At one time, actors would get their start in television and then move on to movies. That was when television actors had lower status than movie actors.
Nowadays, many movie actors are gravitating towards television shows because television is where the action is, especially with movie theaters shut down during the current pandemic. There’s a huge difference between creating a television show and creating a movie from a screenplay.
With a screenplay, you’re creating a world and telling a complete story where a hero changes emotionally and becomes a better person. By the end of a movie, we may want to see more of the characters, but their story is still complete and satisfying.
With a television series, your’e creating a world with multiple characters where their story is rarely ever finished. Each season may show characters changing and each episode may tell a complete story, but there’s always a cliffhanger to keep us waiting for the next episode.
So the huge difference between a teleplay and a screenplay is that a teleplay is meant to create a big world and tell us one of many stories within that world like “Game of Thrones.” A screenplay can also create a big world but it focuses on telling a single story within that world like “Star Wars.”
Notice that “Star Wars” has been turned into an animated series along with a TV series as well, but the original “Star Wars” told a single story while the TV series uses that same world but focuses on other characters.
When you write a television show, you’re working with multiple writers in a far more collaborative effort than a screenplay. While a screenwriter might write the entire screenplay alone, they often get feedback from producers, directors, and actors along with other writers.
Still, a screenplay largely tells one story while leaving open the possibility of more stories. A television series must always leave open the possibility of more stories by not telling having the main characters solve their main problem.
Television is the new Hollywood, especially with theaters shut down and streaming taking off. Just a decade ago, Netflix and Hulu were tiny streaming services that the big networks ignored. Now Netflix and Hulu dominate the streaming world with Disney+ and Apple TV.
In the meantime, the movie industry has remained largely the same without reaching the same number of people as streaming television shows have.
For now, the greatest opportunities have switched from movies to television, but you still need to know how to write a compelling story. So pursue either or both television and movies. After all, a good story will be needed whatever medium you write for.