© Ugur Akinci
My readers are perhaps aware that although I’m a professional technical writer I also do love movies and write screenplays as a hobby. I’m sharing the below news story since it provides a benchmark to compare and contrast the opportunities provided by technical writing…
Here is the summary of the news story in question published by the movie industry periodical Variety: WGA (Writers Guild of America) writers averaged $62,000 a year over five years.
But remember that WGA membership is not easy since it requires an annual $2,500 membership fee and at least one produced screenplay. As far as I know a great majority of screenwriters can never get even a single script produced over a whole career.
Sobering Note 1: Although 50,000 screenplays are registered with WGA every year, there are only 12,000 WGA members (East and West guilds combined). Thus the Variety story does not reflect the incomes of a clear majority of screenwriters who submit scripts to Hollywood every year. If it did, I’d suspect that $62K-a-year figure would be much much lower, yielding something around $10,000 or even less.
Sobering Note 2: Only 4,395 of WGA-member writers reported any income at all… Which means that over 7,000 WGA members probably did not make any money in 2008 (which would hardly come as a surprise to all those talented, tenacious and table-waiting script writers bidding for their time under the sun in the City of Angels).