What it is like to be… a screenwriter?

Screenwriters write the scripts for films and television shows.

Roanne Bardsley started working in television on a media apprenticeship. She later became a storyliner on Hollyoaks and ultimately a regular screenwriter for the show. In 2018, she won the prize for Best Single Episode at the British Soap Awards and was part of the team that helped Hollyoaks win a BAFTA for Best Continuing Drama.

Scroll down for more information on skills, working hours and salary.

Roanne Bardsley explains how she took the initiative to make her dream of becoming a writer a reality.

What skills do I need?

Storytelling is the crux of your job, so you'll need excellent written communication. You'll need to write clearly and correctly, be adaptable and be able to take constructive feedback on board. In addition, you'll need:

  • to understand people, human behaviour and psychology so that your scripts are realistic as well as exciting

  • excellent verbal communication

  • the ability to work in a team.

The lowdown

What will I get paid? This depends on your experience - most writers will need to negotiate their own fee.

Where will I work? Most writers will work from home or in an office. You may sometimes need to attend storylining sessions with the rest of the writing team.

What are the working hours like? Most screenwriters are freelance and self-employed. You’ll set your own working hours and will need to meet the deadlines you are set from the production company.

What qualifications do I need? There are no set requirements, however you may find it useful to take a screenwriting course or take on an apprenticeship to gain experience.

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