Screenwriting : Best Software for Screenwriting? by Dale Leatherman

Dale Leatherman

Best Software for Screenwriting?

I'm Dale Ann Leatherman. I wrote a book that's currently under option, with a major talent attached. The script is being written by a "pro" in the business. I'd like to try my hand at writing a script (different story), and am assuming it would help if I use some software for formatting, etc. Any recommendations?

Sam Borowski

I absolutely agree with David. I use Final Draft myself and am a Brand Ambassador (they often hire writer-filmmakers at the pro level to represent the Brand). But, to be fair, I've used it for 19 years now - since it's early years, when I had to pay $300 for my original version. Still, that was money well spent. Also, Final Draft hires writers to work as customer reps when you need tech support or have a question about the software. (I always thought this was brilliant, long before I ever sold a single script or was a Brand Ambassador.) You can now download it right off the web-site and you usually get two computers that it can be on at any given time. I hope this helps you. GOD BLESS and STAY FRESH! ;)

Lukas Flemming

I use FD, as well; it has a great collaboration feature and the support is quick and awesome. I am having trouble with omitted scenes on my Mac, but that‘s a minor inconvenience. While I‘m not sure if “industri standard” is the right term, as most screenplays are submitted either as a pdf or in physical form, if I understand correctly, it is most certainly the most popular. It also has a great beatboard which is especially handy for sepc’ scripting...

Dawn Gonchar

From my screenwriting network; most of us use either Final Draft or Movie Magic. The general discussion has been that Final Draft may be more widely used; but has had many bugs and upgrades. Movie Magic is said to be more stable; although that's because they haven't updated it since 2010(?)

One way or the other, others say it is fairly easy to import/export the files from one to the other.

Aray Brown

Fade In

Robert Franklin

I use Fade In....No probs

Dale Leatherman

I appreciate the input from all of you. Thanks!

Sam Borowski

A. S. Templeton I will say this the nicest way possible: You really should choose your words more wisely. I don't appreciate you using the word "bribe." Also, for the record, I disclosed that I was a Brand Ambassador and never hid it. Moreover, I have ONLY ever used Final Draft as I said above, beginning 19 years ago when I paid between $300 and $399 for it. I actually met Mark Madnick at the Cannes Film Festival before I ever sold my first script. They did a screenwriter's workshop that I enjoyed. I went up and spoke to him. Something like 16 years later, he remembered me (now that is a genuine person!) and our conversation when I became a Brand Ambassador. Also, some constructive crtiticism, you should be looking to make friends and connections on here, not insulting others. You could have said take what I say with a grain of salt - that's fine. But using the word "bribe," is very harsh. In addition, I only ever do my very best to help young talent. I don't get paid to be on here. And, I've produced 13 pictures and worked with two Oscar-Winners and multiple Oscar-Nominees to date. Why would you insult me? One of the reasons I am a Brand Ambassador? Honestly? I believe in the product. I was already using the product before I was ever approached to be a Brand Ambassador. I love the product and the company has only ever been wonderful to me. I can't think of a better reason to cheerlead for a brand. I hope you can see how your use of the word "bribe" was wrong. I am always here to offer advice to others, even you should you ever wish it.

Lukas Flemming

Just an off-topic question, if I may: is anyone familiar with Scrivener, maybe you, Dale Leatherman ? I‘m currently editing memoirs of a war refugee in 1945 and I just got the iPad version of Scrivener since it was recommended and now I‘m wondering if I should invest into the desktop version. The layout of the iOS app doesn’t half remind me of the FinalDraft app...

Travis Sharp

Ohhhh, snap! Aint no fight like a screenwriting software fight.

Doug Nelson

My Final Draft can beat up your Fade In. Let's you & him fight.

Frankly, no one gives a da*n what software you use - just learn to use it well.

Aray Brown

Fade In Pro is so much better than Final Draft! But Doug is right, it doesn' t really matter which one you go with. Both are the industry standard in my opinion. I will say this, it's cost effective for those who are on the budgeting side. And its so easy to import/export final draft files. I haven't had any problems with it so far.

