Business Overview:

If you can write and you’re interested in the Hollywood aspect of the writing business, learn how to become a screenwriter and open a screenwriting business. With the right script you can strike gold in this industry, whether you’re the writer or the mastermind behind the screenwriting company. While you certainly don’t need any specific credentials to make it with a business idea like this, it is a given that you will possess a talent for writing and for capturing the essence of the genre you’re writing for (for example, your comedic writing needs to be timely and, ultimately, funny). Additionally, any credentials or contacts in the business can only help you get your foot in the crowded door of screenplay writing. There are lots of resources—the internet, the library, bookstores—to get you started in the right direction and that can help you determine where your screenplays should be sent for review. If you’d rather try your hand as strictly business owner rather than screenwriter, you can recruit writers to work with you; they do the writing, you do the screenplay “shopping” and try to get their work picked up by a producer. You’ll want to make sure you iron out the details of your fees and your rights before entering a business agreement like this, and a legally binding contract between your company and the writer should do the trick. No matter how you embark on the business, one thing is for sure: If one of your company’s screenplays makes the Hollywood cut, your business will take off.

A Day in the Life of a Screenwriting Business Owner:

A typical day for a screenwriter or manager of a screenwriting business will consist of a lot of networking. Your goal each day will be to get one step closer to having your latest screenplay accepted by a production company or agent, so getting your writing out there—and following it up with emails or phone calls—will be of paramount importance. Of course if you or your writers are brimming with ideas, you will also want to take time each day to write. In fact, having a portfolio of screenplays can only benefit your business, so get writing!

About Your Customers:

This is a unique business in that you won’t really have customers per se, though you are selling a product. You are trying to win over production companies and/or agents who will buy your screenplays. Ultimately, though, your final customer will be audiences who see your screenplays come to life on the big—or small—screens.

What You Need to Start:

•Solid writing talent or talented writers working for you
•Contacts in the business to help you get your screenplays distributed
•A contract if you will be hiring screenwriters to work for you
•Copyrighted screenplays (either original or written for your company)
The Good:

•If you’re the writer, you can enter this business whenever you want and work at it as often as you are able.
•If your work is picked up, you could stand to make a good deal of money.
•The work can be very enjoyable for a person who likes to write.
•You need no startup money to write a screenplay.

The Bad:

•This business is very competitive and it could take you some time to get your screenplay read by an agent.
•You will have to do some legwork in order to send your writing to the appropriate places.

•International Screenwriter’s Association
•Screenwriters Federation of America
•Writers Guild of America, West
•Bureau of Labor Statistics on Motion Picture and Video Industries
•Wikipedia on Screenwriters