Scriptwriters create scripts for TV and radio programmes. Their work may involve generating original ideas, researching background material and pitching ideas to producers.
While no formal training is required to work in scriptwriter jobs, many scriptwriters have bachelors degrees and postgraduate qualifications in writing, English or journalism. Prospective scriptwriters lacking formal qualifications may wish to attend industry respected scriptwriting courses and join scriptwriting organisations to enhance their career prospects. In addition to excellent writing skills, scriptwriters require creativity and imagination, self-discipline and motivation, a willingness to accept criticism, an organised approach to work, and good networking skills.
Competition for entry into scriptwriting jobs is fierce. Employers include public service broadcasting corporations and independent TV and radio production companies. Around half of all scriptwriters are self-employed, with many choosing to work from the comfort of their own homes or offices. Employment opportunities for scriptwriters may be advertised in a range of ways. While acquiring work through industry contacts is commonplace, recruitment agencies may occasionally be able to offer vacancies in this line of work.
Average salaries for scriptwriters range from around £19,000 to £45,000 a year. Freelance scriptwriters, who are free to negotiate their own fees, may earn more than this.