Most of the time, people think of screenwriting jobs as highly paid contracts for creating screenplays to be used in film features. Actually the world of screenwriting is a much broader arena and apart from creating movie scripts, there are other screenwriting jobs. Though some are not as lucrative as writing for the movies, these jobs are nevertheless rewarding because creativity and artistry are their basic ingredients.
Free Lance Scriptwriting
The most stereotyped of all screenwriting jobs is freelance scriptwriting. The screenwriter is not an employee and makes a living through contracts or through the sales of his work. Most screenwriters who have come up with some good scripts will be able to get an agent to represent them and help them sell their piece. The usual route that new freelances screenwriter make is they write a script which no one hires them to do simply on the off chance that they will be able to sell it. This script is called a spec script and it sometimes takes years of hard work, persistence and true grit before screenwriters are able to sell their first; many keep another job to pay the bills. Some freelancers also start as ghost writers, creating works that other writers get the credit for until they themselves can break into the scene.
Editing or Script Doctoring
Script editing or work as a script doctor is one of the jobs available in the screenplay field. A script doctor revises scripts to meet the requirements or preferences of the studio that will produce the work. This can be a very well paid job and many writers actually stay in this as a career for the satisfaction of seeing a screenplay polished to the best it can be. Some script doctors put up consultancies and work as mainstays for studios. A script doctor rarely, if ever, does a total rewrite. Needless to say, before being accepted in this circle, a person would have to have gained the respect of his or her peers so it is not a field that beginners can easily enter.
Video Game Writing
The past three decades have seen the rise of a new branch of screenwriting: video game writing. These writers will usually work with a game developer who will take care of the technical and programming needs of the game.
Screenwriting for Commercials
The one-minute spots seen on TV combine the work of an advertising artist with screenwriting. Most commercials are prepared for shooting with a screenplay written in screenwriting format although they will not have the usual number of acts and scenes.
Scriptwriting for Documentaries
A field all its own, writing documentaries has unique challenges not present in fiction writing. The accuracy of data and the appropriateness of the style in which facts are presented are important considerations in documentaries. The screenwriter for documentaries chooses the best scenes that will develop the documentary’s plot. He or she then writes everything including the dialogue in screenwriting format, indicating which shots are to be used and putting their description in the scene headings.
Finding Jobs in the Field
Freelance writers often find an agent to represent them so strictly speaking, they create their own jobs. Most professional screenwriters join a union; in this case the union represents them in case they have conflicts in the way they or their work is treated.
Some begin their search while they study – by relentlessly looking up contacts they make while in school. This is one of the reasons why scriptwriting school is not to be dismissed as useless. Most writers find their jobs in the usual way – they go online and register in job search engines or they go to web pages that have job listings. Writers who use this path to obtain work often have to settle for short, one-time-only gigs until they find something more permanent or they sell their first script. Whichever way writers choose to go in their careers, each gig, each piece written can be a stepping stone towards reaching the very pinnacle of their dreams.