What do Television Writers do?
Some Writers create station announcements, previews of coming shows, and advertising copy for local sponsors. These editors may also write material for locally produced shows. They must be able to write persuasively, creatively, and quickly because of the pressure of deadlines.
The Television Writer is the person responsible for creating all plot lines, dialogue, characters and situations. The Writer provides the initial story as well as rewriting and polishing scripts. Episodic Television Writers can also serve as producers as well and are responsible for both the budget and the overall quality of production.
Writing for television is different from writing for film or stage. Television Writers must be able to write to order. For example they will need to write for a specific audience and to fill a specific time slot. It can be almost a technical job. They may be working as part of a team under a head writer who makes many of the creative decisions. Writing what the show calls for under a strict timetable is often more important than artistic expression.
Some Writers work full time for television stations but many work freelance on a job by job basis. Although individual television episodes are credited to a single Writer (or writing team), Television Writers often write as a group. Depending on the show, the budget available and the preference of the showrunner, there could be up to twenty Writers working at different levels on a single series from staff writers to producers.
Television Writers are usually employed on the basis of what they have written. A good spec script is a sample of your writing that shows other people that you understand television writing and is a good way to demonstrate your skills. It could be a script of an existing television show that you have written or an original television pilot.
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Job description sources include (but are not limited to) imdb.com, skillset.org and wikipedia.