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  • Writer's pictureLee Hamilton

How Much Money Do Screenwriters Actually Earn?


It’s an age-old question but considering how much time and effort goes into screenwriting, of course, you want to know how much money you can earn!

The short answer is potentially millions, but realistically, that’s only for top-tier screenwriters, of which there are few. For the rest of us, earnings depend on several factors.

Let’s take a look at them.

  • How experienced you are. Writers with bigger reputations have a proven body of successful work behind them, can be trusted with larger projects, or have won awards, are going to be able to negotiate a higher payment.

  • How many projects you are working on. Spec scripts don’t earn money until they’ve sold, but writers can also earn money by getting assignments. This can be re-writing your script after you’ve sold it, re-writing someone else’s script, or being a staff writer on a tv show, etc.

  • What format you are writing in. There are different rates paid for different types of scripts, such as film, television, original material, or adaptation, etc. The size makes a difference. The bigger the budget, the bigger the pay, as in general, writers are paid 1-2% of a movie’s budget, although they’re entitled to ask for up to 5%, and the longer the running length of a tv script, the larger the pay becomes too.

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