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Profitable Scripts Question

Laura asks…

What does a screenwriter in Hollywood actually do?

I need to compare screenwriting in 1940s and now, does anybody know an web site, article, book or etc. to use in my research project, or share the information s/he knows with me?

scottparat answers:

Screenwriters or scenarists or scriptwriters are people who write/create the short or feature-length screenplays from which films and television programs are based.

Many screenwriters start their careers writing on speculation (spec), meaning they write without being hired or paid for it. When such a script is sold, it is called a spec script.

Many of them also work as “script doctors”, attempting to better a script to suit the desires of a director or studio. For instance, studio management may have a complaint that the motivations of the characters are unclear or that the dialogue is weak.

Script-doctoring can be quite lucrative, especially for the better known writers. David Mamet and John Sayles, for instance, fund the movies they direct themselves, usually from their own screenplays, by writing and doctoring scripts for others. In fact, some writers make very profitable careers out of the script doctoring food chain, being the ninth or tenth writer to work on a piece; in many cases, working on projects that never see exposure to an audience of any size. Script doctoring companies, also known as script consultancies, are also often used by directors, production companies and individual screenwriters. These usually do not offer full re-writes, but are used when a production company or an individual requires feedback on whether or not a script is marketable, how it can be improved, and whether or not it holds any potential for development.

Ken asks…

how to start learning web development and what technologies are relevant?

I have work experience in Oracle database development and I am thinking of getting into web development.

scottparat answers:

Depending on your interests and desire to learn you can go with a few current technologies.

PHP and ASP.NET (C# or VB) are two leading development “platforms” if you’re interested in the programming aspect of Web Development (

PHP is open-source and free, while .NET is a Microsoft version (though a “free-as-in-beer” version is available – get Visual Web Developer at


Note that though php is more of a scripting lanuage while .NET aims to be more object oriented, either can be successfully used to make engaging, interactive, and profitable Web sites*.

I know less about JSP, but there’s a primer at:

A great place to start is at W3School ( Take a look at primers for html, xhtml, PHP, and .NET and see which tutorials and syntax appeal to you. If you’re comfortable with databases and structured languages, html should be a breeze for you!

Also it’ll help to figure out or narrow what you want to do with these skills. Do you want to develop some applications for yourself? Start a Web site for a personal business? Perhaps work for someone else in a corporate or small business setting? Depending on scenario, you’ll want to see what technologies are preferred in job postings OR possibly what “hobbyist” developers are up to. Good luck!

*Disclaimer: I’ve worked with various version of ASP.NET at work, but bear no ill will to any development technology!

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