Sam Borowski

A. S. Templeton, if I were you, I'd be careful what you say to others in the business.

Sam Borowski

A. S. Templeton , On another note, may we see your IMDb page? Any trailers of your movies? WHO have you worked with? Also, very professional profile picture. Apparently you're not that keen on branding yourself correctly. No, really, though, may we see your IMDb page? Mine is clear as day, as are Oscar-Winners I have worked with. (Yup when you're successful you can name drop, when you have no credits - not so much.) There's a link right on my Stage 32 page, so feel free to peruse. YOU, BTW, are the poster child for what NOT to do in the business. But, then again, most trolls don't make it. Pay attention folks. Would you rather make movies, get distribution and get paid to work in this business or just be a keyboard warrior with an attitude? I think we all know the answer to that one.

David Niall Wilson

Wow... that escalated. Pretty sure you can still do a workable screenplay with template in Word if you are so inclined. Software battles always crack me up. Almost all of them have trial versions you can test out - see what you are comfortable with and like. I've been a Network Engineer (on top of other things) for several decades. I used to get into this same sort of thing with Word vs. Word Perfect, and it comes down to what will distract you the least from being creative and help you the most in your process. I use Final Draft because when I first decided to write scripts, the people I knew who wrote scripts used it, and it made collaborating easier. I know equally brilliant folks who swear by Movie Magic. Have not experienced Fade In, but I bet it works fine. Just as a comic aside, my IMDB page only has one entry on it... but I'm an award-winning and USA Today bestselling author... I have a cool profile pic...

Darren Brown

Dale,

I use Final Draft which is one of the industry standards.

Philip Sedgwick

Maybe get the software compatible with your "pro?" I prefer Movie Magic for a multitude of reasons. But if you're going to be serious about writing, ultimately you will need Final Draft. As a starter, FadeInPro is a solid choice. Under $100.

Dan Guardino

Like Philip I prefer Movie Magic but was sort of forced to use Final Draft because people I worked with seem to use Final Draft. If I was starting out today I would probably go with one of the free or cheap software programs and then buy Final Draft if I was going to get serious about screenwriting and stick with it.

Philip Sedgwick

A.S. As I perceive it, without uncertainty, doubt or fear, Movie Magic is the best screenwriting software available. However, if you are going to work in the industry, Final Draft will be a necessity. Be advised that sometimes exports to .fdx from other software platforms do not read correctly in FD. It is advisable to review the converted .fdx file before sending it out, which must be done in FD.

For the record, I am not a Final Draft fan or true believer - it has been headache upon headache over the years.

What Dan says above.

FadeInPro is a fabulous program.

I am curious - but not enough so to reply to another post - why is True Believer capitalized and true believer of what, and what software grants you the codex of my emotional state in a post? Get an upgrade - or a different software. Your read of my emotional state is incorrect.

Bye-bye now. I'm on a deadline.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Final Draft. I've used it for years now. Great program. Easy to use. Its efficient pre-settings are conducive for effective work flow so I can focus on creating not formatting. It also has production features for breaking down scripts, etc, for easy collaboration with others, script development, etc, hence its common use industry-wide. Dale, I suggest utilizing trial versions to see which program you like best. For me, Final Draft was well worth the small investment as I'm operating on a tight budget. ;) I also suggest getting a hard copy of The Screenwriter's Bible by David Trottier. It's a good reference book to have on hand to help you with any writing tool, device, or formatting question that you may have. :) Good luck! And happy writing!

Doug Nelson

...An the beat goes on & on & on...

Beth Fox Heisinger

Yup, people new to screenwriting have similar questions and seek opinions and insights. Dale, just to add... you can also do a general search by topic in the Lounge. All related threads will be shown. As Doug implies... screenwriting software is an often-talked-about-and-debated subject. Lots of previous threads to peruse. Best to you!

Dan Guardino

Laura.Thanks. That is good to know.

Dale Leatherman

I really appreciate every thought contributed here. I'll try a couple of demos, as suggested. Sorry to have caused a kerfluffle. Glad I didn't ask about March Madness team favs.

