Screenwriter Billy Ray Attends Film Festival

Screenwriters write scripts for entertainment, education, training and sales, films and television programs. Screenwriters may choose themes themselves, or they may write on a theme assigned by a producer or director, sometimes adapting plays, novels, or other works into screenplays. Screenwriting is an art, a craft, and a business. It is a career that requires imagination and creativity, the ability to tell a story using both dialogue and pictures, and the ability to negotiate with producers and studio executives.

Next Section: History

Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Continuity Writers, Motion Picture Writers, Playwrights
Duties Write scripts for television shows, movies, documentaries, and other productions
Salary Range Below $25,000 to $100,000+
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Most opportunities exist in New York and Los Angeles
Minimum Education Level
  • High School Diploma
School Subjects
  • English
  • Journalism
  • Theater/Dance
Experience Previous writing experience recommended
Personality Traits
  • Creative
  • Enterprising
  • Organized
  • Computer
  • Performance
  • Music
  • and Acting
  • Writing
Certification or Licensing None
Special Requirements Membership in the Writers Guild of America (WGA) may be required
Employment Prospects Fair
Advancement Prospects Fair
Outlook Little Change or More Slowly than the Average
Career Ladder
  • Director, or Producer, or Award-Winning Screenwriter
  • Screenwriter
  • Writer’s Assistant or Production Assistant