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Screenwriters or scenarists or scriptwriters are people in a film crew who write/create the screenplays from which films and television programs are made.

Most screenwriters start their careers writing on speculation. That means they write without being hired or paid for it. When such a script is sold, it is called a Spec script.

Many of them also work as "script doctors", attempting to change scripts to suit directors or studios; for instance, studio management may have a complaint that the motivations of the characters are unclear or that the dialogue is weak.

Script-doctoring can be quite lucrative, especially for the better known writers. David Mamet and John Sayles, for instance, fund the movies they direct themselves, usually from their own screenplays, by writing and doctoring scripts for others. In fact, some writers make very profitable careers out of the script doctoring food chain, being the ninth or tenth writer to work on a piece; in many cases, working on projects that never see exposure to an audience of any size.

A few screenwriters have also found work by selling a treatment (approximately 10-30 pages) or synopsis (usually 1-2 pages), of their screenplay even if it isn't completed yet. This is, however, extremely rare.

One of the most important elements in bringing an idea to fruition for a studio to produce is attaching the right screenwriter to the project. Often projects are sold to studios who then assign their own preferred screenwriters to complete the script or write the final draft.

Most professional screenwriters in the U.S. are unionized and are represented by organizations such as the Writers Guild of America, East. The WGA is final arbiter on awarding writing credit for projects under its join.

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Simple English

A screenwriter is a person who writes the screenplay (or script) for a movie or television show - that is, a screenwriter writes the words that the actors and actresses speak.

A script conveys the dialogue of the movie, and will briefly describe visuals, although not too much, as this is left up to the director.

There are certain rules as to how to format a movie script. If these are not followed, then it is highly unlikely that it will ever be taken seriously. In order to test the effectiveness of a script, actors will do a first reading of it. If the format is not clear, then it will probably cause the actors confusion, and will make the task very difficult to complete.









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