Screenwriting : Script writing software by Phillip Currie Hurst

Phillip Currie Hurst

Script writing software

Another update and maybe no need for additional comments... I selected FadeIn. --- I am currently doing it by just writing in MSWord and formatting as I go. A bit more laborious I suppose so I am wondering what your opinion is about using dedicated writing software in general and what software you prefer. What at the features that make it worth buying? What features do you love? Can’t live without? ...........UPDATE: Thanks for all the helpful advice. I did look into several software but dumped them quickly. They simply didn't download and launch properly or not all functions worked properly or they seemed needlessly complex/cryptic/. I'm using a ThinkPad with Windows 10 and everything up to date. I could probably get them working with some time invested but in my world, if it doesn't work right out of the box then I look for something else. That experience included Trebly, Writer Solo, Arc Studio, Final Draft and a few others I can't recall at the moment. With Final Draft, I was sent a key for the 30 day trial software which was not accepted by the software I installed. Brilliant. But... FadeIn worked immediately and is totally intuitive. As for continuing in MSWord, all one has to do is understand how "Styles" works and create styles that have the proper formatting and that is what I was doing. Simple to do. But FadeIn (and others I am sure) have built in handy shortcuts that make it a little easier to write. Also MSWord can't export your work in the .fdx format which seems to be a big deal.

Tim Bragg

I did what your doing in the beginning, the problem is MS is not programmed to understand film writing software, so editing is a nightmare and it will not save right as a PDF. You need the writing software to set it up correctly and to block it properly.

Pierre Langenegger

Don't write in MS Word, use a tool that's designed to do the job properly. There are so many free options available there really is no excuse for not using one.

Tiffany Rashawn

Hello! I did the same thing when I wrote the first draft of my first screenplay, except it was on Google Drive. Still very difficult. I haven't tried any of the other software, but I do use WriterDuet. I just started writing my second screenplay and had to get acclimated again with the rules of writing screenplays. WriterDuet was helpful with jogging my memory, since the sidebar has tools that are in order (Scene, Action, Character, etc). It indents for you and has the margins set, even for the title page. That's been working for me so far.

Craig D Griffiths

I don’t use word for final work. But you can use it for basic drafts and it not be a huge waste of time.

But eventually you’ll have to get something to make your life easier.

http://griffithscreative.com.au/do-i-need-screenwriting-software/

Bill Albert

I'm doing it the same way you are, Personally I prefer it this way. It's harder and longer but I feel more connected with what I'm writing.

Ronika Merl

I used celtx from the start. Its got a free version. Once you start with a dedicated software you will never want to go back. If you want to write a lot, you have to use the tools. A blacksmith doesn't use a cake for a hammer, do they? :)

Vital Butinar

I use Celtx also. I've tried others like Final Draft but for most things I use Celtx and if I need to transfer things into FD later. It's free and relatively simple to use. But I'm not a writer so my screenplays are usually just kind of a draft or a blueprint and I always put too much screen directions in there. But since I'm the one directing it's fine for me.

Emily Burke

WriterDuet was what I used when I didn’t have educational license access to Final Draft, as it is free. It’s a great piece of software. Talking about paid software, I love Final Draft because it was the software I learnt with at university, and because I found the interface so user friendly and intuitive. But, it’s expensive. You can get the app for about $10, which is good for on the go, but I would recommend a desktop version of the software more. You could wait for the sales, but I got it cheaper because I had a student discount on top of the half price sale. There is also Scrivener, which is £47 in the UK. I think that it’s much better at planning than Final Draft, and it’s not just for screenwriting - you can plan and write novels and in all kinds of mediums (graphic novels, play scripts etc) on Scrivener. I also got it for half price as a prize for being a NaNoWriMo winner. So, I recommend Scrivener if you want to have your screenplay and the planning behind it in the same place, if you want to write more than screenplays, and it is way cheaper than Final Draft :)

Barry John Terblanche

Phillip. STOP! MSWord...? Don't start like that. There are a good few free screenwriting software programmes available. Surf the web... you'll find them. I'm sure a member will post a site/link to them. I started with, and have not changed from TRELBY its basic, and it does the job to PDF my script to the same standard as any paid for, software.

