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What Is the Career Description of a Script Writer?

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

A career as a writer can lead to variety of rewarding career paths. If you're interested in writing for film and television, becoming a script writer may be a good fit for you. Script writers are responsible for creating every aspect of a script, including the dialogue, characters and plot. Many script writers specialize in a particular area, such as comedy or action. Some script writers create content for broadcast radio and other performances, such as plays.


Script writers are responsible for creating the idea for a script and conducting research to get information for a movie or television show. For example, they may need to research information about a particular location or occupation to include in the script. They also revise scripts under the direction of producers and directors. Depending on the movie or television show, many script writers work with other writers to develop scripts. After a script's written, script writers may also attend publicity events to promote a new movie or television show.


For salaried positions, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that a college degree in English, journalism or a related field is usually required. Professionals from other fields, such as film production, also become script writers, however. Many professionals take script writing training programs through writing unions, colleges and vocational schools. Employers look for applicants with on-the-job training through internships and jobs with film production companies and television stations.


Key skills to become a script writer include writing and creativity. Script writers must be able to create new story lines and characters that will interest film production companies and television stations. Since many script writers work on projects that may take several years to produce, they must be persistent. Also, they need good communications skills, especially when working on projects involving large groups -- commonly used for films and television shows.

Work Environment

Although most full-time script writing jobs focus on major entertainment areas such as New York and Los Angeles, some professionals work at home by using their computers and telecommuting. Depending on the project, some script writers may have to travel regularly to conduct interviews and research for scripts. Many freelance script writers tend to work at home, with the freedom of creating their own work schedule. All script writers tend to work long hours, especially when on deadline.

2016 Salary Information for Writers and Authors

Writers and authors earned a median annual salary of $61,240 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, writers and authors earned a 25th percentile salary of $43,130, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $83,500, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 131,200 people were employed in the U.S. as writers and authors.