How Much Do Writers get Paid for a Pilot?

T.V writer money is a different ball game when it comes to finances than a feature film writer money.

In this post, you will learn:

  • How much writers get paid for pilots.
  • The most a writer has ever reported earning. 
  • Where you can find more information like this.

Let’s get into it. 

How much do T.V. writers get paid for a pilot script? According to the W.G.A (Writers Guild of America), you can earn $62,812 – $709,250 for a 60-minute T.V. pilot during prime time. With an average of $157,500. 

For a 30-minute pilot, you can earn between $42,708 – $525,250, with an average of $105,000 during prime time.

These numbers are spread because $709,250 is the highest reported earnings, with $41,875 being the minimum. Meaning no prime-time spot (8:00 pm – 11:00 pm) can pay you less than $62,812 for a 60-minute T.V. pilot script.

What are Prime-time Networks that Pay this much? 

  • ABC 
  • CBS
  • NBC
  • FOX
  • CW

Take a look at the breakdown from the W.G.A below. 

Prime Time Deals
Non Prime Time Deals

As you can see, the payment goes way beyond the script itself. And non Prime-time deals pay more in extras and bonuses.

What are these other parts, and what do they mean?

Pilot Script: The money received for writing the story + teleplay. 

Pilot Producing Fee: Negotiated by your agent is an executive producing role in creating your T.V. show. It doesn’t always happen, but it is very likely to. 

Episodic Fee: Money received per episode created written. 

Series sale Bonus: Money received after your sales are finalized. 

Pilot Script Money Breakdown

You are paid depending on your part in the creation of the script in the credits of Story and Teleplay.

Story: The idea, dilemma, scenario.

Teleplay: The written script.

Most of the time, the writer is the story creator and vice versa. But sometimes, the network might bring in an experienced writer to take the reigns of a story that an inexperienced screenwriter is working on.

Keep in mind the Final payments for these are 150% higher for the one-time pilot script payment. The final amounts highlighted are the minimums screenwriters receive per episode.

Please visit the W.G.A’s website for more information on payments and questions beyond this.

Now its time to hear from you:

Did I miss anyhting?

Did you have any questions beyond these answer’s?

Whatever your answers are lets hear them in the comments below.

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