SCREENWRITER SALARY: WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT

The answer to another question frequently asked by neophyte TV and screenwriters. Yes, there’s a bit of the dreaded overthink here, but what better way to be informed than to learn even more than you expected?

from Script Reader Pro

The goal of any aspiring screenwriter is to get paid for, well, writing. But what exactly does it take to be compensated for your work? What do you do once you’re offered money for a script? Is there even such a thing as a “screenwriter salary” in the first place?

The answer to these queries—as with most things in the entertainment world—can be rather complicated, but this post aims to shed some light on all these screenwriting money matters and more.

In this article you will learn:

  • Whether there’s such a thing as a screenwriter salary
  • All about your screenwriter salary as a non-WGA member
  • All about your screenwriter salary as a WGA member
  • What happens after a sale
  • If it’s ever okay to write for free
  • When you can quit your day job to just focus on writing

Without further delay, let’s dive on in.

Is there such a thing as a screenwriter salary?

 

We’ll be using terms like “screenwriter salary” and “TV writer salary” throughout this post but, in all honesty, they’re rather nebulous. The truth is, there’s no such thing as a fixed screenwriter salary—the kind you might expect to find in a more traditional industry such as, say, the medical or hospitality industry.

This is because rather than the fixed yearly salaries workers receive in traditional industries, screenwriters are paid on a freelance, ad-hoc basiscommon to most creative industries.

Whether a screenwriter has zero credits or a hundred, they’re essentially in the same position: looking for the next paycheck. Granted, established screenwriters—whether they be A-list writers, such as Christopher Nolan, or successful independent writers, like Mike White—have a distinct advantage in the form of a track record….

Read it all at ScriptReaderPro.Com

Today is the last Day to get the PEOPLE’S PILOT 2018 Early Bird Discount!

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Like the headline says, Today, August 1st, 2018, is the last day for you to enter the World’s Most Beloved Interweb Writing Contest since the last World’s Most Beloved Interweb Writing Contest for 30% off the regular entry fee.

That’s write, e-media pilot-writing fans, this is your last shot of the season to enter at only 35 bucks a shot instead of $50. (Which isn’t all that much either – lunch in L.A. can easily cost that much for one hungry gourmand, but money is money, yeah?)

For those who’ve been in hiding, here are some PEOPLE’S PILOT highlights:

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PEOPLE’S PILOT’s official closing date is November 1st. Learn about that and more at our landing page, HERE

Have we told you lately that we love you? Well, PEOPLE’S PILOT 2018 is telling you now!

Is This THE Most Common Rookie TV Writing Mistake?

Although TV and film comedy writer-producer/playwright/baseball announcer extraordinaire Ken Levine’s funny and perceptive blog posts often show up in TVWriter™’s Writing & Showbiz NewsFeed, we haven’t featured him on this site for awhile.

But this one is just too, too, too right on important to let slip by:

A Common Rookie Writing Mistake
by Ken Levine

EXT. HOUSE — DAY

TWO DETECTIVES APPROACH A HOUSE. THEY RING THE BELL. THEY WAIT A MOMENT UNTIL A WOMAN ANSWERS.

WOMAN: Yes?

DETECTIVE 1: Are you Mrs. Hanson?

WOMAN: Yes. What’s this about?

DETECTIVE 1: I’m Detective Green. This is Detective Brown. We’re from the LAPD.

WOMAN: Oh.  Really?

DETECTIVE 1: Yes, ma’am.

WOMAN: Well… can I see some ID?

DETECTIVE 2: Yes, ma’am.

They both root around their pockets and pull out ID. She scans it.

WOMAN: Okay… I suppose.

DETECTIVE 2: You have a daughter named Mindy?

WOMAN: Yes.

DETECTIVE 1: Is she home?

WOMAN: No. What is this about?

DETECTIVE 2: You’re aware that a student was killed Wednesday night at the Westfield Mall?

WOMAN: Yes, it was horrible.

DETECTIVE 1: A tragedy, yes’ ma’am.

WOMAN: But what does Mindy have to do with it?

DETECTIVE 2: We think she might have a notebook that the victim gave her that might shed some light on just who did this.

WOMAN: Oh my.

DETECTIVE 1: Do you mind if we come in and take a look?

WOMAN: Now?

DETECTIVE 2: Yes, ma’am.

WOMAN:  Well, Mindy’s not home.

DETECTIVE 1:  That’s okay. Can we come in?

WOMAN: I don’t know.  Do you have a warrant?

DETECTIVE 1: No, but your daughter is not a suspect. This is just a piece of evidence that might help us solve the puzzle.

