Screenwriter

"I get to see my dream worlds translated onto the screen. I am a freelancer and I use my talents in storytelling and imagination to write spec scripts intended for film or television, and present these scripts to production companies for development and, ideally, production. Through hard work and perseverance, I make myself known in the film and TV industry and get hired for more work. I have an agent or manager who helps find me jobs and defends, supports and promotes my interests."

Salary Range:

Will depend on numerous factors

The Tip

You need to be both committed and flexible to persevere. Screenwriting is hard work and you need to always be selling your ideas.

Priority Knowledge & Skills
Advanced Research & Analysis Skills
  • Formulating research questions

  • Ability to critically analyze literature

  • Ability to develop and execute qualitative research

  • Ability to synthesize key themes from multiple sources

 

Contextual Knowledge
  • Knowledge of human behaviour

  • Understanding of context and values of audiences

  • Essential understanding of topics and themes as they relate to an audience

 

Advanced Communication Skills
  • Formulate and defend positions

  • Sensitivity to how communications is shaped by circumstances, authorship and intended audience

  • Formulate and defend positions

  • Apply written vocabulary to audience

Evidence-based Storytelling Skills
  • Ability to use research to develop an evidence-based story

  • Ability to generate story ideas

  • Ability to identify target audiences

  • Ability to create compelling narratives across media

 

Additional Skills
  • Excel at core communication, interpersonal and organizational skills

  • Excel at intentional curiosity and thoughtful creativity

  • Fundamental business acumen

  • Contextual knowledge of film and TV

  • Marketing expertise

Building Block Experiences
Education & Learning:
  • Bachelor of Arts (English) with a minor in film studies

  • Completed an online screenwriting course in my spare time

  • Read the classic Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder

  • Watch and analyze scripted movies and television across genres

 

"The medium still is the message. I love that film as a medium is constantly changing. One of professors took me under their wing and found volunteer and employment opportunities in the film community."

Employment Experiences:
  • I was hired as an usher at my local movie theatre

  • Worked for two summers at local film festival

  • Summer camp counsellor at a film studies camp

  • Hired as a communications coordinator for folk festival

  • Started a film review blog, which ended up acquiring minor recognition and revenue

  • Blog turned into a vlog after partnering with university film graduates for five years

  • Turned into video movie review web-series, which I scripted myself

  • Commissioned to write on web mini-series five years after graduation

  • Hired o write on a major TV series. Promoted to associate producer after a season. A few seasons later I was promoted again to producer.

 

"My passion for storytelling and film started as a part time job as an usher in high school. I started a blog to review the movies I saw while on the job, and it slowly grew as more people started reading it. After volunteering for a little while, I was hired at a local film festival for two years, and used this to become a camp counsellor in film studies near the end of university. When I graduated, I teamed up with a couple friends who majored in film studies and turned the blog into a vlog. It eventually became a movie review web-series, generating $3,000 a month, but I never stopped writing my own scripts. Five years after graduation I was hired to write for a mini-series that ran for one season and received good reviews by critics. That success led to a job in the writing room for a major series in L.A. My work there earned me a nomination for a Writers Guild of America (WGA) Award."

Community Experiences:
  • Volunteer on board of local film festival

  • Film critic at school newspaper

 

"My volunteer gig was what got me my job at the film festival, which cemented my love for the art of film and television."

Contextual Experiences:
  • I moved to L.A. to work on a TV show

 

"I was reluctant to leave home to take on this amazing opportunity, but in the end I decided that my passion was more important than my comfort. And it was worth it."

Relationships:
  • Belong to a creative group of friends interested in film, music, writing, design and art

 

"My friends, colleagues and neighbours are endless sources of inspiration, knowledge, stories and creative exploration."