Job Description:

Screenwriters write the stories or scripts for TV, films, and computer games.

Job Category:
Culture, Media & Sport

What you will do:

Your day-to-day activities may include:

  • coming up with themes and ideas
  • researching background material
  • developing believable plots and characters
  • laying out the screenplay to an agreed format
  • preparing short summaries of your ideas
  • selling your ideas or ‘pitching’ to producers
  • getting feedback on your work from producers or script editors
  • rewriting the script before arriving at an agreed version
  • networking with agents and producers
  • handling your own tax and accounts, if freelance (organisational skills)


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of English language
  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • excellent written communication skills
  • persistence and determination
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to use your initiative (drive)
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things (creativity)
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a screenwriter, you don’t necessarily need specific GCSE subjects, but a strong foundation in certain subjects and skills can be beneficial for your future career in screenwriting. Here are some GCSE subjects and skills that can help you as a screenwriter:

  1. English Language: Strong writing skills are essential for screenwriters. You need to be able to create compelling dialogue and narrative.
  2. English Literature: A background in literature can provide a deep understanding of storytelling techniques, character development, and themes in literature, which are valuable for screenwriting.
  3. Drama or Theater Studies: Understanding dramatic structure, character development, and stagecraft can be beneficial for scriptwriting, especially if you’re interested in writing for theater or live performance.
  4. Media Studies: This subject can provide insights into visual storytelling, cinematography, and the elements of film and television production.
  5. Creative Writing: If offered, a creative writing course can be valuable for developing your writing skills and style.
  6. Film Studies: While not always available at the GCSE level, film studies can provide insights into film history, genre, and cinematic techniques.
  7. History or Sociology: A strong background in history and sociology can help you understand the cultural and social contexts that can influence your writing.
  8. Art and Design: Some screenwriters benefit from having a visual sense, which can be honed through art and design courses.
  9. Critical Thinking: The ability to analyze and think critically about various subjects can enhance your storytelling and scriptwriting skills.

Post School

After completing your GCSEs, you can further develop your skills and knowledge by pursuing relevant education and training. Here are some steps to consider:

  1. Further Education: Consider enrolling in a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program in screenwriting, creative writing, or a related field. Many universities and film schools offer programs specifically focused on screenwriting.
  2. Practice Writing: The most critical aspect of becoming a screenwriter is writing. Write scripts, screenplays, and other forms of storytelling to build your portfolio.
  3. Read Scripts: Study scripts from movies and TV shows to understand formatting, structure, and the techniques used by professional screenwriters.
  4. Networking: Build relationships within the entertainment industry by attending film festivals, workshops, and screenwriting events. Networking can help you get your scripts noticed.
  5. Script Coverage: Consider getting feedback on your scripts from script consultants or peers to improve your writing.
  6. Industry Knowledge: Stay updated on the film and television industry, trends, and market demands.
    Remember that screenwriting is a highly competitive field, and success often depends on your talent, dedication, and perseverance. Writing consistently and seeking feedback are crucial steps toward becoming a successful screenwriter.

Screenwriting competitions are a good way to get noticed by broadcasters and regional screen agencies. In the UK, you could also submit your work to the BBC Writers Room.

Working Hours and Environment:

Most screenwriters are freelance and self-employed. You’ll set your own working hours.

You’ll usually work from home or an office, but will also attend meetings with agents, script editors and producers.

If you’re part of a studio-based writing team you’ll usually work standard office hours.

Career Path & Progression:

Your career will depend on how successful you are, and how popular your work is.

You could combine writing with other work like teaching, lecturing or editing.