Screenwriting Blog
Posted on by Courtney Meznarich

The Relationship Between Creatives and Studio Execs, Explained

When you think of a studio executive, what comes to mind? Before interviewing as many writers as I have now, my vision of an executive was someone who was cutthroat, ruthless in their opinions of your creative work, and steadfast in their demands for revisions. Maybe I've seen too many movies because Disney writer Ricky Roxburgh says it's just not that way.

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Ricky works with studio and creative executives on the daily while he writes hugely popular animated television shows such as "Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure," "Big Hero 6: The Series," and "Mickey Mouse" shorts. He described to us what the relationship between creatives and executives really looks like.

"Typically, executives don't come in and just say like, "This has to be like this," he said. "They're not that way."

Remember that writing is always a creative process, so don't be precious about your work. Everyone is there to make the best show or movie possible. It's not personal.

"They're working with you, they're collaborating with you," he said. "You don't treat them like the big bad boss, and you don't treat them like the enemy. You treat them like a helper."

While part of their job is to indeed help, a studio executive's technical definition lumps many tasks together. They can be higher up in the C-suite, such as a chief executive office, a chief financial officer, or someone overseeing production; or, they can be closer to the end product and be responsible for reading scripts, finding source material for screenplays, giving feedback on story direction, and more.  

"Look at an executive like a fresh pair of eyes. They may be a creative executive, but they may not be like a creative pair of eyes in the sense that they're somebody on the team that's creating the show," Ricky explained. "It's valuable to see how they look at it because they're looking at it through the lens of the studio."

Learning to collaborate with executives and implement their notes and feedback will be crucial to your success in an ongoing writing role.

"I'll try to find a happy medium between where I'm trying to go and what they want to do," he concluded, "holding hands with the note instead of resenting it or fearing it."

Look at an executive like a fresh pair of eyes ... It's valuable to see how they look at it because they're looking at it through the lens of the studio.
Ricky Roxburgh

So, those big-time execs aren't so scary, after all, screenwriter. There's one less thing to be intimidated about in what can be a very intimidating industry. The more you know about the entertainment business and how it works, the better your chances of breaking in.

You'll also need lots of scripts to land an ongoing writing job, though, so if you lack in that department, then it's time to get writing! SoCreate Screenwriting Software can help you do it. We're launching soon, .

Now, get to work!

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