Screenwriting : Screenwriting software by Mariana Barbera

Mariana Barbera

Screenwriting software

Hello everyone! Would you mind telling me which is your favourite screenwriting software? Are there any good ones for free? What do you think of Final Draft, is it worth the money? Thank you!

Barry John Terblanche - FREE, I been using it for 5 years now... never looked back, never will!

Rohit Kumar

There are many free softwares like the new software in market "Scrite" which does everything as FD does . So is WriterSolo which is a desktop version of WriterDuet which many use it too, Trelby is an old free software candidate and it does the job. KitScenarist, and a version of Scrivener is free to use on linux platform.

I use Fountain markup language and lately learning it. You can basically write that in any text editor. Yes, any text editor you got, just memorize few key words and save the file as File.fountain or filetwo.fountain etc . That's it. You can than send that file to any screenwriting software out there or even to any Producers. The screenwriting software just converts that file to script. It's just that simple.

FD is good, So is Scrivener or Highland or any other paid software. If paid I would go with DramaQueen, I have been using the free version of it, it's pretty good with everything you require for story structure to, character development and easily available template for story building. If you are playwright than I would highly recommend Scrivener or DramaQueen and I guess you have used Scrivener so that is pretty good too.

IMO anything would do.. It's all about what's in your budget. I would highly recommend checking out Fountain. You don't have to pay anything for software and will be able fine to type in any normal text editor or on your old normal phone in that format and save/send. That's all it is.. Just memorize few keywords on how it's written. There are many software like MagicFountain which gives overview of the script too. I even sometimes scribble, write pictures in the script or doodle, draw or some sketches of things how I visualize so I often tend to use normal markup editor which helps me to write stories, so I started using Fountain which helps me to be not dependent on paid FD or any other. If I'm not pushing myself for Fountain than I sometimes juggle between Scrivener or Dramaqueen.

Craig Prickett

I started with the Celtx free version I now use their payed version.From memory I think you can only have 2 projects in the free version but you could always download your scripts as pdf files and never upgrade to the payed version.I once had an issue when I was working on a script rewrite as the producer only had Final Draft and file sharing was a problem.Final Draft is still industry standard.

Christiane Lange

I have been using ARC Studio, which is free (with a paid version as well). The free version seems to work perfectly well.

Myriam B

There's a lot of articles\youtube vids online that explain the differences between them if you want to compare them.

I tried Final D, on Writerduet (paid). Love that I can transfert my other scripts in its format/collaborate with others on a script.

Let us know how you feel about other SW if you ever try them. Also looking for the best tools!

Jess Waters

The best free versions are WriterDuet and Celtx. They both have limits on how many scripts you can upload, but in my opinion, WriterDuet is much better when it comes to collaboration - they even have a messaging function, importing/exporting, and all of the other fun functions like outlining/notes. The minor downside of Celtx is the watermark on the free version and it takes a bit to load sometimes (maybe that's just for me).

David C.C. Erickson

I've been using Celtx for over a decade, mostly the pay version, have over 300 projects on it. I like the cloud model since I like to write wherever I am, on whatever machine I'm in front of - makes it easy to write at the day job! Downside is you need the internet. Has project sharing and lots of tools for production, if you plan to make a movie. Can upload these formats: pdf, fdx, txt, rtf, docx, html, celtx

Jacqueline Sandee Valle

I love WriterDuet for it’s collaborative ability-I work with a writing partner sometimes, and it gives us the opportunity to work together in such an easy and flexible way. But I also use Final Draft since it is the industry standard. It also has a lot of great features-like the beat board and index cards.

Doug Nelson

Are you looking to approach screenwriting as a professional or just a hobby? There are lots of free formatting programs available - they all have their limitations - most are promos trying to sell their product. If you want to go pro, then you have basically only two options; Final Draft or Movie Magic (in the US market).

basically, not exclusively - lots of folk will argue the point.

Anthony Moore

I write on the go, so I use WriterDuet on my laptop, tablets and even my cell while working on a first draft. I use Final Draft on my main PC to do edits, rewrites and finishes for the final product..

Craig Anderson

I've only ever used Final Draft, since when I started that seemed to be the industry standard benchmark. To me, $175 (or whatever it cost) was a very small operating cost to get going, and not have to worry about compatibility down the line. But that's just my logic - there are lots of FDX-friendly free tools out there, not trying to argue paid is better than anything else.

Erik A. Jacobson

Final Draft is the big dog.

Craig D Griffiths

WriterDuet. It is free as a trial. But worth every cent. The apps are great. I write mostly on an iPad. It has great sync and backup etc.

I don’t use Final Draft. But I heard their most recent release was said to bring them up to what others offered in 1997. They are considered the standard because they are so old. But in reality PDF is the standard. Everything can import a PDF.

Everyone I have worked with just takes a PDF and imports it into whatever they are using.

