Guest Author - Dianne Walker
Not an actor, but dream of making it on the big screen? If you are a writer with lots of ideas and thick skin, screenwriting may be the career for you. Screenwriting allows you to have the big screen exposure while working behind the scenes. It can truly be the best of both worlds.
What knowledge, education and skills are required to be a screen writer?
A college education is not required; however, strong story telling skills are necessary. While the degree is not needed or required, it may be advantageous to get a degree in writing or the arts. Many colleges and universities offer degrees in Fine Arts with a concentration in screenwriting. If you choose to take the college route, be sure to take full advantage of all extracurricular activities such as film and writing clubs. If you plan to get into the business right after high school, take advantage of any clubs in your school which will help you gain experience.
Screen writing is a freelance career, not the typical 9 to 5 job. Success, however, is dependent upon the writerís skills. Becoming a successful screenwriter does not happen overnight. It often takes years of trial and error; one of the main reasons it requires not only talent, but a thick skin for rejection.
Is there anything else you can do right now to train or prepare for a career in screenwriting?
Absolutely, the best way to start is to scour the trade journals for an introduction to and stay on top of the field. There are also a number of books available on how to get started. Watch movies and television with a critical eye. Pay attention to story lines and dialogue. Research to determine whatís popular. Remember everyone may not appreciate your quirky sense of humor.
Where is the best place to live if you are interested in a career in screen writing?
While some production does take place in areas such as New York, 70% of the productions take place in Los Angeles.
Do I need an agent?
Agents normally charge a fee of 15-20% in advance. They also receive an average 20% of the royalties. Agents, can be a hassle, but they only get paid if you do.
Is it easy to become a screenwriter?
You may not want to quit your day job just yet. Only about fifty out of a thousand actually make it. However, if you have the desire to flex your creative muscles, by all means give it a try.