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Screenwriting : Screenwriting Software by Mark Davis

Mark Davis

Screenwriting Software

I've tried to do the research on my own and have come up lacking a good solid conclusion. So I decided to see if you kind folks at Stage32 can help me make a good and wise decision as it relates to software selection. I've seen Final Draft mentioned a lot however it is a bit pricy for someone new to the industry. Celtx seems to be cloud based and I have an aversion to cloud base products especially if I have to pay monthly for them. Trelby I'm a little nervous about since the last update seems to have been done in 2012. WriterDuet seems to be free if I want it to be. Fade in Seems to be reasonably priced. My question is which of these should I take a chance on? Or is there other programs out there that are better suited for a novice screenwriter with a low budget? Oh I have a Windows 7 machine and I'm NOT going to upgrade to 10 :)

Hunter Vogt

I use Trelby and I think it works great.

Craig D Griffiths

I use Celtx on my iPad and on the cloud. I have Celtx Card and Celtx Script on my iPad and it makes for a pretty seemless workflow. Every time I open the app it syncs to the cloud so I have a back up on my iPad of the cloud work. When I have finished working on the iPad I just sync and I know nothing is ever lost. I can even email a PDF of my work for version control from my iPad. Super simple.

Stuart Wright

Fade in is wonderfully fast and can read all the other file types... Final draft, celtx etc

Pierre Langenegger

I use FD on a Mac

CJ Walley

Try all the demos you can and see what works best for your writing and your situation.

Cherie Grant

Yeah FD on Mac for me too.

Jean-Pierre Chapoteau

MovieMagic on PC

David Levy

I use Final Draft on Mac and FD is having a summer sales right now. I think it is $80 off

Elizabeth Logan

I use Celtx on my PC. Does everything you need it to and is free.

Jan Evans

I use FD on a Mac, and also the FD app on my iPad. I've never used anything else. Well, actually, years ago I used Scriptware, but do they even make it anymore? I don't think so.

Donell Jones

I think Celtx is a good software, i use it on my MacBook.

Jon Tu

I write with Celtx

Bill Costantini

Imagne the horrors that befell the writers who were using that free software on the scripped.com (I think that was the name) after it came a-crashing down. What a tragedy. I know...even on a cloud-supported system, you should still back up your data on a hard drive...and an external hard drive...and email it to yourself....but that was just plain sad and nasty. As an aside...I would be really surprised if at this point in time another company introduces a new screenwriting software product. I can't imagine how Final Draft, Movie Magic Screenwriter, Fade In, Movie Outline, Storyist, Scrivener, Slugline, etc.... can all financially survive. It must be pretty cheap to create a screenwriting software package.

Jan Evans

This exactly, Sylvester.

A. S. Templeton

As a writer's app, Fade In keeps getting better and better. No frills, can add synopses per scene, highly customizable but defaults work for the most part. Can always export to .fdx if and (hopefully when) it enter the first stages of production.

Alan Tregoning

I use final draft and have for years. I started with a used copy of FD5 I picked up on ebay for around $70. That being said, if you have microsoft word there are some screenplay format templates for word floating around the web for free. Do some googling and you should find them. Directions to set it up yourself are here: http://www.awn.com/blog/how-turn-microsoft-word-terrific-screenwriting-p...

Mark Davis

Thank you for the replies :) Yes I'm at the point of getting my feet wet so I'm a little leery about spending $ in a program that I may use a few times and go nah this isn't really for me :) Thank you Alan for pointing out the link to do a word template. In my research it said that office had one and when I went there it was gone but then again the article was published about 2008. I've set up the template and now all I have to do now is to find some time and start writing :)

Brian Walsh

Hi Mark. Welcome. I use FD9. Like you, I'm starting out, and had the same reservations about putting out money for software and would I get my 'money's worth' out of it. What tipped the scales for me is that FD is really the industry standard right now and is used by many professionals. I want to be one of those people one day, and it just makes sense that if I'm going to be serious and really follow through on this then I should be familiar with the tools that are being used. I'm still learning about the software and finding new things in it, but I think it was worth the money I paid. Yes, if you're a writer, it's your words that are most important, but if want to be part of a professional community, you also need to know what they're doing and how they're working. So, that, in a brief nutshell, is why I decided to go that route. In the end, do what's best for you and your goals, and only you can make that decision.

Boomer Murrhee

I'm an avid FD user. I jumped in with both feet a few years ago with no regrets. I found it worth the investment, it allows me to focus more on my story and less on formatting. There are also some name, dictionary and thesaurus features which come in handy.

Randa Karambelas

I think FD, although pricey, is the way to go. Celtx is free, and you can start with that, but it has been my experience that eventually, you will cave and move to FD. The features are great and it is worth the investment in the long run.

