• Search

Director vs. Screenwriter. How is Cinema Born?

director vs screenwriter
  • Save

For people who are just starting to think about how movies are made, it can be tough to distinguish between the duties of a director and a screenwriter.

The difference between these two specialties seems relatively easy to understand: one comes up with a script, and the other makes a film based on it. But only some things are so simple.

So our topic today is director vs. screenwriter.

In an ideal world, the screenwriter came up with the genre, the characters, wrote the dialogues and retired in anticipation of the premiere. And the director read the script, chose the actors, objects, costumes, make-up, and gave the letters flesh on the screen.

director vs screenwriter
  • Save

Is Screenwriting the same as directing?

Duties of a screenwriter.

A screenwriter’s main task is to develop and tell a good story. He is like an author who draws the world’s boundaries, creates the characters, and decides how they will act. In addition, the screenwriter is responsible for developing dialogues and a general description of the locations.

The recorded story becomes a script, a technical document that describes the resulting story in a way that every reader can imagine. When the script is ready and approved, the main work of the screenwriter is completed.

Often the screenwriter is not even directly involved in shooting a film. And if he is still present at the location, then mainly as support staff. He can correct or rewrite some lines or scenes that cannot be brought to life well or explain something that needs to be clarified to the director and actors.  

But the screenwriter is not directing the filming. He has only an advisory vote. The director controls the shooting.

director vs screenwriter
  • Save

Duties of the director.

Usually, after a good film, the director gets praise

Why this happens is relatively easy to explain. You will surely understand this if you read enough scripts. Often they differ significantly from what we eventually see on the screen.

Cinema is a visual art. As a result, the director decides how the screenwriter’s story will be presented.

In the director’s plan, there are notes on literally everything. For example, what kind of music, at what moments should it play, what mood should the scene convey, what colors should be usedhow the camera will move, and what mise-en-scenes will be in this or that fragment.

Well, the shooting continues, and the director makes many decisions. He’s in charge on the pitch. He controls the film crew, approves or corrects the actors’ work, resolves all issues that arise along the way, and ensures that everyone on the set lives in the same rhythm.

And even after filming, in post-production, the director still cannot rest. He takes part in the editing, the voice acting, and creating special effects.

To understand how important this is, compare the quality of different adaptations of the same books, for example. Scenarios there will be extremely similar because the basis is the same, but the result is often completely different. Of course, this is partly the merit (or anti-merit) of the actors, but after all, the director is also involved in casting.

Therefore, the director deserves the most fame and rotten tomatoes, depending on how the movie turned out.

  • Save

Who is more important, the director or the screenwriter? 

This question baffles me because even a bad director can make a good movie with a good script, but with a bad one, even a good director can’t make a good movie.

The director collects the film as a constructor. And in the film industry, in my opinion, his role is more important. But we still have TV serials.

Often in TV shows, the screenwriter is more important than the director. Why? That is, of course, the most important person is the producer. He is like a god in films and on television. But the first after God on television is a screenwriter.

The fact is that cinema is a visual art. In cinema, the “picture” is primary, and the word is secondary. Therefore, the one who invents the picture is in command here, not the one who writes the words.

On television, the word is as essential as the picture. Creating 22 hours of captivating spectacle in a season is incredibly difficult. Television series production is often cheaper; otherwise, they simply do not pay off.

What do the characters do in the series? They fall in love, quarrel, intrigue, kill each other, joke and talk, talk and talk. It is the primary concern of the screenwriter in the series – to come up with what exactly the characters say so that the audience is always interested in what will happen next to make viewers come back to TV again and again.

  • Save

The TV viewer is more inconsistent than the movie viewer. A person comes to the cinema, is determined to enjoy the spectacle, buys popcorn, and turns off his mobile phone. And if he does not like the movie, he will still watch it to the end, if only to ridicule the creators in his blog. On the other hand, walking away from a movie in the middle of a screening, leaving a half-eaten popcorn – few people are capable of this.

The TV viewer is harder – he has a remote control at hand. They do not like the series – click. And there is no series. And many TV viewers do not watch series but listen while doing some household chores.

Several heroes whose fates are collapsing in a small space, fenced off from the audience by an invisible wall. What is this? That’s right, theater. The television series is much closer to the theater than the cinema. Therefore, many modern theater playwrights are in demand as TV series scriptwriters.

As for the television series director, his task is to shoot in such a way that nothing distracts the viewer from the main thing – from what the characters say. Directing delights on television are not welcome.

  • Save

Do screenwriters or directors make more money?

How much does the average screenwriter make?

According to ZipRecruiter, the average scriptwriter salary in the United States is $50, 196 as high as $113, 000. Also, screenwriters can work part-time at the Writers Guild of America and earn about $27 000 a year. Therefore, a famous screenwriter can make millions of dollars annually if they are in in-demand. 

Once a film is in theaters, screenwriters receive a portion of every sale. Usually, writers receive 1.5% of the distributor’s earnings. If a movie earns $30 million at the box office, its commission is $450k.

What is the average salary for a director?

ZipRecruiter says a film director’s salary is 30-140k per year. It seems pretty accurate. Sure, there are many up-level movie directors with high incomes.

For example, Steven Spielberg makes more than ten million a year, and James Cameron more than 8 million. 

director vs screenwriter
  • Save

Final words.

As a result, I formulated for myself that the screenwriter and director are like two sides of the same coin.

Also, we remember that the movie needs a whole team of actors, designers, cinematographists, and many others. 

Would you be a screenwriter or a director? Write down below in the comments.

I hope you find many good films to watch. And if you need my advice – check out my five best tips on how to choose a good movie for movie night.

Share this blog post if you enjoyed it. I would really appreciate it!

Written by

I`m in love with movies and psychology. Here I write how we can use movies for healing and self-growth. Also, be sure to check out my movie lists. You will find cool suggestions for movie night.

View all articles
Leave a reply

Good Movie Finder


I`m in love with movies and psychology. Here I write how we can use movies for healing and self-growth. Also, be sure to check out my movie lists. You will find cool suggestions for movie night.

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap