Danielle T
What is this role? What part does this role play in the film production process?
A screenwriter is someone with the brilliantly imaginative mind that creates scripts for TV shows, movies or video games.
A screenwriter’s job is considered a freelance profession because no education is required and aren’t hired employees. They are asked to write a script or hand out scripts of their own and if it’s picked up, then they get paid.

Professional screenwriters are those accompanied by a talent agency while amateur screenwriters are considered ‘in training’ and will sometimes write for free because they love writing and want to improve for the future.

What is required of the role for each stage of the film production process (pre-production, production, post-production)?
A screenwriter’s job is usually one of the first in the film production process. Before they can make the movie happen they need the idea to be written into a script form ready for everyone else to see, interpret and make happen.

A screenwriter’s job is only really needed in pre-production when they need a script to work with to hire actors and get costumes, props etc ready. A screenwriter’s role is to create a script that sounds believable and can get people interested in the film.
Some screenwriters can become producers and even directors if they want to have their script go in the right way, but that only works if you’re a big name or if your scripts are actually good. Many scripts have been picked up but put on hiatus because the publicity and interest fades so it becomes pointless to waste money on an uninterested film.

What other roles collaborate with your role? How do they? List at least 3.

  • Director: A screenwriter’s first critic is the director. The director will read it and interpret the script to put into movie form but the screenwriter could be by his side assisting with ideas for the production and help the Director make decisions because they both have the imagination and idea for the movie.
  • Storyboard Team: Once the script is approved the screenwriter would be with the people who create the storyboards. The screenwriter would help with space and timing and help out to fit the script into a storyboard form and make sure everything fits.
  • Producers: Some screenwriters will become, or help with, the producing of the film. They would help out and give their opinion when needed as assure the film works and looks amazing.

What training is required to take this role?
No formal training is required for a screenwriter, just an imagination, but there are a number of courses you can take to broaden your ideas and skills. For example, RMIT offers a course for writers to expand their mind and develop their skills in the whole range screenwriting can offer. They promise that they can place you into a career once you finish the course and it runs for two years full-time. Most screenwriting courses are at a TAFE level but some universities offer it at a university level and you can even score a diploma. Screenwriting courses are also offered at Deakin and most recently Swinburne who have just introduced the course.

What equipment is required for this role?
The most important equipment for a screenwriter in the modern world is a computer or laptop, a printer and a fax machine. Some writers may prefer paper and pens but everything they’d write would need to be converted to a computer so it’s presentable and easy to read and understand. I’m sure coffee has a huge help as well on those late nights.

Are there any famous names associated with your role? Who? What have they worked on?
James Cameron has been very lucky in the business being a screenwriter, director and editor. He has been most famous for his screenwriting work with Titanic and Avatar. He was also apart of the making of Aliens and the Terminator. James Cameron had also been an influence in underwater filming and has been nominated and awarded with a lot of Academy Awards. In 2010 he earned 257 million dollars which goes to show if you’re good at writing, you can get rich very quickly.
Describe any changes or issues in this role due to developments in technology and the media industry.
Back when computers weren’t invented writers would have used pen and paper or a typewriter. These would cause issues if you misplaced a page, didn’t number them or lost it all in a gust of wind if you were out at the park looking for inspiration. With the inventions of technology and computers, screenwriting would have become a much easier job to handle because you wouldn’t loose the work unless you were to get a virus or Trojan or are very forgetful. With this technology, USB’s were created which means writers could just put their work onto a USB and hand it to a director or even send it through e-mail. The modern world has definitely improved the screenwriting business and made it a quicker process for those film productions that need it.


An example taken from Avatar by James Cameron:

Josh/Avatar opens his eyes, and looks around with amazed
awareness. He blinks, the strange hues of the alien
vision flooding his brain.

He moves awkwardly, sitting up. He takes a deep breath
and smells the air. His nostrils flare with the flood of
new alien smells.

He looks at his hand, staring at it, working the fingers.
He looks down and stares at his body, then touches it with
one hand. Feels the skin. Smooth. Warm.

A tech tells him over the PA to check his motor control.
Try to touch his fingertips together. He does, missing
like a drunk at a sobriety checkpoint. He tries again,
face screwed up in concentration. His fingertips touch
clumsily, shaking slightly.

Can he see, the voice asks. He nods yes. Breathing okay?
Yes. Speech check. Try to talk.

Josh/Avatar's throat works, and an inarticulate croak
emerges. He tries again, and it sounds like a baby trying
to imitate speech. The tech tells him to try crawling.

He rolls to his stomach. Pushing up with his arms, he
gets his knees under him. He is unsteady as a newborn
antelope, his arms and body shaking as muscles clench and
nerves fire spasmodically. He crawls clumsily, like a
baby, to a plastic chair nearby. Josh/Avatar gets one
hand on the chair and tries to pull himself up. After a
lot of effort, he is almost standing... hunched over like
an ancient man.

Finally, he is standing on shaking legs. He lets go of
the chair. Swaying, he stands free. He grins, baring
slightly pointy teeth.

Then falls right on his ass.
Hearing laughter, he looks up.

A statuesque female avatar walks up, standing over him.
The first female he has seen. She is magnificent, with
powerful panther thighs, a flat muscular stomach and small
but firm athlete's breasts. She is wearing shorts and a
T-shirt, and in human years would be about 25. Her face
looks somewhat familiar... Josh manages to croak out his
first sentence.

Whooo... are... yu-you?

Who do you think, dumbshit? How
quickly they forget.

The voice is very recognizable. It is Grace. Now that we
know, we see her face in the alien features. She grins at
him, and cocks one hip.

Ain't I a babe?


Useful site:
Includes how to write a screenplay