Randa Karambelas

http://www.writersstore.com/final-draft-screenwriting-software/?cid=1820... I think there are a few places offer $50 off...some Screenwriters Classes get a "student discount" as well. Not sure you are taking class anywhere, but just a thought.

Michael Berry

If you ever used an older version of FD...me it was 6...they will give you a discount for being a long time customer. I don't know if it's still around but, I used Socrates. The others that you mentioned I never heard of but, as a fellow writer, I wish you luck.

William Martell

I use Movie Magic... which gets no press but is used by many pro writers. But I didn't buy "expensive" software until I'd made some money from writing. So use whatever's cheap or free for now.

Andrew Martin Smith

Everybody I work with uses Final Draft. It's industry standard - end of story. But as Steven has advised, kick off with a freebie/cheapie - see if being a hobby writer rocks your boat and then if the bug bites save up for a professional package. As an aside - I have used Final Draft 8 for years - so once bought don't feel you have to keep upgrading.

Fiona Faith Ross

I use Movie Magic too, because it was given to me and I don't have the budget right now for Final Draft. I absolutely love Dramatica Story Expert (made by the same co. so the two are compatible) for outlining and developing before I move the project into Movie Magic.

Jorge J Prieto

Movie Magic for me as well.

Cherie Grant

I've seen so many people who have used celtix and thought it was great, but then came upon a problem to tried FD and the world seemingly opened up for them and they wondered why they never tried proper screenwriting software before.

CJ Walley

I'm sorry, but if you think FD is proper screenwriting software and Celtx isn't, you're quite frankly a weapons grade idiot.

CJ Walley

I just don't know how we can become so distanced from the craft we can debate software like it matters (over and over again). We can either write or we can't. Using a different piece of software isn't going to change that anymore than using a different typewriter or pen would. What frustrates me is this zombie army of Team Final Draft users who, because they've dropped $250 on a shoddily written text editor, feel the need to invent reasons to make others feel they are missing out. Or even worse, the vultures with their FD discount vouchers trying to convince us there's some mythical industry standard. Worse still, we can just go and try most of this stuff for free and see what works for us. I've tried the FD demo. I thought it was terrible. I had someone wanting to collab offer to buy me a copy once. I declined the offer. I'm afraid that those whole feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside because they have bought into the notion that typing words into one piece of software over another makes them somehow more of a professional or improves their craft have paid a premium for delusion.

Cherie Grant

CJ WALLEY, you take my comments too seriously. You're the weapons grade idiot. Anyway I am just relaying what other people have said to me. It's their perogative if they prefer FD over celtix. Go jump off your high horse and stick your insult where the sun don't shine.

CJ Walley

Firstly, it's Celtx not Celtix. Secondly, I'm sorry you're so upset. Thirdly, I'm trying to protect those who don't have $250 to spend from worrying they are missing out. If that puts me on a high horse then fine. Enjoy your magic beans.

Cherie Grant

I don't care how it's spelt. Why does it matter to you so much? Protect? Are you kidding me? There's no one to protect and nothing to protect from. Magic beans? What does that even mean? You clearly have something in your head that is imaginary. Maybe you have decided to hate me for some reason and it's clouding your judgement. You're being childish about this. You're making an issue of something that just isn't. Who the hell do you think you are?

CJ Walley

It matters to me because hundreds if not thousands of writers every year feel they have to find a couple of hundred dollars to buy Final Draft because many people like yourself tout it as professional or an industry standard. That's simply not fair on those who are struggling to get by.

Preston Poulter

I use Writer Duet and really like it. You can access your script from any internet connected computer in the world: Windows, Mac, Linux, whatever. It's all good. And it's easy to co-laborate and quite inexpensive.

Chanel Ashley

CJ, I think it's a little inappropriate to call someone a weapons grade idiot, something I didn't expect from you - I've tried both, Celtx is okay, but FD is superior and I will only write using the latter, now - if you want free, Celtx is fine, but try paying for FB when you exchange Australian dollars into US$, that's bloody expensive, but I have no regrets - tell me, is it really your job to protect those that cannot afford $250 and alleviate their worry that they may be missing out? CJ, I truly think most members can look after themselves, though I'm sure, your good intentions are appreciated, cheers.

