When considering the more popular forms of fiction writing, the screenplay form must be near the top of the list, and perhaps stands alone at the top. Interest in screenwriting and in developing a screenwriting career has exploded over the last few decades. The evidence for this is easy to find. There are several books on screenwriting some of which have gone on to become best sellers and become printed in multiple editions. Screenwriting competitions are now commonplace, and are regularly used as a method for trying to establish a screenwriting career. There are also now even screenwriting programs at several universities, and some of these programs are so competitive that they're nearly impossible to get into. Screenwriting today is as popular a form as it's ever been.
People write screenplays for various reasons. Some people simply enjoy the process, and have no real intentions on pursuing a career. Some who write screenplays will only write one or two of them, then never another. There are those who consistently write screenplays, hoping in many cases to establish a screenwriting career. The lure of a screenwriting career holds different things for different people, obviously: there are those who hope for the opportunity to work in Hollywood's glamorous setting; others hope to become rich; and then some just have a burning desire to create drama.
A commitment to writing scripts is a trait nearly all screenwriters share. It's vital to have this sort of commitment for at least a couple of reasons. Firstly, it takes time to learn to write screenplays at what's considered a professionally acceptable level. There is not set length of time for learning to write screenplays, but in most instances it takes years. The notion of a person taking up screenwriting and having a screenwriting career several months later is essentially unheard of. There are people who move to screenwriting from other writing forms, but typically they're established writers who've been writing for years.
The other reason for needing a sense of commitment is gaining entry. Within the entertainment industry, screenwriters who aren't established don't get much consideration. To ultimately launch a screenwriting career typically takes significant perseverance: doors don't open easily for the unknown. There's also typically a lot of rejection to endure along the way. Becoming a professional screenwriter certainly isn't impossible, because people do it. The best policy with respect to a screenwriting career however is to go into the situation understanding it won't be easy. Those who have the desire as well as the ability have the best chance to succeed.
Zinn Jeremiah is a freelance writer. To learn screenwriting, visit screenplay writing.