a movie gives you a different emotional feeling than reading. A cinema shows you actual pictures that actors have translated from the screenplay.

It would help to watch a movie or a TV series with the script in mind. That will show you how easy or hard it is to translate words into sound and actions.

Have a Background of Arts Knowledge

Remember, in a screenplay, you will be writing words that actors will translate to a film. Therefore, you must have a picture in mind of the movie you are writing.

For instance, if you are writing about a bank robbery, ensure that you visualize an actual bank robbery in real life. That will ensure that what you write is attainable and easy to act on.

Basic art knowledge will allow you to visualize and write your script in an achievable nature. And that way, you would grow to be an excellent scriptwriter.

Master the Knowledge of Scriptwriting

Of course, to be an excellent scriptwriter, you need to master the knowledge of screenplay writing. You should learn and understand when a script is at its best.

There are several ways to learn scriptwriting if you are new to the field. You can search for certifications in Hubspot or even learn through YouTube tutorials.

However, you must have a passion for learning since it might be so overwhelming in the end. But that's a process that you need to follow to be a sought-after screenplay writer.

Have a Love of Freelancing

Having a freelancer's mind allows you to diversify your skills to a global marketplace where you will get high-value directors and producers.

You don't have to keep on searching for script writing jobs locally. Instead, it will still be a great idea if you choose to visit freelancing sites to look for more international jobs. And by doing so, you will have a new challenge on the table.

You Must have a Good Rapport

Having a good rapport means that you can communicate freely with the team you are working with without disrespect whatsoever. When working as a scriptwriter, you need to have high-value communication skills since you will need them throughout the project.

Remember that it might take months or years to write a film script. But, on the other hand, it's only short films that you can only take a few weeks to complete. Either way, you must communicate appropriately with the directors and the film producers.

What is the Role of a Screenplay Writer?

As a screenplay writer, you are the source of information for the entire movie. Therefore, in most cases, producers would like you to be present sometimes during the acting. You are around making it easy to answer any question from the actors.

You are responsible for a film story.

As a scriptwriter, you stand as a writer for films, which means you have the story from beginning to end. In most cases, if the film is a long series, you may have to work with multiple scriptwriters, but everyone will have their part to write.

You are the one to assign the actors their specific roles.

Since you know the story and the actors don't, you have to brief them in every part they will be committed to in the play. Therefore, as a scriptwriter, you ensure that you structure each actor's role excellently.

In addition, you are also responsible for writing the actor's dialogue, hence making it easier for them to understand their part fully.

You can choose to write personal speculation screenplays.

Instead of getting a job to do the screenplay, you can create your speculation story and write about it. Afterward, you can choose to sell the script to anyone interested in buying it.

But I'm not saying you should turn down the offers to write a screenplay from other producers and directors.

You are the problem solver in action.

You are the person who knows the entire story and the tone that would make the film successful. Therefore, you should ensure that you are on your toes to ensure that everything falls in place during the acting.

And as a result, the results of the entire film will be successful, and if there are any errors, they will be minimal.

Sometimes you have to be the trainer.

Remember, you are the right person who could explain the story. Therefore, you can be the actor's trainer to follow the script. In addition, the producer will need your guidance in understanding the tones of different scenes.

Therefore, you must be ready and equipped with adequate knowledge about the entire play or movie series. It's your role to ensure that every actor understands their role, contributing to the play's success.

What kind of scripts can you write?

  • A TV series show
  • Soap operas
  • Movies
  • Short films
  • Video game scripts

How do You Become a Scriptwriter?

You need to focus

If you ever want to succeed in anything you do, it's essential to put all your effort into whatever you do. The same criterion applies to scriptwriting. To succeed, you need to focus on the film you are writing to avoid going off-topic.

Set writing deadlines

Of course, everything has a timeline, and it can be so frustrating if you keep rotating on one task for weeks without completing it. However, you will eventually fulfill your writing goals if you set a reasonable deadline.

But if you are working for someone else and not a speculated screenplay, the directors could give you deadlines that you should follow. Like I said earlier, you have to ensure that you are on good terms with the directors and the producers. Therefore, ensure that you meet all deadlines they have set.

Reward yourself

Too much work without a break is not that good. Therefore, it's often good to reward yourself by taking off days from your scriptwriting job. Remember that this particular job can be overwhelming if you are not careful.

You can choose to do it for a holiday or anything else that makes you feel good. As a result, p, when you are back at work, you will manage to think hence producing excellent results.

Learn to use screenplay formatting software

As technology grows, things are becoming more accessible than before. It's advisable to learn any new technology that concerns your work.

A screenplay formatting software helps you write the script excellently with inbuilt templates. Therefore, it could help if you learn about this technology.

For instance, Squibler.io and Final Draft will help you put your words and phrases in the desired manner.

Include some arguments between the screenplay amongst the characters

A fight ensues that the film is not so flat, giving the reader an option to choose which side they belong in the statement. That way, the story is too interesting to leave incomplete.

Listen to a movie, not only watch

When watching a movie or a TV series, ensure that you follow up on every character's words. That will help you to know the different tones involved in the play. And as a result, you will have an easy time writing your script.

Every word in a movie is usually in the script. Therefore, before you can dedicate yourself to being a scriptwriter, ensure that you have listened to multiple films and read their scripts.

If possible, get a mentor

At some point in life, it's always essential to get a mentor in the field that you belong to. If you get a mentor who is a pro in scriptwriting, you will eventually become like them. However, you have to follow the blueprints that you have used to succeed in the scriptwriting field.

The Bottom Line

Do you feel that you can become a screenplay writer? It's simple, but it needs the total commitment you want to succeed in this particular writing.

Remember that any single error in your scriptwriting could cause severe damages to the entire play set-up. It will also have a significant impact on the budget, resulting in losses in the end. And that's not right. So dedicate yourself fully.