Screenwriting : Screenwriting Software by Kayte ODell

Kayte ODell

Screenwriting Software

Does it work and is it worthwhile to use??

Ian O'Neill

I've tried free and cheap screenwriting software but since I picked up Final Draft, I've been far more focused on writing and less on formatting. Movie Magic or Final Draft, both let you concentrate on story and that is well worth the cost. I hope this helps. Cheers, Ian

Renovatio Movies

LoVe lOvE love Final Draft! Good story is good story. But try to get it read when it's not formatted properly and you're in for an uphill battle. We both use Final Draft. It's a wonderful industry standard. It's a time saver and you can simply concentrate on story instead of the proper indent or space between sections. But if you absolutely can't get your hands on either program, get a copy of "The Hollywood Standard" by Christopher Riley. It'll give you all the information you need to format your script. Happy writing! ツ

Karen Keslen

I use Celtx or Word even

Mark Ratering

People get all uptight about formatting but I guess they feel it;s a prodessial thing. If I can get my great idea across I'm good.

Alex Sarris

I have an Ipad with a bluetooth keyboard and recently downloaded Final Draft Writer and it is brilliant. I can take it anywhere and write then and there. Wouldn't look back !!!!!

Thomas R. Monette

Hi Kayte! To answer your question, I say it is a resounding yes. I personally own Final Draft and Movie Magic Screenwriter. They now are virtually identical pieces of software and you wouldn't go wrong with either. Of course, Celtx is free and has other production features that also make it highly attractive and fairly easy to use. Personally, I do all my brainstorming, development and first drafts in Scrivener (It's a gem) then when I start to really polish and perfect I export everything into Final Draft. Any revisions after my first draft are also done in Final Draft. Hope this helps.

Dustin Bowcott

I use Open Office by Apache and the screenwriting template. Both are free and you can use them on a windows OS. I may look into some real screenwriting software though, just to see what they have to offer.

Kayte ODell

Awesome! Thanks for all the good feedback. Yes, I am one of those concerned with getting the formatting correct. Especially as I am just starting out converting some written work to screenplay format. Open to any good tips for that!!

Dustin Bowcott

Use a template. Microsoft word has one too.

Robert P. Davenport II

Movie Magic! Having software that is formatted to industry standards is essential for a starting writer. I saw a video of John Millius talking about a USC film school professor of his who would fail students for not adhering to industry standard formatting. The professor was quoted as saying "You might not have anything worthwhile to say but you'll at least demonstrate that you know how to write properly."

Mark Ratering

I agree with what everybody says unless then fund their own projects like me. I am happy to have a script the way I want unless I have a partner that demands a formatted script then I have friends like Dan who save my behind !!!!

Calvin Vanderbeek

Most of my writer friends use Final Draft. As a writer/producer, I like Movie Magic because I can link it to my production software when we have to breakdown the script for production. If we get a script that's not formatted correctly, it usually ends up in the trash can. $200 for software is a small price to pay when your career is riding on it...

Dustin Bowcott

You don't need to pay for correct formatting. Why pay for something you can get for free?

Mark Ratering

what do you use dustin

Bill Mackie

Celtx is a great tool. If you are co-writing with a heavy hitter in Hollywood you need Final Draft. But even seasoned Final Draft pros seem to hate the latest version.

Dustin Bowcott

Open Office and the screenwriting template that you download as an add on. Both are free.

Richard "RB" Botto

Movie Magic has its fans. I am a Final Draft advocate. As many have mentioned before, I want to concentrate on the writing, not the formatting. FD is simple, fairly idiot proof (which I appreciate), and, at least with the latest versions, pretty much bug free. And make no mistake, for a writer trying to break in, formatting is enormously important. When you hit it big, you can write your scripts in crayon on a napkin. Until then, believe me, if an agent or manager sees bad formatting on page 1, they're not reading to page 2.

Michael Knight

I use Adobe Story and for me it's amazing because it integrates with all my video software to sync scenes and dialogue with actual shot footage (in editing) and I can collaborate with other people. It's free, and there's also a paid version with extra features. So to answer your question, yeah it's worthwhile. Writing by hand or using Microsoft Word would just be a nightmare.

Michael Glen Montague

Because I don't do much screenwriting, I use Microsoft Word 2000 to write scripts. This article shows how to set up a screenwriting template in Microsoft Word:

Calvin Vanderbeek

Ditto on everything RB said...

Philip Sedgwick

Just as a point of balance, I have Final Draft and Movie Magic. Movie Magic, for me, is a thousand times better and in at least a hundred ways. I write in Final Draft only when I have to do so. Often I put the script on the page in MM and flip to FD at the end. FD is pretty awkward in my observation. I'm off the opinion that FD as the industry standard is a talking point. Look at what has been written and by whom on MM. Some template add-ons to non-industry programs may work, but FD and MM have industry sensitive format checkers built in. But hey, write in what gets your pages turning best for you.

Dustin Bowcott

why invest in something that simply formats? Software programs are there to trap unwary noobs. @Matt Hughes, what is it about Open Office that is so despicable? Very harsh word choice, IMO. Unless you can explain it of course, using OO myself, I'm interested in what you find so despicable about the software?

Kayte ODell

Thanks for the feedback! I checked out the Open Office template (I like OO) but it didn't seem too intuitive to me. Currently liking Celtx for this particular project, but I think I'll end up with Final Draft based on all this great info! Thanks to all!!!

Kirby Britten

Hi Kayte! I have used Final Draft for years and all of my friends with the WGA personally endorses, Final Draft. Yes they work tremendously. With professional software your worries for structure and mechanics are gone. You get to focus on what really matters- telling your story. Movie Magic is another respected industry standard to use, also . I am currently using the latest/greatest version of FD and I find it much easier to navigate through the formatting menus. Make writing fun!!

Jeremy Sony

Hi Kayte, I use Final Draft for both screenplays and stage plays. I was using Word for years, but switched a few years ago and love it. Mostly for the ease in formatting and the time it saves me. I also like using some of the report features in FD to track character interaction, appearance, and dialogue to scene description ratio. But I'm also the guy who geeks out on website analytics, so there's that.

Dustin Bowcott

You haven't upset me Matt. I was just trying to figure out if I'd made a bad move by using the software. It seems to work fine for me.

Julian Nabunya

to asnwer the question , screen writting soft ware is worthy it , why because it saves time , and for fisrt timer , you learn how to format by your self . but if its digging deeper into your pocket , then you can resolve to free soft ware like celtex , for me i have been using it for the last few years , but i have not gott'n any problem yet , its compatable to final draft , movie magic , you just import the screenplay , then its formatted , and if i need to send my screen play to some one that does n't use any of this , i just type set it into pdf file and send . however to be in class of screen writer , its worthy $200-300 pay . thanks Julian Nabunya

Patrick Stephan Marshall

People who are not involved in the production side of things often forget how important the formatting of scripts is, as it directly translates into time. 1 page, 1 minute. Many producers will use this scale to flip through scripts, find specific script and plot points, arc breaks and key moments etc. And if this specific points are not in the right place, they will not even read the script. So writing in the proper standards is important and if you can use a tool that helps you to keep this format, you should use it. I personally use Celtx, because it is more than just a script writing tool and I like the open source component of it. But that is a personal choice and they all do pretty much the same, keep your written words in a format everyone in this industry understands.

Anthony Mouasso

I 've written with celtx for five years now. Celtx is a real pain to rewrite with. I switched to Scrivener and Final Draft for the finishing line...

Dustin Bowcott

1 page of script doesn't equate to 1 minute of film. We've just filmed an 8 page script and it runs for 13 minutes. A good screenwriter can fit a lot into a small space.

Joshua Maislin

what do people think of newer options like FadeIn and WriterDuet?

Anthony Mouasso

Personally, I am not really comfortable writing directly on the cloud with online application such as WriterDuet. Oups I wrote that too quickly. if the conversions are really well done, I might give it a shot.

Anthony Mouasso

Like "they" say, the devil is in the details... Even agnostic as I am, I like to work with something functional. But if you see any integrist out there, religiously stating that, their software is God incarnated, I'll get out of the way very fast and let you work it out... :)

Elizabeth Morrison

I use Celtx and have no complaints!

Michael Dougal

Celtx is what I started with then I bought Movie Magic and love it.

Joseph Chastain

If you're going to use free software use Trelby, it's way better than celtx.

