Whether it’s the last words that Jack utters to Rose in Titanic, the cringe-worthy messages we find inside Valentine’s Day cards, or the catchphrases we hear spouting from the mouth of a certain meerkat from that price comparison website, we engage with the work of professional writers every single day of our lives.
Writers are not just penniless, tortured, romantic souls that flounce around in loose shirts and hide away in woodland cabins, writing novels, poetry and film scripts that nobody will ever read. They play an incredibly important role in society. Without them, the modern world would certainly be a much duller place.
Creative writing permeates so many facets of our lives and is crucial to so many industries, such as film, television, theatre, music and marketing. Furthermore, without these guys, the fiction shelves of every bookstore in the world would be empty. You may not know it, but even Barack Obama’s speeches require the magic touch of a professional writer.
When we think about our favourite parts of films, it is the work of the scriptwriter that we remember. Films are usually always defined by their words rather than the images we see. Without scriptwriters, we wouldn’t have all these delightful phrases in common parlance: “You talking to me?”, ‘”Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn” and “The truth? You can’t handle the truth!” They weren’t made up on the spot by the actors!
What do I need to get into a scriptwriting career?
When it comes to getting into this industry, demonstrating your writing ability is everything. You can study specific courses to learn the trade and hone your skills, but the best thing to do is to just get typing. As with anything, the more you do it, the more you improve. If you’re looking to become a writer of some sort and don’t have any pieces to show for it, you’re in trouble. A portfolio is essential for getting your foot in the door.
The universal demand for well-written and expressive content means that tons of career opportunities are available within this line of work. Scriptwriting is obviously a big one. Whether it’s EastEnders, Peep Show, an MTV awards ceremony or a blockbuster movie, there is always a team of people behind the scenes, dreaming up the lines and coming up with the gags, rousing speeches and plotlines that drive the shows.
Scriptwriters will also usually be surrounded by a team of proofreaders and script consultants that provide feedback on a script’s viability. Furthermore, you might get the chance to work as a ‘script doctor’. These are the individuals that effectively edit and improve a scriptwriter’s pieces.
As with most competitive industries though, it’s extremely hard to get into. Production houses are definitely not inclined to hand over huge budgets to unproven scriptwriters and this trend is unlikely to be bucked anytime soon.
What do I need to become a professional writer?
Novels are the backbone of the creative writing industry. Not only do they entertain and excite tons of people across the world, they are often transformed by scriptwriters into movie scripts. As with most creative writing, there isn’t really a straightforward entry point for people that write novels. Effectively, you just start calling yourself a novelist overnight, albeit an unpaid one.
Understandably, you’ll need an overactive imagination and writing expertise to succeed. Furthermore, you will also need to keep up to date with the current buying trends of readers and become extremely pally with lots of literary agents.
What can I do as a copywriter?
Copywriters are involved in virtually every piece of advertising and marketing out there. Their aim is to write copy which appeals to public curiosity and tempts people into doing or buying something.
As the type of work is more corporate in its focus, there is more of a clear hierarchy and career path in place. You may begin as a researcher, gathering stats for senior copywriters, or proofreading pieces. Progression may eventually lead to directly copywriting yourself, which involves guiding the theme of a product and the way it is imparted to the reader, whilst trying to make it as intriguing as possible. It really is an art form. For more information on these careers, go to the Creative Art Direction & Copywriting subsector now!
The world of politics also relies heavily on professional writers. Whether it’s campaign material about how much of a ‘bloody good bloke’ he is, or assisting with that rousing acceptance speech, the writing work in this arena can be varied, challenging, exciting and immensely important.
Fancy yourself the new Jack Kerouac, Charlie Kaufman, or Jon Favreau (only Obama’s chief speechwriter!)? If you answered ‘yes’, then a career in this sector might just be perfect for you!