Discover your career path


Write dialogue and directions for a motion picture.

What does a Screenwriter do?

Amid the glitz and glamour of the Oscars, it’s easy to forget that the basis for all the nominated movies is good writing—there’s even an award for Best Original Screenplay. So the job of a screenwriter, which is to write the basis of a movie in the form of a script, is a pretty important one.

Unlike a novelist, a screenwriter creates written work that people experience visually. As a screenwriter, you put a story in script form, outlining what viewers will see and hear when the story is turned into a movie. It’s important for audiences to know what your characters are thinking, and it’s more interesting if you can show these thoughts through actions or dialogues.

This job entails tons of hard work and takes up a lot of your time. You create scripts composed of things like dialogues and scene descriptions—anything that will give the director an idea of how to visually create the story. You don’t have to worry about things like camera directions or blocking for actors, but you do have to write the entire script—all 100 pages, which is the average length of most scripts. And after you’ve completed your script, you need to rewrite it and then rewrite it again, and then once again rewrite it. The film industry is a difficult world to break into, so you want to make sure everything you send out is of excellent quality and completely polished.

This job is big on collaboration which means your script serves as an outline for directors, which they can change if they so choose. Once it’s sold, you often have no say over the changes that get made. Sometimes, other writers are even hired to rework your original idea. That being said, you can’t deny that it would be extremely exciting to walk into a movie theater and watch a movie that you helped create.