The Evolution of a Script Development Career

One of the questions we’re asked most at Industrial Scripts is, “how do I build a career in script development?”

It’s not an exact science by any means, but the key to getting ahead in script development is to pay your dues.

The blunt truth is that Ridley Scott is not going to hire you as his Head of Development without you working as a Development Executive first.

To beat the legions of others to a Development Executive position, of course, you’ll have to first prove yourself as a Development Assistant or industry Script Reader. This means reading for big, reputable companies.

To get these jobs you’ll have to impress the powers-that-be somehow. This is usually either through your work as a runner or as a script reader for small companies/for free.

It is cruicial at this early stage in your script development career to get your name out there.

Later on in your career, you’ll have established a reputation within development circles and got some big company names on your CV. Then you’ll begin to be considered for the occasional, rarely advertised full-time development job.

You might move up through the ranks, spending around 3 years in a script development position before moving to a new one.

Then going into producing, or even starting your own independent script feedback service. That is, only if you’ve accumulated the years of necessary credentials by this point to have your service taken seriously.

Here’s how the full-time jobs in script development generally break down: 

(note: Script Development Co-ordinator is a rare job, with many companies lacking the need or resources to hire at this stage)

  • PA/Assistant/Runner/Intern   ->   
  • Development Assistant   ->  
  • (if applicable, Development Co-ordinator)   ->  
  • Development Executive   ->  
  • Head of Development

Here’s our handy visual guide to how a script development professional’s career evolves, and the kind of timeframes at each stage.

Remember, a serious career in script development is a marathon not a sprint. There aren’t any short-cuts or clear cut routes you just have to do the hard work if you’re serious about it!

Good luck!

evolution of a script consultant / script development professional


If you enjoyed this article, why not check out our article: In Screenwriting, Hope Springs Eternal?

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1 thought on “The Evolution of a Script Development Career”

  1. When I noticed "Industrial Scripts" a moment ago, as @Indust_Scripts on Twitter, I thought it was a service for programmers, though I was puzzled at the generic reference to "script", as there are many varieties. But I thought it was a clever and pleasant title for a software website, as most are, well… NOT. "Industrial Scripts" evokes thoughts of heavy-duty, reliable, tested and trusted code. I wasn't disappointed to find that "Industrial Scripts" is about an entirely different sort of script though!

    I enjoyed reading the advice for aspiring script developers. It would be beneficial (for reducing arrogance, increasing compassion/ gratitude/ satisfaction/ happiness) if some of the software script writers with whom I am acquainted were to read this, substituting "software development career", instead of "motion picture script development career".

    The chart is great!


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