Dan Guardino

You didn't cause a kerfluffle other people did that all on their own.

John Iannucci

I use final draft because I bought in but having fade in I don’t know why I bought it. LOL both are very good

John Ellis

David Niall Wilson - great comic aside! Well played, in the midst of this kerfluffle!

Sam Borowski

@David Niall Wilson , I salute you for your accomplishments as an author - as well they should be. Unfortunately, your IMDb page is how the industry will judge you in terms of getting work as a screenwriter or filmmaker. You can mock me all you want. Bottom line, in addition to only having one credit, you have no profile picture, no bio, no reason for anyone to get interested in you - just speaking professionally, not being mean-spirited. But, you threw yourself into this "kerfluffle," and it's great that you impressed John Ellis, but again, what is wrong with being professional? That was my point. And, I was responding to A.S. Templeton who came at me with some serious words such as "bribes." But, I won't back off of my professional belief that if you don't do the bare minimum, you aren't doing enough in this industry. Again, your IMDb page, in addition to only having one credit, doesn't have any personality. No picture. No Bio., No Trivia. Nothing. To me - and I am just echoing what MANY in the industry already feel - the IMDb page is like a resume. And, yours is pretty bare. Not only in terms of movie experience - and again, I say this NOT to discourage or disrespect you in any way, but you yourself decided to pen a humorous post poking fun at what I said - but in terms of who you are as a writer or filmmaker. Now, as an author - very accomplished I give that to you. Moreover, I salute you! But, here we're talking about screenwriting and my point was to do everything in a professional manner, that's all. Even, the screenwriting software you use or your profile picture. And, it's been my experience that the people that leave the most sarcastic comments, often don't have an IMDb page to die for. And, for the record, I am talking in general terms, not against you. But, I do thank you for the engaging dialogue.

David Niall Wilson

Sam, I'm not mocking anyone, but I have known a lot of entertainment people, workplace people, writers, etc... when you lead with how important you are, and that becomes something you are going to argue over, it sounds pompous, not impressive. Well aware I am not an anybody in the screen business - just think maybe leaving your advice and turning the virtual other cheek when a simple discussion turns into a ridiculous argument is probably a good idea.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Dale, no kerfluffle! Thank you for posting! I hope you did find this discussion helpful. :) Best to you!

Sam Borowski

David Niall Wilson I appreciate your comments. They are thoughtful and I thank you for them. I perhaps may have misread your first post. It was not my intention to state this is how important I am, though I will NEVER apologize for being PROUD of my credits or doing things in a professional way. My next BLOG here - IRONICALLY, LOL< written before any of this - is on just that, professionalism and I think it will be an interesting read for everyone and I DO HOPE you will look out for it. My only issues were with what was said to me by the above A.S. Templeton. I don't have a problem with someone preferring another program over Final Draft, even if I disagree with them. HOWEVER, saying I take bribes is very harsh and uncalled for. And, FD is considered the industry standard, no matter how many people disagree. Also, I'm proud of my connection with them, as I said, Marc Madnick is a very classy, genuine person. Think about it, when I met him in Cannes something like 16 years ago, I was an unknown writer who hadn't produced anything. When we had a conversation maybe three or four years ago? It was approximately 13 years after I had met him - he had remembered me and that's when I was made a Brand Ambassador. And, I watched him give out free copies of Final Draft at the Cannes Film Festival 16 years ago. That's a genuine person AND I have ALWAYS used ONLY FD for screenwriting! You can bet I'm going to champion the company! Honestly, you seem like a very good guy, David and I meant it - and do mean it - when I say Thank You for this dialogue. GOD BLESS and STAY FRESH, my friend! ;)

David Niall Wilson

A. S.... not going to respond after this, because the entire thread got hijacked by nonsense, but I have to say... if you were thinking any of your posts were going to show Sam in a bad light, and yourself in a good one... not so much.

Sarah Gabrielle Baron

Just to play devil's advocate I'm totally loving using writerduet.com It's FREE and so easy to use, can be accessed from anywhere anytime (it's all 'in the cloud') and I haven't even seen the bells and whistles available if you pay to upgrade to Pro.

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