Television script writers write copy ranging from five-second slots to commercials to long political analyses. They may draft fiction, non-fiction, comedy or some combination of several types of writing. The right college classes can help prepare you for this demanding job and offer opportunities to meet professors and peers who can help you navigate this competitive world. Some colleges offer script writing degrees, but even if this option is not available at your school, a wide variety of writing and English classes can give you the background you need.
Basic Educational Requirements
Unlike careers that require licensing or a specific knowledge base, there's no specific educational requirement for becoming a script writer. Instead, your job prospects will be based primarily on your skill and your ability to connect with potential employers. Television networks and advertising agencies usually require writers to have a bachelor's degree, ensuring a sufficient background in English and basic writing techniques.
To be a successful script writer, your English communication skills should be flawless. Take basic English classes and focus on mastering the basics of the written word. If your school offers advanced grammar classes, consider these as well, as they can prepare you to create flawless copy. English classes that require a wide variety of essays and papers can help you to master the basics of writing.
If you're planning to write fiction for sitcoms or dramas, you'll need to be a top-notch creative writer. Try classes in screenwriting, fiction writing and creative non-fiction. These classes not only prepare you for writing quality creative scripts, they can also help you practice creating and developing plots, characters and story settings.
Some script writers write highly technical copy, allowing fewer opportunities for creative writing and flowery language than many other types of writing. If you're writing for a science show, an educational program or even a commercial, you may need to master the art of conveying useful information in an engaging, concise, clear and objective manner. Technical writing classes help you master this skill.
If you want to write for fictional television shows, classes in film studies or film writing can be an important part of your training. General classes in film can give you a helpful overview of what viewers enjoy and find meaningful on television, and this can provide you with the motivation and information you need to write excellent scripts. Classes that specifically teach film writing will help you master the ins and outs of developing characters that translate well into film.
Journalism and Communication
Script writers often intersect with journalists, particularly when writers work on news programs or educational shows. Journalism and communication classes can prepare you for basic journalistic style and help you hone your craft. Communication classes that focus on broadcasting, such as broadcasting communication, media public relations and news writing, can also help you improve your skills.
- Webster University: Scriptwriting (BA)
- United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics:How to Become a Writer or Author
- The New School for Public Engagement: Media Studies (MA)
- Emerson College: Certificate Program Screenwriting
- University of Southern California Cinematic Arts: Screenwriting
- George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images