Almost every job under the sun requires a resume, but often screenwriters wonder if they should have one. I'm here to tell you that the answer is yes, you should have a resume! Unless you are an already highly established writer, it's a good idea to have a resume prepared, and ready to go when opportunity strikes.
Why do I need a screenwriter's resume?
Nearly every fellowship opportunity I've submitted myself for, as well as some screenwriting competitions, have asked for some sort of resume or CV (think of it as a more in-depth resume). When you meet new people in the industry, they'll often google you, so I like to have my resume on my website so people can easily see what I've done and find out more about me. LinkedIn is an excellent place for your resume to live, too.
What goes on a screenwriter's resume?
Here are some sections that can be helpful to include on your screenwriting resume!
If you've had any scripts that you've sold and have been made into films, definitely list them here. Include the production company, the year it was made, and any known actors, producers, or directors who were attached to it. Alternatively, if you don't have any produced screenplays, but have sold or optioned a script, you should also include that information here.
If you have a degree in something related to screenwriting, then go ahead and include it on your resume. If you're a newer writer without many credits, including your education (if it's relevant) can be a helpful way to bolster your resume. Even if you did not attend film school, you could still include screenwriting classes or workshops you've participated in here.
- Published Work
Do you have experience and success in writing in some other field? Include it! Mention any published books, articles, blogs, or short stories, and whether they've received any acclaim or special mentions.
- Screenplay Competitions, Fellowships, or Labs
Including these in this section is great if you're a writer with few or no produced credits. List any of your screenplays that have won a screenplay competition. Be sure to name the competition, and include the category your script won, and the year. You can also include semifinalist or finalist statuses. I also like to add any fellowships I've been awarded or labs I've been selected for in this section as well.
If you have representation, such as an agent or a manager, it's a good idea to mention them on your resume. It shows that someone else believed in you or your work enough to represent it to other people.
- Industry Mentor Endorsement
If you have a connection with a well-known industry professional – perhaps they've mentored you, or you worked for them, and they've praised your work, include that in your resume. Include quotes about you or your work if applicable. Of course, get the person's permission before adding their mention on your resume.
- Online Presence
Be sure to include a section letting the reader know where they can find you! List your website or blog, your Twitter, your LinkedIn, and your IMDB page if you have one. Make sure the sites you list are good representations of the professional image that you want to portray. For that matter, make sure all places where you're interacting are showing you in your best light – including personal social channels and forums. Future employers and partners can search your name just about anywhere to get a better idea of who you are and what they expect it to be like if they work with you. Give yourself the best chances by making sure these sites are authentic, appropriate, and an accurate portrayal of who you are.
Whatever sections you choose to include, be sure that they're all working to paint a picture of you as an able and accomplished screenwriter. It's a good idea to have a resume ready to go because you never know when an opportunity might arise, and you find yourself needing to submit one. Or, someone just may find you!