A scriptwriter is a special kind of writer. Unlike other writers, the scriptwriter's work is meant to be read aloud. Additionally, the scriptwriter must put enough in his script to tell the art department what kinds of visuals a piece requires, helps actors understand character motivation and tells the director what types of locations a film or television shoot requires.
Television requires that a scriptwriter be able to write on demand, according to the State University website. This means that the writer sometimes produces upwards of 30 pages or more of dialogue on a daily basis. Very often this is for television news, but it applies to other television formats as well like half-hour comedy shows and television dramas. Another type of television writer exists in addition to the writer of comedy and drama scripts. This is the continuity writer, whose job is to write station announcements and persuasive advertising copy for the station’s sponsors.
The scriptwriter for film is also known as the screenwriter. This storyteller brings a full-length feature film to life. While many work in New York and California, where television and films are produced, many are finding work outside of these areas in independent films. These writers work with the film’s producer and sometimes the director to develop a suitable script for a film. They create original works for the screen. They also make adaptations of books and short stories. In this case, they must translate information that was solely conveyed in a narrative format and bring it to the screen.
Scriptwriters who write for live theatre are called playwrights. They have written scripts to be acted out by actors since the days of the ancient Greeks. While film and stage writing share common elements, the emphasis for the scriptwriter who writes for the stage is dialogue whereas for the screenwriter it’s more action driven and visually oriented. According to the Playwright’s Center website, unlike most other writers, the playwright must write a story that shows the narrative story and allows for the development of characters, but does so in a way that’s open for interpretation.
Traditionally, the scriptwriter worked in media like television, video, film and stage. However, with the growing popularity of video games, the demand for scriptwriters continues to grow. However, while some of the traditional skills the scriptwriter learnt in education training programs also apply to video games, a stylistic difference exists between these media. This medium requires that a scriptwriter can tell a story in a sometimes non-sequential manner due to the back and forth nature of video game play, according to the Make Video Games website.
According to PayScale.com, the average salary for the scriptwriter ranges from around £19,500 to £45,500. However, depending upon the medium, the scriptwriter could make more or less than this.