Script writer

A script writer


A script writer is a creative professional responsible for developing scripts for various media, including film, television, theater, and digital platforms. This role involves crafting compelling narratives, creating engaging dialogue, and collaborating with directors, producers, and other team members to bring stories to life.

Some of the typical duties of script writers are to:

  • Generate creative ideas for scripts, including developing concepts, themes, and storylines that resonate with the target audience and align with the project’s goals.
  • Conduct research to gather information and insights relevant to the script, ensuring accuracy and authenticity in the portrayal of characters, settings, and themes.
  • Create a solid story structure, outlining plot points, character arcs, and pacing to build a cohesive and engaging narrative.
  • Craft compelling and authentic dialogue that captures the characters’ voices, advances the plot, and enhances the overall storytelling experience.
  • Collaborate with directors, producers, and other creative professionals to refine the script, incorporating feedback and ensuring alignment with the overall vision of the project.
  • Adapt existing source material, such as novels or true stories, into script format, making necessary adjustments to suit the requirements of the chosen medium.
  • Present script ideas and outlines to producers, executives, or studios, effectively communicating the unique selling points and market appeal of the project.
  • Revise and rewrite scripts based on feedback from collaborators, producers, or test audiences, continuously improving the script throughout the production process.
  • Specialize in specific genres, such as drama, comedy, science fiction, or thriller, adapting writing style and tone to suit the conventions and expectations of the chosen genre.
  • Work within tight deadlines, managing time efficiently to deliver high-quality scripts on schedule.
  • Stay informed about industry trends, market demands, and audience preferences, adapting writing style to meet the evolving needs of the entertainment landscape.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to script writer:

TV script writer
movie author
television writer
TV series script writer
movie script writer
film author
television script writer
screen writer
screenplay writer

Working conditions

Script writers often work in collaboration with production teams and may experience a combination of individual work, team meetings, and script readings. They may work on-site during pre-production and production phases, and remotely during the writing and revision process.

Minimum qualifications

While script writers have no strict educational path, a bachelor’s degree in film, creative writing, or a related field can be beneficial. Many successful script writers gain practical experience through internships, workshops, or entry-level positions in the entertainment industry. Developing a strong portfolio of original work or spec scripts is essential. Continuous engagement with the industry, networking, and staying updated on current trends contribute to a script writer’s professional growth. Strong storytelling skills, creativity, adaptability, and the ability to collaborate effectively are crucial for success in this role.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Script writer is a Skill level 4 occupation.

Script writer career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to script writer.

copy editor
fact checker
storyboard artist

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of script writer.

  • Literature: The body of artistic writing characterized by beauty of expression, form, and universality of intellectual and emotional appeal.
  • Film production process: The various development stages of making a film, such as scriptwriting, financing, shooting, editing, and distribution.
  • Screenwriting theories: The techniques and structures for writing a script in order to convey your creative vision through symbolism, dialogues, action, and subtext such as the Three-act structure, the Hero’s journey, and the Sequence approach.
  • Writing techniques: The different techniques to write a story such as the descriptive, persuasive, first person and other techniques.
  • Copyright legislation: Legislation describing the protection of the rights of original authors over their work, and how others can use it.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of script writer.

  • Develop script bible: Create a document, called the script or story bible, with all the information about the characters and settings of the story.
  • Manage feedback: Provide feedback to others. Evaluate and respond constructively and professionally to critical communication from colleagues and customers.
  • Follow work schedule: Manage the sequence of activities in order to deliver completed work on agreed deadlines by following a work schedule.
  • Consult with producer: Consult with a motion picture producer about requirements, deadlines, budget, and other specifications.
  • Create a shooting script: Create a script including camera, lighting and shot instructions.
  • Consult with production director: Consult with the director, producer and clients throughout the production and post-production process.
  • Summarise stories: Summarise stories briefly to give a broad idea of the creative concept, e.g. in order to secure a contract.
  • Deliver a sales pitch: Prepare and deliver an understandably constructed sales talk for a product or a service, identifying and using persuasive argumentation.
  • Study topics: Carry out effective research on relevant topics to be able to produce summary information appropriate to different audiences. The research may involve reading books, journals, the internet, and/or verbal discussions with knowledgeable persons.
  • Write dialogues: Write conversations between characters.
  • Consult information sources: Consult relevant information sources to find inspiration, to educate yourself on certain topics and to acquire background information.
  • Finish project within budget: Make sure to stay within budget. Adapt work and materials to budget.
  • Develop creative ideas: Developing new artistic concepts and creative ideas.
  • Write storylines: Write the plot of a novel, play, film, or other narrative form. Create and develop characters, their personalities, and relationships.
  • Consult with editor: Consult with the editor of a book, magazine, journal or other publications about expectations, requirements, and progress.
  • Use specific writing techniques: Use writing techniques depending on the type of media, the genre, and the story.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of script writer. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Personal directing styles: Understand and analyse the behaviour of specific directors.
  • Types of literature genres: The different literary genres in the history of literature, their technique, tone, content and length.
  • Computer equipment: The offered computers, computer peripheral equipment and software products, their functionalities, properties and legal and regulatory requirements.
  • Office software: The characteristics and functioning of software programs for office tasks such as word processing, spreadsheets, presentation, email and database.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of script writer. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Write voice-overs: Write voice-over commentary.
  • Attend read-through: Attend the organised reading of the script, where the actors, director, producers, and scriptwriters read the script thoroughly.
  • Adapt a script: Adapt a script and, if the play is newly written, work with the writer or collaborate with playwrights.
  • Manage writing administration: Manage the financial and administrative side of writing including making up budgets, maintaining financial records, checking contracts, etc.
  • Promote your writings: Talk about your work at events and conduct readings, speeches and book signings; establish a network among fellow writers.
  • Manage contracts: Negotiate the terms, conditions, costs and other specifications of a contract while making sure they comply with legal requirements and are legally enforceable. Oversee the execution of the contract, agree on and document any changes.
  • Develop professional network: Reach out to and meet up with people in a professional context. Find common ground and use your contacts for mutual benefit. Keep track of the people in your personal professional network and stay up to date on their activities.
  • Give live presentation: Deliver a speech or talk in which a new product, service, idea, or piece of work is demonstrated and explained to an audience.

ISCO group and title

2641 – Authors and related writers

  1. Script writer – ESCO
  2. Screenwriter | Explore careers – National Careers Service
  3. Screenwriter Job Description, Salary, and more – Climb the Ladder
  4. Featured image: Photo by Ron Lach
Last updated on January 30, 2024