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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Discussion of...    Things you are looking for  ›  Some Questions About Script Writing As A Career
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JodyM
Posted: February 28th, 2021, 6:13am Report to Moderator
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I'm venturing into the field of script writing, and I just had some questions, if anybody would mind answering them. I actually have a writing degree, but script writing is something I never learned, so there's a lot I DON'T know about this particular field!

First of all, how is the pay, as a general rule? Is script writing something you can usually make a decent living off of, or do you usually need to supplement your income? How good are your chances of getting hired by a studio, or are most script writers freelancers? And as far as living in Los Angeles goes -- I know something about how expensive it is to live out there -- how do people manage to make a living there while working as a script writer? I WOULD like to live in LA someday, but I also want to make sure that I can actually make a living from script writing before I attempt it!

Is script writing and screen writing the same thing, or is there a difference between the two?

I have some experience with writing novels. Is that an advantage when you're learning screen writing, or can that actually be a disadvantage if you have to learn a totally different way of writing and thinking, when you're putting words down in print?

Does being a script writer bring you into contact with all kinds of interesting people in Hollywood if you're good enough at it, or are you fairly isolated in this particular career field?

I'm particularly interested in writing scripts for family sitcoms and family dramas. Is there a market for these kind of shows?

If anybody can answer some of these questions for me, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks!
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AnthonyCawood
Posted: February 28th, 2021, 10:32am Report to Moderator
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Hey Jody and welcome to the family.

SS is largely populated by aspiring screenwriters, though a fair few have short scripts made and a couple of people have had features made too.

But the majority on here do not make a living from screenwriting or work within Hollywood, it is an incredibly difficult field to get into as there is a lot of competition and not a lot of movies made, same with TV.

Moving to LA used to be advised as a way of breaking in, get a non writing gig at a studio or agency etc and network your way higher up the food chain. Not sure if that's good advice right now due to pandemic.

Scriptwriting, screenwriting are largely interchangeable terms.

Novel writing, it will be something of an advantage as you have experience committing to a long term piece of fictional writing. But you will definitely need to pare back your writing... just take a look at some scripts to see what I mean, all the descriptive language in a novel is largely missing from a screenplay.

Netflix and Amazon Prime give you a good idea of what's selling and getting produced right now, family sitcoms probably more popular at the mo but if you're script is good enough, and you can get it in front on the right people then any genre has a chance.

There's plenty of links and resources on here that should help.

Best


Anthony Cawood - Award winning screenwriter
Available Short screenplays - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/short-scripts
Available Feature screenplays - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/feature-film-scripts/
Screenwriting articles - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/articles
IMDB Link - http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6495672/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
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eldave1
Posted: February 28th, 2021, 10:14pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted Text
First of all, how is the pay, as a general rule? Is script writing something you can usually make a decent living off of, or do you usually need to supplement your income?


No, not generally. You need to supplement your income. Think wannabe actors - most have jobs to pay the rent as they pursue their dream. This is the same.


Quoted Text
How good are your chances of getting hired by a studio, or are most script writers freelancers?


Your chances are slim.


Quoted Text
And as far as living in Los Angeles goes -- I know something about how expensive it is to live out there -- how do people manage to make a living there while working as a script writer? I WOULD like to live in LA someday, but I also want to make sure that I can actually make a living from script writing before I attempt it!


Most don't. They do something else for a living and write in their spare time.


Quoted Text
Is script writing and screen writing the same thing, or is there a difference between the two?


Same.


Quoted Text
I have some experience with writing novels. Is that an advantage when you're learning screen writing, or can that actually be a disadvantage if you have to learn a totally different way of writing and thinking, when you're putting words down in print?


If you write good stories - regardless of format - that is an advantage. If you write bad stories, it is not.

In terms of format, it is relatively easy to learn - but assume that you need about a year of research, study and practice to learn the medium.


Quoted Text
Does being a script writer bring you into contact with all kinds of interesting people in Hollywood if you're good enough at it, or are you fairly isolated in this particular career field?


No - it does not bring you into contact with those people.


Quoted Text
I'm particularly interested in writing scripts for family sitcoms and family dramas. Is there a market for these kind of shows?


Yes.




My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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LC
Posted: February 28th, 2021, 10:44pm Report to Moderator
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Dave. Calling a spade a spade.

Jody, I'll just add - don't give up your dream.
Work hard at learning the trade, network by putting your scripts up on sites like SS, enter into Comps, collaborate with filmmakers (unless you want to also film) and write, write, write. And you might be one of the lucky few.

Most of us write regardless, cause it's  in our blood.


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eldave1
Posted: March 1st, 2021, 12:41pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from LC
Dave. Calling a spade a spade.

Jody, I'll just add - don't give up your dream.
Work hard at learning the trade, network by putting your scripts up on sites like SS, enter into Comps, collaborate with filmmakers (unless you want to also film) and write, write, write. And you might be one of the lucky few.

Most of us write regardless, cause it's  in our blood.


That is a good add Libby!

Jody - I would add you can start now if you desire without changing jobs or moving - start with the small stuff - e.g., buy a couple of screenwriting books, read some scripts. learn format - stc. These are things you can do in your spare time


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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JEStaats
Posted: March 5th, 2021, 11:05am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from LC
Dave. Calling a spade a spade.

Most of us write regardless, cause it's  in our blood.


Dave - Spot on.

LC - YES! Jody: You're a writer, so write! You would laugh if you knew my profession and history. I write because I have stories in my head and it feels wonderful to just get them on 'paper'. I've dreams of seeing one on the big screen some day but not of ever making a living at it. But YOU can. Just make sure you can pay the bills until that day comes.
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AnthonyCawood
Posted: March 5th, 2021, 12:21pm Report to Moderator
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Okay John, now I'm intrigued... what is your profession?


Anthony Cawood - Award winning screenwriter
Available Short screenplays - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/short-scripts
Available Feature screenplays - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/feature-film-scripts/
Screenwriting articles - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/articles
IMDB Link - http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6495672/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
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