Dan MaxXx

folks in production print scripts, lots of side pages. Especially television. I know a few tv script coordinators/Writers assts and they all say to master final draft. Become a fd wizard and that skill increases your chance of tv asst/coordinator job offers.

Eric Roberts

I was a hold-out on Final Draft, and developed a really good screenwriting template for Word, (First Draft 1.3.2.). A few folks on Stage 32 have used it, say they really like it. Free if you want to check it out.!Aof2xmHfSxk6-w_jjxsRU99znrTS?e=Gm7GI7

Now I start outlining with that because I like using a full-featured word processor, which FD is not, but I import and finish in Final Draft for the script because it handles final industry-standard formatting so well. Plus I really get a lot out of FD's Beat Board feature. Great for visual thinkers. Once you get used to it, FD is really easy.

Ron Micci

Not sure what it's called now, and it's not free -- I use Movie Magic Screenwriter, have for many years. Had to modify their templates a bit, but use it for screenplays, sitcoms, stage plays, novels. It updates automatically.

Adrianna Agudelo

Final draft for sure. It does cost a little bit but at the end it’s small in comparison to the peace of mind you receive and the ease it is to operate. Truly a great program and worth it.

Dan Guardino

I use Final Draft because everyone I work with uses it.

Meg Stone

Final Draft - worth every penny. It's not mobile in the least, but I've hired a developer to custom build some app solutions (on android - cuz that's what I use) to work with its files on the go, the tube, the pub, the beach... she's calling herself Pam Oyka on social media... (in case you speak Russian, don't ask why) but she's ken to posting or distro'ing whatever she comes up with for anyone who wants it.

Erik Meyers

Final Draft..costs money but great

John Ellis

I'm with Dan - FD because everyone uses it. It's kind of bloated with features I don't use, but still the best overall.

Ewan Dunbar

I have heard great things about Scrivener. You can also import/export scripts compatible with Final Draft.

Jim Boston

Mariana, it's Final Draft for me because I don't have to worry about formatting...just writing. (And it helps that the computer I inherited from a codirector of a documentary I was in, the computer I type my scripts on, already had FD 6 loaded onto the computer!)

Shane Stanley

Final Draft is the standard. Links right up to scheduling software. I know the other platforms are supposed to but a schedule merged to an FDR script, you can board and schedule the film usually in a full day or two. Good luck to ya!

Angela VanZandt-Bumpass

I am still using Movie Magic Screenwriter. It is good for producers from what I understand. There is a button to convert the scripts to Final Draft if someone requests that, so it is like having both. It can also convert to PDF, which is best for contests. I thought about switching, but have used MM so long that I feel comfy there.

E Langley

<-------- FD puts a smile on my face. Never used anything else.

Philip Sedgwick

Favorite? Movie Magic Screenwriter hands down. Simple and clean to use. Reluctantly, I use Final Draft when clients mandate.

If you're looking for inexpensive and solid, I recommend Fade In Pro. Pretty dang good for under $100.

Free software always has limitations in the interest of getting you to buy the "pro" version.

Dan Davis

Seems like there's lots of good options out there for you to consider. As many have said, FD is often seen as the big dog. I haven't ever used it myself though, so I can't comment.

I use WriterDuet, a few people have given an overview of why. It's the first one I tried, used the free version and then quickly moved to the paid version. To me, it works perfectly.

Monica Mansy

Hi, Mariana! I’ve only ever used Final Draft and I love it! Very simple and straightforward as far as formatting goes!

Alexander Perry

I agree with Monica. Final Draft also has templates for various formats, which you can use or adapt as appropriate. It has loads of other features I don't use ..... :-))

Eric Sollars

FD worth the money.

Ahmed Hassouna


Stefano Pavone

I use Fade In - it's cheaper, easier to work with and updates automatically, plus it supports Final Draft files (and saves them to its own format).

Mariana Barbera

Thank you so much everyone! I've read every comment and really appreciate the time you all took to tell me about your experiences with writing software. In the end I decided to go with Final Draft because of its industry standard formatting, but also because other features which are crucial for me like live collaboration, beat board (for production as a film maker mainly), etc. I had worked previously with Celtx (free version) in a couple of projects, but really missed not having a beat board. Also tried formatting a word document as a screenplay, which did the job really well, but again, I needed the extra features FD has (although not unique to FD) and because some of my collaborators also work on FD. Many thanks, have a great week everyone!

Meg Stone

Thanks for explaining the rationale for your choice Mariana Barbera - it definitely helps to know what specifics and features lead to a personal recommendation, especially an expensive one. I agree that one can use just about anything to write a script, but when it comes to collaboration, and then production the features you mention are vital. Especially in a Mac environment!

Now, if only the Final Draft people would come up with a version for Linux! (hint, hint, hint ;-))

Brian Fire

Final Draft!!!! I have been using it for years and you will find a LOT of professionals are also using it. Makes it nice when you end up working with a team using the same writing app too


Brian Fire

" In the end I decided to go with Final Draft" smart move!!!!!

Shahin K.taher

Final Draft, for sure!

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