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December 15, 2021

Screenwriting Internships: How to Apply & Tips

A scriptwriting internship lets you see whether working on a writing team or a real production team is for you.

You might not be writing scripts directly - you might end up doing something you might feel is only partially related to writing - but you will get to see how a real-life studio works as a whole.

This can be an invaluable insight for an aspiring writer. It also gets you out of your house or the coffee shop where you usually write.

How do you find a screenwriting internship?

You can also take the initiative when it comes to looking for screenwriting internships. Even if you are not a college student, getting information on the kind of internships they offer could be valuable.

This gives you an idea of the internships that are currently being run and their structure; you could then reach out to the production company or agency directly and see if you could apply as an external candidate.

To stand a chance of succeeding via this route, you need to show some promise. For example, a production company or agency will want to see that you are interested in television or film and the shows that they produce. So, for example, if you have published articles or blogs in this genre or have had your scripts produced by an amateur production company, this could help you.

Check websites such as or even film internships or tv internships on LinkedIn and Twitter regularly. Also, consider the companies you want to work for. Please don't apply to big-name companies for the sake of it. Instead, seek out the production companies and agents for shows you genuinely love; this way, you'll have the best experience.

What to expect from a screenwriting internship

A screenwriting internship is different from a screenwriting fellowship where you have won a competition to get a table seat or develop a script. It's also different from a screenwriting workshop or course where you have paid for some advice from experts.

An internship is supposed to enable the applicant to feel what a job in the industry would entail. For example, in publishing, this involves shadowing an individual desk - publicity, editorial, or sales and doing essential admin work.

But it would be impractical for a writing internship to operate in the same way, as it would essentially entail sitting at home watching a writer work on their computer.

Instead, screenwriting internships are often billed not as writing internships per-se but as internships in related roles.

Duties vary from company to company, but they can include sitting on table reads, reading notes on pitches from other writers, and reviewing scripts that executives have received fresh from agents.

This is all invaluable. As a writer, you can see up-close the decision-making process that executives and agents at companies like Netflix go through when they accept or reject a pitch. You can avoid the mistakes others writers make.

Take every opportunity you can to network with everyone in the office. Ask them what their role is, make them tea, or bring them coffee. There is no need to go overboard and be too clingy, but see this as a great place to connect with people you might have a genuine passion for the same subject matter.  

What about screenwriting internships remote positions? These might still be available, and you might be able to negotiate them. But since the pandemic is now coming to an end and the film and TV industry is experiencing a post-pandemic boom, they might be harder to arrange than they were in 2020. So try to attend in person if you can.

How to succeed in your internship

First, you need to establish how you can add value to the company you work for you. Key executives and producers will not be interested in pursuing a different relationship with you if you act like an amateur and make the production more difficult.

Here are some top tips to avoid during a screenwriting internship:

  • You are continuously bombarding members of the crew with your scripts. You will annoy that person and give them a negative first impression if they ever do read your work.
  • You are refusing to do essential admin work such as filing because it's beneath you. You are there to learn and see how things work on set or in the office. The more you help, the more the studio knows it can rely on you. How will you react when a director or executive asks for extensive edits? Be mature here.
  • You are only talking about yourself and your work. This is a one-way conversation that will eventually get boring. You'll do yourself a disservice as you won't make genuine connections to succeed.

Here are some things you can do to succeed during your internship:

  • Make friends and connect with as many people as possible.
  • Learn the names of everyone in the studio or office.
  • Learn how you can help. Go out of your way to make the studio run more effectively. If you are assigned a small role - even if it's as simple as making everybody a cup of tea - make sure you do it to the best of your ability.
  • Avoid studio gossip and politics. Stand above it. You don't know the office dynamics, and it could come back to bite you.

Are internships just for students?

It is true. Internships are generally tailored towards students and arranged by universities or colleges, but there are no rules.

It might be harder for you to get financing for your living expenses while at the company if you are not attached to an institution. But if you are working, then you might be able to save up to cover these costs.

If you can't afford to cover your expenses, then there are a few charities and non-profits that might be able to offer funding to make your internship a reality. Unfortunately, there are now many schemes specifically for writers from underrepresented or non-traditional backgrounds with a more significant emphasis on diversity.

Screenwriting internships help you build your career

Screenwriting internships help you build a different set of skills that are just as valuable to the screenwriter's craft as those you'll learn writing your scripts on your computer.

Making connections, social skills, and production procedures are all great skills that many screenwriters often lack. As a result, the industry is increasingly seen as being vital to success.


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Screenwriting Internships: How to Apply & Tips
Harry Cunningham

Harry is a professional writer. His first novel The Talk Show was published in the U.S and the U.K by Bloodhound Books in 2021 and he is currently working on adapting it for screen. He's also written for Media Magazine - a UK magazine for students of A-level Film, Media and Television Studies. In addition, he was a senior ghostwriter at Story Terrace from 2015- 2021, the private memoir firm.

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