Screenwriting career has always been among the most lucrative career paths for a very long time. The only thing is, becoming a screenwriter and earning lots of money from this profession takes time. When you first become a screenwriter, you have to work on many small tasks and projects, and even on several free projects, before you can get a break and start getting more significant projects to let the money start flowing in.
Not only that, to become a successful screenwriter, you have to go through a lot of rejection and a constant struggle to get familiar with the templates and formats of screenwriting. The reason is that screenwriting is different from simple article writing or even copywriting. It involves writing dialogues and following the formatting of how screenplays are written.
We’ll be discussing the things you need to do to be a good screenwriter today. But before that, let’s define what screenwriting is.
What is a Screenwriter?
A screenwriter writes scripts, including dialogues for screenplays that can be performed as a stage play or be aired on digital platforms like television, Netflix, or even YouTube. To become a screenwriter, you need to be familiar with and proficient in knowing how each of the different types of screenplays works.
Screenplays are written for movies, films, television programs, and sometimes even for video games. In the olden days, screenplays were only for a stage performance or a simple television show. Now on television itself, there are many different categories of scripts, such as sitcoms, dramas, reality shows, talk shows, television series, soap operas, animated series, game shows, and more.
Due to this wide variety in the industry, screenwriting careers have also become more high-paying and competitive. Successful screenwriters these days are making millions of dollars a year once they break in and start getting offers from famous producers or clients.
A screenwriting career is the highest level of career in the writing profession or field. Many successful screenwriters begin as simple blog or article writers, skewing their way through their writings to get to the copywriting level and finally start screenwriting. These are the people who have a genuine interest in dramas and movies. They enjoy watching or reading reviews of book stories and films. Due to their passion for this field, they gradually start learning how to become a screenwriter. Eventually, if it is destined for them, they can build a stream of income in this field that’s sustainable enough for them to make it into a full-time profession or business.
7 Things You Need to Do to Become a Screenwriter
Here are seven essential things you need to keep in mind if you want to become a screenwriter.
1. Have a Genuine Interest in the Film and TV Drama Industries
For becoming a screenwriter, you need to have passion and genuine interest in the relevant industry. As mentioned above, it takes time for a screenwriter to get a break in their career. In this situation, you need to have some other motivating factor to keep you going, even when you are making good money out of it. This factor could very well be your passion for screenwriting.
Suppose you are so passionate about movies, films, and television dramas. In that case, you will spend most of your time in the beginning days of your screenwriting career analyzing, reviewing, and observing the popular screenplays written by successful screenwriters and aired on television. This will help build confidence in you. By following the popular screenplays and reading their scripts mindfully, you can start getting into the minds of these successful screenwriters and developing a writing style and tone similar to theirs. But you can only do that if you are genuinely into this line of business.
2. Learn the Fundamentals of Story Structure and Screenwriting
The fundamentals and structure of stories and screenwriting are pretty different and more complicated than blog writing or academic writing. The form of academic writing is usually taught in colleges and universities, but that of screenplays may not be taught in academic institutions. The reason is that a screenwriting career is a relatively new field of profession. Universities might teach you how to become a screenwriter on the surface, but it is not common for educational institutions to have a full-fledged degree course on the subject.
Therefore, successful screenwriters often begin their careers by writing stories for screenplays in their free time, just as a hobby or passion. If they get more time to spend on their hobby, they dwell more on the rules of script structures. If you want to become a screenwriter, you can do the same.
These days there is a lot of free and paid content available to learn this kind of stuff over the internet. There are many YouTube videos teaching and guiding how to become a screenwriter. There are online courses available to help you start a business or profession in the field of screenwriting. There are so many blog articles talking about the same subject as well. Depending on the level of screenwriting you want to begin with, you can curate the most relevant and valuable content for yourself and start getting your hands on the templates of scriptwriting.
You can even get ready-to-use tools or software with built-in formats for writing screenplays. These are particularly useful if you already have scripts and stories in mind to write and want to save time learning how to format your script to become a screenwriter.
3. Build a Portfolio by Writing Sample Stories or Scripts
The truth is that for beginning a profession in any unique field like this, you need to have some free samples available to show to your prospective clients. To start a screenwriting career, you would need to do the same. Build a small portfolio with 5-6 free samples of scripts written by you to show it to any prospects who come along. You might even end up selling your free samples to someone who sees good value in them.
Once you have your portfolio ready, it is time to publish it on the internet so that your prospects can see it. This is your next step to take to become a screenwriter. The best way to do this is to build a portfolio website of your own. That will give you the freedom to edit or update your content in any way you like and at any time you want.
These days, it is common for individuals and organizations to build a website using web-building tools and platforms instead of hiring web developers. If you create a website on Strikingly, you only need to follow the following simple steps before your site is up and running, and your portfolio is accessible to anybody who knows your site’s URL.
Register for a free Strikingly account by signing up on our landing page.
Image taken from Strikingly
Select a suitable and ready-to-use website template from the page you are directed to.
Click on ‘Edit Site’ from your dashboard, and start keying in your website content from the Strikingly editor, using our drag-and-drop feature.
5. Promote Your Portfolio Through Your Website
Now that you have a website of your own, you need to make sure that it is optimized for search engines so that people can discover it quickly. Here are some basic actions you can take to improve your site’s SEO.
Write a good and precise site description on your website.
Use meta tags and relevant keywords in your headings and your web content overall.
Add videos to your web content, as videos have a longer attention span for viewers in most cases, and thus make your website more valuable in the eyes of Google bots.
Make your web pages shareable. Do this by creating social media handles that allow your site visitors to share your content on their social media profiles directly.
Create other content about screenwriting careers and skills to establish yourself as an expert in this field. You can do guest posting on other people’s blogs or even add a blog section to your website. You can also make videos talking about screenwriting and upload them on Youtube.
Do some outreach activities to directly send offers to prospective clients who might want to hire you to write their next screenplay.
These were the few simple steps you need to take if you want to become a screenwriter. There is a struggle involved at the beginning of building a career in any field. At Strikingly, our job is to provide you with maximum support on the technical side for building and maintaining your website successfully, even so, that you can have more time to focus on the operational activities of your profession or your business.