Job type


£18k - £48k

Typical salary

37 – 39

Hours per week

Screenwriters write the stories for feature films, TV programmes and computer games.

More info

  • Write the stories for feature films, TV programmes and computer games
  • Extremely creative and exciting work
  • You could combine writing with other work like teaching, lecturing or editing


  • Come up with themes and ideas
  • Research background material
  • Develop believable plots and characters
  • Lay out the screenplay to an agreed format
  • Prepare short summaries of your ideas
  • Sell your ideas or 'pitch' to producers
  • Get feedback on your work from producers or script editors
  • Rewrite the script before arriving at an agreed version
  • Network with agents and producers
  • Handle your own tax and accounts, if freelance


Most screenwriters are freelance and self-employed. You'll set your own working hours. You'll usually work from home or an office, but will also attend meetings with agents, script editors and producers. If you're part of a studio-based writing team you'll usually work standard office hours at a film studio, at a TV studio or on a film set.

You'll need

This role would be ideal for someone with excellent writing ability, creativity and imagination, storytelling skills and an understanding of dramatic structure, a willingness to accept criticism and rejection of your work, good presentation and networking skills.

There are no set requirements, but you may find it useful to take a course to develop your skills and understand dramatic structure. College courses are available in creative writing and scriptwriting. These are also often available as short courses in adult education centres and at some universities.

You could also do a degree or postgraduate qualification in creative writing, English or journalism, but this is not essential or you could take short courses in screenwriting run by film schools, regional screen agencies and private training providers.

If you want to get directly into this job, you may have an advantage if you have writing and storytelling experience from another field like journalism, advertising copywriting or acting.

You'll normally start by coming up with your own screenplays and ideas, and trying to sell them to agents and producers. Once you've had some work accepted and started to build a professional reputation, producers might then commission you to produce scripts for them.

As a new writer, you could get yourself noticed by entering screenwriting competitions. These competitions are run by broadcasters and regional screen agencies to discover new talent.

You can also find advice about submitting your work to the BBC at BBC Writers Room.


Your career will depend on how successful you are, and how popular your work is. You could combine writing with other work like teaching, lecturing or editing.