Screenwriter vs Scriptwriter: What’s The Difference?

Screenwriter, scriptwriter; the terms are interchangeable, right? Surprisingly, no; these are two very different things with a fair amount of nuances between them.

To put things simply, one describes someone who writes for film while the other represents every other kind of script creation. To put it in more complex terms, well, here is everything you need to know about screenwriters vs scriptwriters.

What is a Scriptwriter?

The term ‘scriptwriting’ is used to describe the process of putting together all of the content that will be used in live and recorded presentations. This could mean dialogue for a talk show, the text being read out by a presenter on a new channel, or anything similar. This content, as opposed to a script for a movie or show, is written mostly for one person while a movie is describing interactions between multiple characters.

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What a scriptwriter doesn’t bother itself with the visuals of the presentation like a movie or TV show might. It’s all about what is being said on a film or set, it doesn’t determine what the set will look like. Imagine you have just finished a very important phone call and want to record what was spoken about. You can’t write about the facial expressions of the person on the other line or describe the room they’re in, as you can’t physically see either of those aspects. What you can do is write down who said what in order of how it was said. This is a script.

What is Screenwriting?

Screenwriting is most likely what you think of at first when you say ‘scriptwriting.’ It is a written representation of what will eventually be a piece of visual media, such as a scene in a feature film. Included in this writing, called a screenplay are the external factors of the scene (how the set looks), and everything that the actors are saying or doing. It describes the emotions and environments involved in bringing the scene to life. Imagine you are trying to explain your favorite part of a movie to a friend.

You’ll probably give a brief description of where the characters are and what they were doing leading up to that scene. This lets your friend picture the scene in their mind and get a better understanding of what you are about to tell them. This is basically what a screenplay is trying to do.

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Scriptwriting vs Screenwriting

The greatest difference between scriptwriting and screenwriting is the function of what is being written. While a script deals mostly in what the actor or broadcaster should be saying, screenwriting describes stage direction, sound effects, lighting, stage direction, and more in addition to that dialogue.

Everything that the actor or broadcaster doesn’t need to know to successfully pull off their performance is cut out of the script, leaving a very basic description of the scene. The point of screenwriting is to explain everything that is going on to everyone involved, such as camera operators, sound techs, and even the director. This is how you can tell the difference between scriptwriting and screenwriting.

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