What is the daily life of a screenwriter for a film production company?
I currently write scripts and possibly am looking at being a screenwriter as a career choice but I don't even know what they do beside write scripts. Do they do other things?
My daily 'work life' involves coming up with new ideas, writing them up to 3-5 pages before sending them around to contacts I have who might be interested in buying the idea. These are people I've come to know over the years via my agent, or people I used to work with (I used to work in drama production as a script editor)
If one of those ideas is picked up/bought- I then work with the prodco to make it better (!) with an eye to what kinda of show we'd love to make. Depending on the commission, I might be being paid to write a longer document, perhaps up to 10 pages which is an overview of the show/concept/characters/how the show has legs to run and run... OR if I'm really lucky, they might have commissioned a script. Which doesn't happen all that often (not for me anyway!)
Christy's advice above is really sound. It matches what I understand about the US market from a few visits to meet folks in LA!
So daily life is freelance/working-for-yourself life! You need to make your own routines to ensure good productivity, and treat 'being creative' a bit like a regular job at times. Lots of sample scripts is the place to start. You can download lots of PDFs online of produced TV shows and movies which is a great resource for learning 'how' to write and how pros do it. I still look at these all the time!
There are very, very few screenwriters who can support themselves only by writing screenplays. It can be years in between making a sale, assuming you manage to make more than one sale.
Now I'm assuming when you say "screenwriter" you specifically mean writing for movies.
Writing for TV is another whole category with its own set of complicated rules and career paths, but it's slightly more feasible to have a consistent career writing teleplays if you're good enough. Like any creative business, it's tough to break in.
Christy recommends the following next steps: