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Screenwriter A good career option for anyone who has ever watched a soap opera and thought, ‘Who the hell comes up with this crap? I could write better storylines than this’, screenwriting provides an opportunity to shape and create works that have the ability to enlighten, entertain and sometimes enrage viewers. Surely the dream profession of any hardcore cinema or television buff with a love of the written word, screenwriting is one of those careers that many people would love to pursue but feel is out of their reach. While certainly not a profession for just anyone, it is entirely possible to make a good living from screenwriting, particularly if you are in a position to move to Hollywood where thousands of the world’s screenwriters live and work. For a professional screenwriter, there’s an astounding array of places to apply your talent. From cheesy, made-for-television Christmas movies to big-budget sci-fi flicks and animated features, there are many genres to explore when working in screenwriting. Apart from film, screenwriters also work on commercials and television series and, with the recent explosion in high-quality television drama, many argue that writing for television is now the place to be. Even video game designers require the input of a screenwriter to bring their stories to life. The best part of this profession is that there are many ways to get there. Some successful screenwriters attended screenwriting classes in college, others have no higher education and picked up the trade by working in the business and learning from senior scriptwriters. Attending a screenwriting course can only help your career prospects, but it’s certainly not the only way to get a foot in the door. From plotting a riveting story arc to writing killer dialogue, the art of screenwriting isn’t as easy as it sounds. Many screenwriters

work on a freelance basis, meaning that they can go from rags to riches (and sometimes rags again) depending on the project. And there’s the hard work, long hours and crippling self-doubt involved in birthing any kind of monumental creative endeavour. Because screenwriting is a collaborative process, much of your time is spent dealing with other people. Most screenwriters are hired to work on a specific production, so they are beholden to the whims of others (unless you’re Quentin Tarantino, then you can do whatever you damn well like). Whether screenwriters are working with a team of other writers, or working with an author to take a book from print to screen, or listening to unsavoury feedback from an actor who wants their dialogue rewritten, screenwriters have little control over their work. Scenes you toiled over end up on the cutting room floor, characters you created are killed off because producers don’t like them and scenes are rewritten to please directors. Apart from being astonishingly good creative writers with an inherent understanding of film and television, screenwriters must also be patient and proactive. For those fortunate enough to make it to the top, there’s the opportunity to work on award-winning films, walk the red carpet at film premieres and meet and work with film and TV legends. A fair trade for having a scene or two cut now and then? You decide.

The lowdown

Education or qualifications: None, although screenwriting courses and college modules are taught all over the world and online. Despite this, a tertiary education isn’t required to be a successful screenwriter. Experience required: Knowledge of or experience working in the film industry is helpful. Training: Screenwriting courses are available, although working with more senior screenwriters is a good way to receive on-the-job training. Restrictions: None.

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I can get paid for that?  

NOTE: This e-gallery is for press purposes only. No images or other copyrighted materials seen here may be reproduced. Contact patrick@smi...

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