What Should A Feature Length Screenplay Cost?

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screenplay ghostwriter for hire, erick mertz, portland oregonAmong the most difficult aspects of working as a screenplay ghostwriter for hire is coming up with costs for a project. Pricing writing projects in the ghostwriting world can be challenging because, by and large, writers drive the market and costs of their services. There are no “recommended” costs stamped on the products I offer. Shopping around can be challenging, not to mention time-consuming.

What is a client supposed to do?

I wanted to take a moment to first describe the steps in working on a screenplay. Once we understand those, it is easier to get to a cost per project structure.

How A Screenplay Is Written

Writing a screenplay is not terribly different than writing a novel, at least in the early phases. Before anyone sits down to write a word, a lot of “pre-writing” gets done. This is story development, everything from creating characters, mapping the story and figuring out a progression of scenes.

This pre-writing phase exists in projects from every length, from 110-page screenplays to 60-minute television pilots, down to 5-minute short scripts. Planning before execution is always a first, valuable step.

What can be deceiving here is the length. A 60-minute television pilot is often more complex in terms of planning because there is an implied connection of a pilot to additional episodes in the series. Planning a television script project goes far beyond the first hour.

Once the story is mapped out the writing begins. The time required for the actual writing of a screenplay can range from one month to six, depending on the complexity of the length and intensity of the project as well as the connection between the ghostwriter and client.

Genre matters in a screenplay project, too, because it connects to length. At a ratio of one page per minute, most screenplays run 110 pages. Comedy and horror screenplays, for some reason, are acceptable down to 90 pages, while genres like historical, science-fiction and fantasy run longer, say 125-135 pages.

As a ghostwriter for hire, I rarely quote less than two months. That is the shortest possible amount of time.

Once the screenplay has been written, I like to give my client a chance to read it. After all, they have trusted me with their vision and paid handsomely for the work. It only makes sense that they would get to proof their work.

This can take a considerable amount of time. But it is, in my estimation, time well spent as often the best work comes in the re-writing phase.

Screenplay Ghostwriter For Hire: How Are Costs Determined?

Now that we understand what goes into a screenplay, the steps, and the ideal length, it’s easier to break down the typical costs.

If you research rates based on the Writers Guild of America, which represents screenwriters around the world, they recommend a range of costs between $76,341 and $143,319 for a completed feature-length screenplay.

That is a staggering number. It’s enough to make you want to turn around and shut the door.

But that is the union’s recommended number for members of their organization. The reality is, a very small percentage of working screenwriters are members of the WGA, which frees a screenplay ghostwriter for hire up to offer costs that are far more competitive for the budget-conscious client.

In my practice, I like to quote a range in price.

For a feature-length screenplay, I generally charge in the range of $18,500 to $24,000 for a completed project. This is from the story development phases, through writing, and a re-write based on client feedback.

For television scripts, I generally charge $8,000 for a 30-minute pilot episode and $12,500 for a 60-minute pilot episode.

On short scripts, I always say, contact me to discuss the project. Short scripts are a labor of love, often made on a shoestring. Budget for a script often comes at the cost of production values and, I don’t know, food for the crew.

As a screenplay ghostwriter for hire, what matters most to me is offering flexible pricing that is responsive to client needs. That is why I cite general price ranges, sometimes the project is simpler than typical and other times, it’s longer and more complex.

Get in touch with me today. I am certain we can make something work.

If you would like to read more on the topic of screenplay ghostwriter services, check out these additional articles.

The Best Screenwriting Software

How To Write A Screenplay

Screenplay Ghostwriter Services

What Goes Into A Screenplay Adaptation? – Ask A Ghostwriter

Proper Screenplay Formatting – Ask A Ghostwriter

What Goes Into Hiring Screenplay Ghostwriters

Free “How To Hire A Ghostwriter” eBook

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I so adamantly believe that knowing how to conduct a ghostwriting interview is a bedrock of success that I wrote a book about it.

While this book doesn’t necessarily cover screenplay ghostwriter costs as this blog does, it does serve as an ideal primer for developing a professional mentality to bring to your writing.

If you would like a complimentary copy of How To Hire A Ghostwriter: Your Guide To Finding The Best Pro For Your Project all you have to do is click and download.

If you have read this book, like it, and found it helpful, please share it with some of your fellow writers and take a moment to review it either on GoodReads or Amazon.

How Do I Contact You?

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If you are serious about hiring a fiction editor or having your book, screenplay or non-fiction story professionally written by a ghostwriter, or you need self-publishing help, please contact me via email, or call.

Every new contact receives a free 30-minute 1:1 consultation about their ghostwriting project or manuscript consultation.

Additionally, I offer all independent and self-publishing authors a 10% discount on my already affordable services.

Erick MertzWhat Should A Feature Length Screenplay Cost?

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  • Mofopefoluwa Joseph - 04/15/2022 reply

    I am planning to hire a screenplay writer for my book which has been approved for acquisition by a top entertainment company in Los Angeles.

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