Education and Training Requirements

High School

You can develop your writing skills in English, theater, speech, and journalism classes. Belonging to a debate team can also help you learn how to express your ideas within a specific time allotment and framework. History, government, and foreign language can contribute to a well-rounded education, necessary for creating intelligent scripts. A business course can be useful in understanding the basic business principles of the film industry.

Postsecondary Training

There are no set educational requirements for screenwriters. A college degree is desirable, especially a liberal arts education, which exposes you to a wide range of subjects. An undergraduate or graduate film program will likely include courses in screenwriting, film theory, and other subjects that will teach you about the film industry and its history. A creative writing program will involve you with workshops and seminars that will help you develop fiction-writing skills.

Many colleges and universities have film departments, but some of the most respected film schools are the University of California-Los Angeles (, the University of Southern California (, and Columbia University ( Contact these schools or visit their Web sites for information about course work and faculty.

Other Education or Training

The Writers Guild of America offers members the opportunity to participate in seminars and workshops that cover a variety of topics, such as screenwriting techniques, tax planning, and technology. Contact the guild for more information. 

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

There are no certification or licensing requirements for screenwriters.

Other Requirements

Some employers may require candidates to have membership in the Writers Guild of America (WGA) before accepting any written material.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Aspiring screenwriters can gain experience by writing screenplays and constantly revising their work. They should sign up for classes and workshops, as well as review the work of award-winning screenwriters. 

As a screenwriter, you must be able to create believable characters and develop a story. You must have technical skills, such as dialogue writing, creating plots, and doing research. In addition to creativity and originality, you also need an understanding of the marketplace for your work. You should be aware of what kinds of scripts are in demand by producers. Word processing skills are also helpful.