The role of the writer in the script commissioning process

The role of the writer in the script commissioning process is crucial. Nearly every aspect of the digital Visual/Audio media industry relies on scripts to continue thriving. While there are certain individuals and independent media that doesn’t rely on scripts- but May still use a basic guideline.

The first thing that the scriptwriters have to do is get their script commissioned. There are a plethora of places where people can get scripts commissioned. One way to get your script commissioned is by sending it to a corporation with a media branch. One such corporation is the BBC. The BBC even has a specific part of their website dedicated receiving and reading new scripts sent in from hopeful creative writers. Most scripts sent in are not accepted and the BBC is liable to reject the scripts. Although aspiring writers should not be put off by this, but instead take it with a touch of grace and try again sometime later.

Another place a script writer can try is through an independent producer or director. Independent directors and producers are always looking for new scripts – especially independent film makers. Going with independent contractors can be good because as a writer you may have greater artistic license but far less of a budget to work with.

Another method of getting your script commissioned is by submitting your script into a competition- designed to find the best scripts for future production. One such competition is script pipelines writing contest, it costs around $45 to enter the contest and the finalists get exposure to top producers in the industry. The competition has led to many success stories, one such story is Evan Daugherty who sold his snow white and the huntsman script for $3million to universal studios.

Scriptwriters may be- arguably- the most important part of the commissioning process but there are many other crucial jobs within the process. Some of these jobs are:

Agents, who go out of their way to get there clients- the writers- script sold. There are two types of agents; the first kind of agent is the agent who works for a big agency. These agents usually have many clients and many more connections. The advantage of having a agent in a big agency gives you the advantage of having an agent with plenty of contacts- giving you as the script writer more of an opportunity to find work- however it also usually means that your agent has many more clients, some of whom may be valued more highly than you. The other type of agent is the agent who works for a small agency- or sometimes independently and have very few clients- so they put more time into selling your scripts.

Another important job within the process is the job of the researcher; who has to do vital research on the characters in the script, the setting of the script, the time period of the script and any cultural, religious and political issues that the script deals with. The researchers job is important because if the script is talking about a big issue- for example abortion- then its the researchers job to make sure the script is completely accurate and is both sensitive and insightful on the issue.

Another important job of the script commissioning process is the script editor, it’s the editors job to make sure that the script is polished and smooth as well as making sense. The editor has the job of making sure the dialogue seems real and the stage directions reasonable.

One more important job within the commissioning process is the director, it’s the directors job to interpret the script and present it in a visual medium, the director is arguably the most crucial job in the commissioning process, they have to direct actors to read the script and emote what’s on it.

Another important job is the executive producer, the executive producer is the person who gives the green light on projects, they ultimately oversee all the elements of putting a project together, they handle the money side of things, like hiring actors and paying for sets to be made, they also help to supervise and coordinate the project.

One last important job is the commissioning editor. The commissioning editor has complete financial and creative control over the project, they have to plan, organize and mange the projects that they allow to be commissioned, the commissioning editor’s job is to find a script and turn it into a TV show or film, in order to generate good ratings and make a great amount of box office revenue.

The importance of the writer in the commissioning process can’t be stressed enough, the creativity of the writers is the fuel which runs the commissioning process.

My advice to other aspiring writers would be to never stop trying. That goes without saying of course. Another piece of advice would be to make as many friends in the industry as you can. Especially producers and directors who can use their financial resources and creative leeway to make sure your script is commissioned and converted into content. Another piece of advice I can offer would be to get your script- or scripts out there. That will mean constantly putting your scripts into competitions and send your scripts to writers rooms. Finally I would advise that you always seek criticism and take it with grace. Without knowing your limitations and weaknesses you’ll never improve. Never give up due to Criticism, just embrace it, learn and press on.


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