By Pinaki Ghosh
From our Google Analytics data I discovered that a lot of keywords leading visitors to our site www.TheScreenplayWriters.com were related to screenplay writer rate and other keywords close to that. It suggests that a lot of people are looking for more information about how much screenplay writers charge to write a screenplay. Since screenplay writers almost always do not announce their rates in public, there is ambiguity about how much it costs to get a screenplay written and ‘how much is a screenplay writer’s salary’.
Writers Guild of America (WGA), which actually are two organizations (unions to be precise), one for the West Coast and another for the East Coast have fixed some minimum and maximum rates for all writers who are their members. This is basically to ensure writers are not underpaid, and there is no unhealthy competition and undercutting of rates.
The lowest, the highest
Roy McCardell, probably the first screenwriter of USA sold his short screenplays for $15 each in 1900. Going by the rate of depreciation, $15 today would have been less than $350.
In 2003, Manoj Night Shyamalan, the American director and screenwriter of Indian origin charged $7.5 million for writing the screenplay of ‘The Village’.
Screenwriters Terry Rossio and Bill Marsilii received $5 million for the screenplay of Déjà vu in 2005, which is a record for spec screenplay rates. Spec screenplay is a screenplay which is written without a formal order, or without the writer receiving any fees for it initially. He or she writes it without being paid and then tries to sell it to a studio or filmmaker.
In Bollywood, rates of busy screenwriters start from INR 400,000 and goes up to INR 3 million. Recently one of the highest fees in Bollywood was paid to Joshua and Bryan, the American screenwriter duo who wrote the screenplay of ‘Blue‘ (2009). Joshua and Bryan are a part of our team of screenplay writers.
Often we hear terms like a screenplay writer is paid $75,000 against $150,000, which actually means, the filmmaker guarantees the screenwriter a payment of $75,000. If the film is not made, the screenplay writer does not receive anything more than $75,000. But if the movie is made and released, the screenplay writer receives $150,000, which means an additional $75,000. Interesting, isn’t it?
TheScreenplayWriters.com screenplay writers’ fees: 20% – 40% less than WGA rates
So, the big question is what is the screenwriter’s salary if you choose to order a script with TheScreenplayWriters.com? We are very democratic regarding this, and have kept into consideration the inde filmmakers and student filmmakers who are tight on budget as well as big studios and producers, who want nothing but the best. Our rates start from $3,000 and goes up to over $100,000. The rate really depends on the writer who is writing your screenplay. But we are still the most reasonably priced screenplay agency around. Our rates are at least 20% to 30% less than WGA rates and that is one of the main reasons why more and more studios and filmmakers are choosing our service. We also offer innovative cost cutting solutions like getting your screenplay written by a middle order screenplay writer and then getting it refined and polished by a top order screenwriter. The result is a world class screenplay for a rate which is almost 40% less than WGA rates.