Eoin O'Sullivan

Let's all take a breath for a moment. Please keep debates spirited, by all means, but also remember to refrain from any personal attacks or insults. On the issue of 'industry standard' - there is absolutely NO such thing, when it comes to screenwriting software. That would imply that there is a strict governing compliance body, to which a suite of software must conform and be audited by. No such body exists. It is, however probably true, that the vast majority of professional screenwriters, use Final Draft. I use Celtx, the standalone version. It formats a screenplay in correct industry format, and prints in PDF, which is the only basic function any screenwriting software needs to adhere to. Kind Regards, Eoin

John Garrett

I have the celtx and I pay for it. I produce most of what I am writing so it has a lot of features that I like. But as more than one has stated, you should try the free trials and see what you like. I want to bring up another point. "Expensive" software. If this is a hobby, I get it... it seems expensive. But I started in sound. Recording software is $300 without the hardware (my first software set up was $2500 10 years ago). Then you buy a few plug ins at over $100 each. Video editing software, CHEAP video editing software will run $250. My point being, that as a professional you buy professional tools. As a business it is the cost of doing business. Again, if it is a hobby I understand that it seems expensive. And you can use the free celtx downloadable program, you can use Microsoft Word with a template, you can even use Office Libre (free Software that does about everything Microsoft office does, and you can use the templates with that too.) But as a professional, you invest in the tools to do your work. Because they save you time and let you focus on the work. Rock on.

CJ Walley

Chanel, you're right. It's not my job to protect those people. I'll shut up.

John Garrett

Ellis, I did not attack anyone and you might want to pump your brakes a bit. I never said that anyone is a hack. So your attack is unwarranted. The definition of a professional is not really subjective. Are you getting paid to do a job? If so, you are a professional. You might might be really good or suck at it, but you are a professional. I will point out that you are attempting to become a professional. You are going through the struggle and paying the dues. I applaud your willingness to go through what you need to go through. So many people won't. So many people won't even sit down and actually write anything. What I actually said though, is that professionals will buy tools to do the job that save them time and make them more efficient. Perhaps you missed that. I was making the point that compared to what it could offer the word "expensive" is a misnomer. I am not sure why you take personal affront to that as it is not an attack. I would also point out that many people that ARE writing as a hobby will think nothing of spending a $150 for an office chair, $400 - $1000 on a computer, and $200 on a desk, will say that $200 for software is expensive. Some of the elitists think I am out of the loop because I don't use final draft. I use celtx. So I am not really understanding where the done concept comes from. But I can tell you that having used script writing software, it makes me more efficient than when I was writing on a MS Word template. To point it out again, Celtx has a free program you can download to your computer. It gives you a number of screen writing software advantages. You can get it here: http://celtx.en.softonic.com/ Ellis, I sincerely hope your pitch goes well. I wish you the best as you pursue your goals.

David Levy

I started out using a ripped copy of Final Draft. Was using it for a long time. I was turned on to Celtix but did not use it. I understood the differences in the two. Close to two years ago Final Draft not only had a sale taking about $75 off but I found a redemption code to receive an additional 20% off after the $75 was taken off. I did not mind payingfor the software. This could be debated until the end of time. Some will prefer Final Draft, others Celtex. Just use the program that works best for you at your price point. Could always change later if you believe you made a mistake. How much drama do we need over screenwriting software?

Jason Rogers

Celtx Is great. I like the fact I can write on my computer save and then pick up where I left off on my phone while on the bus. The cloud feature is nice. I have Final Draft but I find myself using Celtx

Jason Horton

I personally like Final Draft, but it's really just what you get used to. Bells and whistles are just that. at the end they're all just tools. As long as format is right, who cares? Celtix is a good free one.

Andrew Martin Smith

Ellis I am proud to call myself a hack - because it is a constant reminder to me that one never get precious over a screenplay. As I get paid for writing screenplays, yes - I could be defined as a professional but for most of my writing career my bread and butter was lecturing (with an option sold every so often), which means that for most of that period I was a hobbyist writer. Be proud of that definition - because it means that you understand that you are in it for the long haul. Glory boys/girls dreaming of The Red Carpet soon fizzle out. Dream up great stories, polish your craft and plug away AND DON'T GIVE UP. As for software - I began on an Olivetti typewriter.

Mark Davis

I will say that when I wrote my question that I didn't expect such a spirited exchange :) I am pleasantly surprised by the amount of comments and well thought out discussions. Perhaps it is because of my exposure with Facebook that I didn't expect such reaction to my question and so quickly. :) At this point I haven't decided on the program but it seems the main conclusions here are Final Draft or Celtix. Followed by try the free demos of the programs and find what I like best. In a way I was trying to avoid that last one by asking the question here for people who are currently much more experience in this field than I. :) So I guess no real short cut for me huh? :) I do agree that the quality of ones tools can affect how the end product can be viewed. What I mean is that yes it's my skill with words, grammar, and story telling that people will judge my work. However, the better quality tool will allow me to work at a faster pace and perhaps with less effort. After all a person can write a wonderful script with pencil and paper but it will be faster to have it done with a script software. I again would like to thank everyone for their input and opinions. I have read every one of them. :)

Lynne Logan

NEED HELP ALSO !! I have used Final Draft for two years.I do like it but have nothing else to compare. You can get it at a discount when they have sales. They do have great customer tech service also. BUT I need some input from other FD users. HOW do we put our script in PDF and email it? (I have a Mac Pro) I have followed the directions perfectly and can never seem to accomplish that goal. Needing to send first pages to Regina Lee for her current class and cannot get it done. Somebody help me, please!!!

