December 19, 2018

What's A Ghostwriter in Hollywood?

Ghostwriters are even more prevalent than you think in Hollywood.

As we all know, credit in Hollywood doesn’t always go to the writer person. With some many people collaborating on one thing, it can be hard to figure out who gets what. Everyone wants the praise, and no one wants the blame.

That’s where ghostwriters come into play.

Today we’re going to go over what it means to be a ghostwriter in Hollywood, how they function within the system, what ghostwriters actually do, and also how to be a ghostwriter.

What Is A Ghostwriter in Hollywood?

There are two versions of ghostwriting in Hollywood.

The first version is a novelist who comes in to work with a personality, to help craft their autobiography or memoir. Those ghostwriters are usually novelists who work for a flat fee. They can be provided by the book publishing company or sought out privately.

The second ghostwriter in Hollywood would come in at the screenplay level. We’re not talking about Script Doctors, who are hired by the studio, but about someone who comes in and does the work and lets someone else take the credit.

Screenwriting Ghostwriters in Hollywood

Yes, there is a cottage industry in Hollywood of people writing things and having other people put their names on them.

The fact is, a lot of people overcommit in Hollywood. They book a ton of assignments and don’t have the time to do them.

Or maybe they are trying to build out their personal brand and need someone to polish their stuff, but don’t want to share credit.

While this sounds unsavory, it can be a good way to make money while you’re trying to make a name for yourself in Hollywood.

Supporting yourself can be hard, especially when you need time to write or work on other parts of your career. This is paid practice.

You can hone your skills in different genres, make connections, and get a chance to see how people work at a high level.

How To Get A Ghostwriting Job

To get a ghostwriting job, you’re going to need lots of connections. Or you could create a website and advertise your writing skills.

Still, if you’re paying someone to write for you, you want to make sure they can sound like you. A lot of ghostwriting is about emulating a distinct style.

If you need a ghostwriter, you’re going to want to look for someone who can not only capture your voice but can also keep their mouth shut.

Which, coincidentally, is sort of the plot of the Roman Polanski movie, The Ghost Writer.

The Best Ghostwriters

If you want to learn how to be a ghostwriter, take a tip from the best ghostwriters... and remain anonymous.

The only way to make those high ghostwriting fees is to build a level of trust with your clients, work fast, and continue the relationship.

Ghostwriting is so popular, they even made a kids’ television show about it.

So what’s the downside of ghostwriting?

The Downsides of Being a Ghostwriter

Remember those kids in high school that used to cheat off your homework, and then get a better grade?

That’s basically what some ghostwriting can be.

Because your best work can be produced anonymously, it can be hard to keep your own career on track. Also, it's not like those ghostwriting jobs can go at the top of your resume. If you have to drive revenue by word of mouth, how are you supposed to get more clients if no one is talking about you? 

These are all definite downsides, but it's important to remember that when you're ghostwriting for other people, you need to also be working on your own material to show around. 

After all, sometimes the best way to get someone interested in you writing their idea is to do great work on your own. 

Summing Up ‘What Is A Ghostwriter?’

Being a ghostwriter in Hollywood is not easy. You have to really pound the pavement, handle your own schedule, and hope word of your work travels. 

For now, it's your best bet to get really great at screenwriting, and hope your work speaks for itself. 

That may mean joining our free screenwriting seminar or just polishing your latest pilot

We can't wait to read what you come up with next. 

If you have ghostwriting stories, share them in the comments!      

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