CJ Walley

Full list of screenwriting options including those that are free here.

Look closely at WriterDuet, Highland 2 (Mac only), and Scrivener. Also look at Prewrite for story building.

Gilberto Villahermosa

I use Final Draft. As it does all the formatting for me, I don't have to devote any time to formatting and can focus on writing. Thus, I have one less distraction to worry about. I like it because (1) it's easy, (2) it's the industry standard, and (3) my screenplays look very professional when I print them out. Was it worth the cost? Absolutely!

Adam Lane Sturkenboom

I started with celtx, which is a great free program and an easier adjustment to writing in script format. Final Draft is the industry standard, and a great tool to get familiar with. Another good one I've used in the past is Fade In. It works similarly to Final Draft by comes in at a fraction of the cost. Many great options out there, but it's definitely a good idea to start working in scriptwriting programs, especially if you're looking to get opportunities writing in the industry

Dan MaxXx

For under $100, Fade In. Over $100, Final Draft. They all do the same formatting but it's a bit problematic if you're converting back and forth with different software brands, sharing files, doing revision drafts (blue, pink...).

Kenneth L Sykes

Celtx has been great for me as far as formatting

Joshua Williams

Celtx is great!

Ian Buchanan

I use Final Draft for Screenplays but will work with Scrivener for other projects or screenplays that will be transliterated into other formats

Leona McDermott

You can use Word to write your scripts (no formatting needed). When you have your character name in capitals it automatically will place the text beneath as dialogue. Same with scene headings. Text beneath is action. You can also use parentheticals. Save as a .rtf (rich text). When you open in Final Draft it will be formatted as a script.

StudioBinder have free a script software program. Can also save them as PDF. Unfortunately, you can only import .pdf, .fdx, .fountain and .txt documents for it to convert into a script. .txt. documents don’t convert into script format.

Louisa Kendrick Burton

I echo Ian Buchanan with Scrivener. I use it to break story and keep all my research and notes all in one accessible file, which is actually a collection of bins/folders. I'm not fond of the way it handles writing and exporting the screenplay documents so I do my writing in Final draft. Fade in does have a free demo version if you want to try before you buy. I used Celtx for a time when I just wanted to crank pages but found it glitchy. That's just me.

Doug Nelson

Phillip, are you exploring screenwriting as a potential career in North America or as just a hobby? If you are serious and career oriented - then Final Draft is the way to go. It's almost universally used in the industry. If you're a hobbyist, any formatting software will do. Most will render a .pdf file which is what you submit anyway.

Leona McDermott

Update: If you tab once for character and dialogue in your Word doc; save as a PDF, when you import into StudioBinder it's correctly formatted.

A. S. Templeton

FadeIn Pro

Anthony D Paul

I've been using Highland II for a month. I suggest it. No more searching for whether you want V.O. or dialogue or () parentheticals. The software does it all for you. You type a name and immediately start writing dialogue. John August designed it so we can just write and it works fantastic. And it isn't only for screenwriting. You can use it to write a novel. What ever you desire.

Rohit Kumar

I think you can try to approach screenwriting with a simple text editor using Fountain syntax style. It's pretty simple. You don't even need any software to buy as well. The fountain syntax can be used to automatically transform your story text to a properly formatted movie script and even can be turned into Final Draft or PDF as well. Probably you haven't heard of it.

Here is the video of John August, the filmmaker, scriptwriter explaining how to use that syntax.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3ZdiUqrZ1g.

There are many free software and paid too.

John also explains why he likes Fountain and it kind of relates to myself how I see writing stories tooo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lElhyw3WGxo

Tim Bragg

Gilberto. I started with writer duet but find final draft more user friendly, has anybody used arc studio?