Eoin O'Sullivan

Hi Lynne, What version of FD are you using? Have you tried this: http://kb.finaldraft.com/article/1001/765/ Kind Regards, Eoin

Amanda Samaroo

FD has an app for iPad that's great to and you can move back-and-forth from desktop to app with dropbox.

Lynne Logan

Thank you Eoin for the link. Yep, tried that. I'm using FD 9. I think I'll call FD and talk to a tech.

Lynne Logan

Thanks Amanda. Yes, I know about the FD for iPad. Still need to know how you FD users send scripts thru email. Please let me know if any of you can do it. Thanks so much.

Jason Horton

Either save as PDF. or if that is not available. Go to print, there should be a PDF option.

Lynne Logan

Thanks Jason. Going to try that right now.

Jorge J Prieto

Lynne, go to FILE, click PRINT , in the printing dialog box, click ENTIRE SCRIPT and Print to PDF (Adobe Acrobat) File. Click OK. Click SAVE. When you send out via email, send as an attachment. Always, make sure screenplay was transferred correctly to PDF, I just send a screenplay to S32 and it was a blank page. I had to ask JOEY for help, to resubmit it, since its for New Blood contest, anyway I hope this works for you.

Lynne Logan

Thank you both Jason and Jorge!! That did it! Here's what I did. I hit PRINT, then down at the bottom on the right side is a PDF button. Clicked that. Then a menu came up with options and I clicked PDF Mail. Then my email "new message" came up and ready for me to put in the recipients name. The PDF was attached. I sent it to someone and they got it in it's entirety as PDF. Whew. Thanks so much for your tips. I am so grateful.

Jorge J Prieto

Excellent! Glad we ALL here were able to help. This is what I love most about S32.

David Wayne Smart

There is a point I'd like to make, Stage32 is American based and you will find if you wish to have your work seen by American Producers, it would be better to use Finaldraft as for CeltX is a Canadian base soft ware. I have both, but I find final draft's more recognized by American companies. that's been my experience.

Jeremy Arrington

Use Movie Magic for PC for years. Works great for me!

Steve Payne

Hi. If you are hovering over whether to buy the Industry Standard Software (Final Draft) it is currently on a 30% off Offer. http://store.finaldraft.com/final-draft-9.html?_ga=1.66551662.1758213525... Also I found a coupon which gives an additional 2.3% off. GMFSWFD9 .Note, the coupon is probably only valid for a short time.

Mark Davis

I've decided to go with Celtx at the moment. It is free. Since all I'm using it for is script writing and when money becomes more available (and/or I become more successful in script writing) then I will look at final Draft and try to get it when it is on sale :) After all I have to keep my reputation for squeezing nickels until they scream :)

Beth Fox Heisinger

Hi Mark, perhaps do a general search in the Lounge. There has been many previous threads about screenwriting software -- Final Draft, Celtx and others. Just type in your topic in the search bar at the top and all threads related to your subject will be listed. I hope that helps. :)

A. S. Templeton

Just something I've noticed: every time a niche-market software vendor offers their flagship product at heavy discount, it's due to one of two causes: 1) a major new version release is looming, so they hope to lock in new users before motivating them to pay for an upgrade; or 2) competition from leaner, cheaper (or free!) products is starting to seriously threaten the established player's industry dominance. One might reasonably conclude that in the case of FD the latter applies. It doesn't help that the ongoing FD-Win10 debacle casts doubt on FD's ability to keep up with the OS shenanigans that Microsoft regularly puts millions of users through.

Ron Dean

If you're not using MS-DOS based ProWrite, you're a wimp!

David Levy

Some of us never had an issue with FD! Provides me all the tools I need so far. If I find I need another program with other tools then I'll look into it.

Ron Dean

@Steven, I know, I know. I cheat too. I use FD9. It's just so versatile I can't help myself. I tried FadeIn but I have a line 'justification' fixation that it won't allow; the programmer said it's in the code he just actually hasn't added to the accessible features yet.

A. S. Templeton

What would Fade In's justification feature do? I use Fade In and haven't felt it lacks anything critical except bullets or numbering + autoindents for montages. Still waiting on that feature.

Ron Dean

Alex, it's just me OCDing. I can't stand ragged lines. Everything needs to be even and square.

A. S. Templeton

Huh. It was always my understanding that with non-proportional fonts like Courier, any justification added to lines makes text less readable. Indents from the left margin and ragged-right justification may be leftovers from the typewriter era, but in scripts they are visual equalizers, allowing readers to concentrate and zero in on action and dialog instead of formatting.

Ron Dean

I understand, but I wasn't attempting to be reasonable. Ironically no one's complained about my particular justification habit to date.

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