Difference Between Screenwriter & Director

Screenwriters and directors work together on a film production, but do different jobs. Learn more about the salary and growth of each profession as well as information about each career.

Comparing Screenwriters to Directors

Screenwriters and directors have very different job duties when it comes to producing a motion picture. While the screenwriters create the piece of writing, directors use that to work with crews to portray what the screenwriter wrote. Here you can learn about some similarities and differences in these two career options.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2016) Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Screenwriter (Writers and Authors) Bachelor's Degree $61,240 2%
Director (Producer and Director) Bachelor's Degree $70,950 9%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Screenwriters vs. Directors

Screenwriters and directors work together to create a motion picture, though their duties are very different. Screenwriters are the people who write the script used in the television series or movie, as well as create the characters and a storyline. Directors typically are responsible for choosing the script they want to use and finding the cast members to fit the character descriptions the screenwriter develops. Directors use the script created to work with the actors to help them portray the character as the screenwriter intends.


Screenwriters write the screenplays for a television show, movie, or play. They typically write the script before presenting to a director, though they also sometimes work with the director to write it with their vision in mind. Screenwriters must be very creative and have exceptional writing skills. They usually grow with experience, but may also pursue training in screenwriting to prepare them for what directors are looking for.

Job responsibilities of a screenwriter include:

  • Writing lines for a screenplay
  • Composing instructions for actors
  • Developing set design ideas
  • Writing based on a subject that interests readers


Directors help to make decisions related to a television, movie or play production. Directors must have good communication and leadership skills to interact effectively with the cast to show how they envision the production. Directors must also show creativity skills to create a production based off of a script that people will enjoy. They typically work irregular hours and may have to travel to different locations.

Job responsibilities of a Director include:

  • Auditioning actors and crew
  • Leading rehearsals
  • Ensuring production finishes in a timely manner
  • Working with actors to fit their roles
  • Working with costume and set designers

Related Careers

Those interested in a job as a screenwriter may also enjoy working as an editor, because editors are responsible for reading and reviewing writers' works such as screenplays. If you are interested in a career as a director to work with movies and television, a multimedia artist and animator might also be an option though they are responsible for the animation and visual effects used in a production, instead of working with cast and crew.

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