WOMAN: Still… I… Maybe I should call my lawyer.

DETECTIVE 2: Seriously, we just want to see if this notebook exists.

WOMAN: Let me call Mindy.

DETECTIVE 2: Fine.

THE WOMAN GOES BACK IN THE HOUSE. THERE’S A MOMENT AND FINALLY SHE RETURNS WITH HER CELLPHONE. SHE PUNCHES IN THE NUMBER. SEVERAL BEATS, THEN:

WOMAN: Mindy, this is Mom. There are two detectives here wanting to go through your room to see if you have a notebook belonging to that boy who was killed at the mall? (long beat, to Detectives) She says she doesn’t have it.

DETECTIVE 1: We just want to take a look.

DETECTIVE 2: Is there anything she’s hiding that she doesn’t want us to see?

WOMAN: (on phone) Mindy, they said is there anything you’re hiding that you don’t want them to see? (beat, to Detectives) No.

DETECTIVE 2: Then can we just look around?

WOMAN: (on phone) Then can they just look around? (long beat, to Detectives) Okay.

DETECTIVE 2: Thank you.

WOMAN: (on phone) Okay, Mindy. I’ll tell you what happened. Bye. (hangs up).

DETECTIVE 1: So can we come in?

WOMAN: Oh, yes. Please.

DETECTIVE 2: Thank you.

WOMAN: Can I get you something to drink?

DETECTIVE 1: No, we’re fine.

THE WOMAN HOLDS THE DOOR OPEN AND THE DETECTIVES ENTER.

Okay, now let me suggest an alternate scene. Instead of the above scenario, you just go straight to this:

EXT. TEENAGE GIRL’S ROOM – DAY

A WOMAN USHERS TWO DETECTIVES INTO THE ROOM.

WOMAN: Okay, this is Mindy’s room, Detectives. But she said you’re not going to find any notebook.

I think you can see what I’m getting at. There’s a rule of writing: Get into scenes as late as you can and get out of them as early as you can.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read scripts from young writers that have versions (usually longer) of the first scene. Let’s be blunt. It’s boring. Nothing happens. People just talk. Often in circles.  Or they wait. Or….

Read it all on Ken Levine’s peerless blog

TV Writing Goes to College

We admit it. The headlinel on this post may be a bit misleading. Television writing has, after all, been a major area of study for more than at least a couple of decades now (our own LB taught it at The College Formerly Named The College of Santa Fe in Santa Fe, New Mexico in the early 1990s), but this article coming from a web page dedicated to  college student work, is perhaps the most knowledgeable one – and certainly the hippest – to come from a student yet:

Florida State University, where at the time this article was written, its writer was spending a whole lotta time

3 Television Shows Every Aspiring Writer Should Watch
by Eliana Dubosar

For writers, inspiration can come from any and every facet of life, including their surroundings, the people they interact with on a daily basis and sources of entertainment.

Although there are many movies that follow the lives of individuals trying to make it in the journalistic or publishing world, many of them tend to paint a perfect picture, tying up conclusions in a bow. Something that I learned in an introduction to creative writing course is that this is not always the case, and sometimes it’s perfectly fine to leave some questions unanswered.

For that reason, certain television shows tend to provide a better source of inspiration for aspiring writers, not only through their storylines, but also through the ways in which the shows are written. So, writers, grab a notebook and a pen and see what you can learn from these television shows.

 1. “Jane the Virgin”

Written in a manner similar to a telenovela (or a Spanish-language soap opera), much of what makes “Jane the Virgin” a resource for writers comes from its unique structure.

The way in which the narration is written, and spoken, presents the audience with even more information to keep them hooked on the show. Although the actual way in which the show is written is important, Jane as a character is where many aspiring writers can pull lessons from.

While much of the series thus far has dealt with Jane’s love life — mainly her relationships with Michael, Rafael and now Adam — it is her journey to become a novelist that is something many can learn from.

In the earlier seasons of the show, Jane worked hard to create her master’s thesis, working with two separate advisors and taking all their notes into consideration when making revisions. One of Jane’s largest challenges with this was the fact that her thesis was a romance novel and the advisor she worked with was a feminist professor that didn’t necessarily believe in romance.

As a result, Jane learned how to work with someone who may not have shared her ideals, while sticking to her guns the whole way through, which is something many writers can learn from.

In the most recent season of “Jane the Virgin,” which takes place years after the death of Jane’s husband, Michael, Jane’s novel gets published. The novel, “Snow Falling,” is a piece in which the setting is in the early 1900s but is a loose retelling of Jane’s time with Michael.

After countless back-and-forth’s with her editor, something all writers are bound to go through before seeing their work take shape, Jane’s dream of becoming a published writer turns into a reality. Once again, the show reminds viewers to never give up, constantly pursue their creative vision and follow through with their projects….

Read it all at studybreaks.com

LB: Untold Tales of the Animated SILVER SURFER TV Series Ep. 21

by Larry Brody

Over the past several weeks I’ve posted the scripts for Season 2 Episodes 1 through 7 of the FoxKids Network The Silver Surfer animated series I ran back in 1998 for those who wondered what all of us involved in the show had prepared for the world to see – if we hadn’t been cancelled.

Today it’s the turn of Season 2 Episode 8, Down to Earth: Part Three.  This one never got beyond “First Draft,” status because FoxKids and Saban had all but pulled the plug. They weren’t about to pay for any further development of the show and all of us were being moved to other projects or sent home.

This draft is dated May 29, 1998 and is the last work of any kind ever done for the series. The day I emailed this one to the company was a very unhappy one for me. Here’s hoping that the day you read The Silver Surfer, Down to Earth: Part Three is a much more joyful one for you.

Or, as Stan Lee said when I told him we were finished: “Lo, there has come an ending!”

Or something like that.

Here’s Episode 21: DOWN TO EARTH: PART THREE

PREVIOUS SEASON TWO EPISODES:

THE END OF ETERNITY: PART TWO

SOUL HUNTER: PART ONE

SOUL HUNTER: PART TWO

REBIRTH

THE HUNGER

DOWN TO EARTH: PART ONE

DOWN TO EARTH: PART TWO


NOTE: If you’re new to TVWriter™ and/or to the original animated SS series, you have some backstory to catch up on. Fortunately, TVWriter™ just happens to have a section dedicated to The Silver Surfer. To reach it, CLICK HERE!

And now it’s time for:

THE SILVER SURFER

DOWN TO EARTH: PART THREE

(Formerly: “The Cosmic Way”)

(#2147-21)

WRITTEN BY

LARRY BRODY

FIRST DRAFT
MAY 29, 1998

TEASER

FADE IN:

EXT. SPACE OVER THE PLANET EARTH – (BEGIN RECAP – ALL NEW
ANIMATION OF SEQUENCES IN EPISODES 2147-19 AND 2147-20.)

THE WATCHER (V.O.)
Behold the planet known as Earth!
Here, on this otherwise
insignificant world, a cosmic
drama continues to unfold…

As THE WATCHER speaks, we SEE the SILVER SURFER and NOVA
reach the planet.

THE WATCHER (V.O.)
(continuing)
The players taking their cues from
the Silver Surfer and his
companion Nova, who came to Earth
seeking rest…

EXT. EARTH – HIGH IN THE SKY – NIGHT

The FANTASTIC FOUR fly in to attack Nova and Surfer!

THE WATCHER (V.O.)
But found only conflict. First
were they attacked by the cosmic-
powered “Fantastic Four”…

EXT. LOS ANGELES – MELROSE AVENUE – NIGHT

While the Surfer and Nova are interviewed before a crowd by
SIDNEY YOUNG, the police arrive and a riot begins!

THE WATCHER (V.O.)
And then were they misunderstood
by the authorities as well…

ANOTHER ANGLE

The Surfer uses his power cosmic to create an ENERGY BUBBLE
that separates the factions, and a HEALING BEAM to heal those
who have fallen.

THE WATCHER (V.O.)
Some on the planet saw the Silver
Surfer as a savior…

The crowd — and some police as well — CALLS OUT its praise!

BRODY SILVER SURFER 2147-21 FIRST DRAFT 05/29/98
2.

EXT. NEW YORK CITY – UNITED NATIONS BUILDING – DAY

The Surfer addresses the crowd here, with Young nearby.

THE WATCHER (V.O.)
A role he assumed wholeheartedly,
hoping he could be the leader to
rescue Earth from itself…

Suddenly, the Enervator fires a BLACK BEAM, hitting the
Surfer and knocking him off his board.

THE WATCHER (V.O.)
(continuing)
But when the Fantastic Four
refused to act against the Silver
Surfer this time, secret weaponry
was unleashed…

EXT. MONUMENT VALLEY – DAY

As TERRAX appears.

THE WATCHER (V.O.)
And while the Silver Surfer lay
neutralized, Terrax, new herald of
dread Galactus, arrived, seeking
redress.

READ THE ENTIRE SCRIPT HERE