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Job Title: Writer/producer, Job Titles: Writer; Executive Story Editor, Job Title: Screenwriter, Writer

Writers write the story. Directors, producers, actors, and studio executives may all have their input, but it is the writers put their pens to paper, so to speak, to give the story its form. They create and write the screenplays, without which there would be no actions to film, no words to record, no emotions to convey; in short, no movie or television program.

Some writers sit alone in a room and write entire screenplays; others, writing for television, may be responsible for creating the plot bible for the entire season and writing or co-writing individual episodes; some writers are hired to rewrite existing screenplays, which can vary from a final polish to a complete overhaul. Others fill even narrower parameters, like punching up existing jokes or writing new ones, or tailoring dialogue to a particular actor's limitations. Some writers adapt their own literary work for the screen; others are hired to adapt existing books.

Many writers specialize in a specific genre, like action/adventure, drama, comedy, or medical- or legal-themed material. Some work solely in television, and may further specialize in made-for-television movies, dramatic series, or sitcoms. A very few writers, like David E. Kelly, somehow manage to do it all.

Regardless of what, where, or why, all writers write.

Three writers of diverse background, experience, and expertise are profiled in this chapter.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesCareers in Film and Television