I have always found the role of a TV scriptwriter fascinating as it differs so much from what we see in a play or on the silver screen. some of the great TV writers like John Sullivan, Vince Gilligan and Roger Wolfson of course are able to turn their hand to a movie, a play or a show, but in the main the TV writer possesses a certain set of skills which are unique to the position. If you believe that you have the ability to become a TV writer, or indeed if you have the dream of doing so, here are the core set of skills which you will need in order to succeed in this position.
Unless you hit the jackpot and get your first gig on a show which takes off, a very rare event I must say, then you are going to have to ensure that you are someone with humility and someone who’s ego can be kept in check. Often this is a thankless position and you may write some incredible storylines or scripts which just don’t get the credit that they deserve. In fact you may even write a script which the actor is lauded for, yet no mention to you, it can be tough.
Almost every TV show relies on a team of writers rather than the individuals and you are going to have to be comfortable with presenting your ideas and your thoughts in front of such a team. Some people struggle with this for multiple reasons, either they want all of the glory so they say no to every idea, sometimes people just don’t connect very well so the ideas don’t flow and often we see individuals who just don’t want to work as part of the team. If you want to find success in this industry you are going to have to be a great team player.
Patience really is a virtue for TV writers, especially if you want to get your teeth into a great show. Many of the finest TV writers had to wait their time, they had to do work on smaller, less popular shows in order to earn their stripes and give them a platform from which to build. You’ll have to do the same and you’ll have to have patience in doing so.
It should go without saying but it would be remiss of us not to mention the importance that your creativity will have on how well you do in this career. It is not just the ability to be creative once, but rather the ability to consistently be creative, day after day, which is a completely different thing altogether. If you are looking for a position like this then you will have to be able to consistently bring your A game, and repeatedly think of new and exciting ideas and concepts to bring to the table.
Do you have what it takes to become like those greats?