Job Description of a Scriptwriter

Written by kallie johnson
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Job Description of a Scriptwriter
A scriptwriter writes TV and movie scripts. (movie reel image by Maria Bell from

A scriptwriter is exactly what it sounds like. A scriptwriter is a person who writes scripts. A script is a written version of a dramatic composition. Scripts are written for TV shows, movies, commercials and plays. Scriptwriters are also working to keep up with technology to produce scripts for Internet shows and podcasts. A scriptwriter writes scripts for anything that requires one.


A scriptwriter produces content for radio, television broadcast, movies, theatre and other types of performance. As with all writers, scriptwriters conduct research on their topics in various ways: personal observation, library and Internet research and interviews. Writers then pick the research material they want to use, organise it and use the written word to express storylines and ideas or to convey information.

Work Environment

Scriptwriters usually work where and when they choose. Due to the advances in technology, many scriptwriters are able to work on their laptops wherever wireless communication allows. The ability to send e-mail or text messages, transmit and download stories, perform research or review materials using the Internet allows writers flexibility in where they choose to work.

While many scriptwriters decide to work outside of an office, there are still some who work in an office setting by choice, or because they must. Some scriptwriters work with a team in developing television shows or movies, and being in an office with the team is a necessity. The script is a team effort and everyone must be present to contribute and give opinions.

A scriptwriter is also usually able to set his own hours. Some decide to keep regular office hours as it's easier to maintain contact with sources and editors, but others work whenever they are able or feel creative. Some writers are under deadlines and must work to complete a project by a certain time. Scriptwriters who work as a team must adhere to the hours set by the team or employer. Based on all of the variables, scriptwriters must be willing to work evenings, nights or weekends, but normally are able to work when it's convenient for them.


A scriptwriter can benefit from a bachelor's degree in communications, journalism or English. Writing skills are essential for this job and are normally taught rather than learnt on the job. However, there are always exceptions and someone who demonstrates good writing skills may be able to secure employment as a scriptwriter.

In addition to writing skills, a scriptwriter should have work experience or work knowledge in the field for which they are writing the script. For example, someone writing scripts for a radio commercial should have experience with radio advertising.


According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median annual wages for salaried writers was £34,495 in May 2008. The middle 50 per cent earned between £24,797 and £48,789. The lowest 10 per cent earned less than £18,213, and the highest 10 per cent earned more than £69,309.

Scriptwriters who perform freelance work are not included in the above statistics. Freelance writers take many writing jobs in various fields to make ends meet, so there are no statistics on how much a freelance scriptwriter just focusing on that field earns.

Job Outlook

Employment for a scriptwriter is expected to grow about as fast as average for all jobs. Competition for this position is expected to grow faster than average as many people are attracted to this occupation and attracted to the ability to set their own schedules. Scriptwriters with higher education, experience and excellent writing skills will have an advantage in finding work in this field.

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