W. Keith Sewell

I disagree, Celtx is simple and straight forward, and treats you like you know what you're doing, rather than make structure suggestions and hold your hand through the whole process.

Joseph Chastain

Celtx also always is wrong when it comes to page length. Many professional writers and producers have complained about this for years.

Dustin Bowcott

Have they? I've never heard of page count being complained about. It defies logic. Page count isn't that important within this context.

A. S. Templeton

Page count not important? 120 pages is the magic cutoff for almost all competitions. More than that is usually disallowed, or they charge $/page. From a writer's perspective, running too many pages is a tipoff that one's writing desperately needs tightening. So sorry, accurate page count matters.

Jody Ellis

Page count can mean the difference between a script getting read or getting discarded. The industry (and society in general these days) has a very short attention span and is quick to move onto the next shiny thing. Nobody has time or inclination to read a 150 page script from an unknown writer.

In regards to the original question, you have to use some kind of screenwriting software if you want your script to be formatted properly. I've heard of people using word to format, but I think that is a waste of time and energy. Why do that when you can get software that does it for you so you can concentrate on story? Makes no sense to me.

Bill Costantini

Jody: I take GREAT OFFENSE with your statement about the industry and society having a very short attention span. That is one of the worst....OH LOOK, a Wheel of Fortune rerun is on the USA Network......

Dustin Bowcott

Within the context of the discussion, I was referring to the way Celtx counts the pages. For example, a 90-page screenplay in Celtx, could be an 87-page screenplay in FD.

What's wrong with you people just picking on keywords? Read and understand the context before replying. It'll save you looking stupid.

Jody Ellis

Wow Dustin, no need to be rude and insulting, that was kind of uncalled for.

And the supposedly minor differential in page count between programs can matter quite a bit, depending on what one plans to do with their script.

Dustin Bowcott

I wasn't rude. I merely responded to your rudeness. You misread what I said and then rudely corrected me. That makes you look stupid.

Now you're talking a whole load of crap that's just making you look even more stupid.

Don't shoot the messenger.

Jody Ellis

Even if I misunderstood your context, I don't see how my response was rude, or even incorrect for that matter. Page count, even by a few pages, can matter, depending on what one intends to do with the script.

Now, referring to people as stupid, that's rude.

Doug Nelson

Spec script page count does indeed matter - you just read that from a reader.

Dan Guardino

Dustin. The one page equals one minute of screenwriting theory has been around for decades and some producers do pass on scripts that are too short or too long.

Dan Guardino

Dustin. Jody is far from stupid and there is no reason for personal attacks.

Dustin Bowcott

I didn't say anyone was stupid. I said that what they were saying makes them look stupid. Even now the context is being changed to suit. Within context, we were talking about how different screenwriting software applications will format to different page lengths. Clearly, even if this is happening, it isn't going to be by much... certainly not enough to have such a drastic effect on page count that it will get thrown in the bin.

I suppose it's silly of me to expect people to think for themselves without needing lengthy explanations.

Lisa Clemens

I've ben hired a few times in a work-for-hire and one option, three different producers. All have asked me for the "final draft document" (FDX) including one who always asks me to make it an FDR - that makes the FDX my Final Draft 9 makes into a version that will work for him because he still uses Final Draft 7. The only time I'm asked for the PDF version is before they are happy with the script. When they want the "final draft" they do ask for it IN Final Draft. They need the final draft version to make the production script for the script supervisor etc. and it is easier to have the same program they use. So when you go pro, go Final Draft.

Lisa Clemens

And now that I've seen the thread was started 5years ago (!!) and has dissolved into this...I'll be getting back to work. Lesson learned, find more relaxing ways to take a break than wasting time here LOL!

Dan Guardino

Dustin. I agree if the difference isn’t much it won’t make any difference. When someone says something like page count doesn’t matter it can change the direction of the conversation. That happens all the time here.

Aray Brown

Agree with RB on this one. My first screenwriting software I ever used was FD. Later I broke away from it to experience Movie Magic. Both are user friendly and get the job done. FD 's interface is more professional looking. Both are industry standard but FD is the better choice in my opinion. Regarding other software (Celtx, Fade In, etc.,) as long as the formatting is on point and you write the damn thing, it doesn't matter. It's about personal preference and comfortability

A. S. Templeton

At least use an app that can export to .fdx.

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