Xaviera Iglesias

You can try FinalDraft free for 30 days and see if you like it. But you won't be able to download and save your work as PDF unless you buy the software. Anyways, on MS WORD, you can use the SCREENPLAY document template if you're just writing away. Whatever you've written on Word Screenplay Doc can be copy/pasted to FinalDraft and your work will be there in the correct format so you don't have to write the whole thing again.

Phillip Currie Hurst

UPDATE: Thanks for all the helpful advice. I did look into several software but dumped them quickly. They simply didn't download and launch properly or not all functions worked properly or they seemed needlessly complex/cryptic/. I'm using a ThinkPad with Windows 10 and everything up to date. I could probably get them working with some time invested but in my world, if it doesn't work right out of the box then I look for something else. That experience included Trebly, Writer Solo, Arc Studio, Final Draft and a few others I can't recall at the moment. With Final Draft, I was sent a key for the 30 day trial software which was not accepted by the software I installed. Brilliant. But... FadeIn worked immediately and is totally intuitive. As for continuing in MSWord, all one has to do is understand how "Styles" works and create styles that have the proper formatting and that is what I was doing. Simple to do. But FadeIn (and others I am sure) have built in handy shortcuts that make it a little easier to write. Also MSWord can't export your work in the .fdx format which seems to be a big deal.

Tim Bragg

Craig. I like word for getting the outline and first draft going because I can open editor and it corrects words as you go along.

Tim Bragg

Phillip. I found writer duet and final draft easy to download. My preference is final draft, you get a 30 day free trial.. I was hooked on fd immediately.

Tim Bragg

Phillip. I am not here to judge. I could probably get them working with some time invested but in my world, if it doesn't work right out of the box then I look for something else. Writing never works right out of the box, there is a long process that goes into getting a polished script, you work day and night and it requires a lot of patience, if you need a quick turn around, writing is probably not for you.

Rohit Kumar

Phillip Currie Hurst Check fountain like I said. If you want software I would say go with FD for professional purpose or try Kitscenarist. There is one indian made software called Scrite. May be that would be easier for you if gou want some easy and I heard it worked for many and got almost every thing visibly available. I mean you can check and use. Its free. I also used Dramaqueen which is pretty good. FD, Dramaqueen Scrivener, Fade in pro are worth to pay for I feel.

Every software got its own learning curve. So try what works good for you for your learning method and buy later..

Fountain I highly recommend for you, as you have used MS word and one has to know the syntax of fountain and than can forget any software and just write on any notepad. The syntax automatically transforms to perfect FD script format or even opens in any screenwriting software. . There is a website called Afterwriting I think which helps to write on browser too in that format. Check it out once.. https://afterwriting.com/Here is the cheat sheet of the fountain you can simply print it out. And start writing. https://doingthatwrong.com/home/2013/4/19/fountain-cheat-sheets-revisited

Aray Brown

I use Fade In. Best 80 dollars I ever spent

Sarah Gabrielle Baron

I use www.writersduet.com its free and accessible anywhere ( in the cloud)

Eric Roberts

You are welcome to try this Word template Phil. I use it for my initial work, then port it over to Final Draft for submissions.

https://1drv.ms/w/s!Aof2xmHfSxk6-w_jjxsRU99znrTS?e=5ebrA7

I hear Final Draft 12 will finally have better outlining capabilities.

Ian Buchanan

I think it would be wise to spend a little more time getting to grips with something like Final Draft even if it doesn’t work “out of the box” as you say. As commendable as your resolve is - producers don’t give a hill of beans about “your world” explanations for not using industry standard kit unfortunately that’s just the “real world”.

Chaun Lee

Celtx

Phil Clarke

I echo what most have said above, Phillip (great name, by the way!) If you're just starting out and just want to write (the most important thing of all, right?), then Word can do this at a very basic level. But there are free-to-use online screenwriting programs that will sort out the fundamental margins etc. so I would certainly look at these before submitting anywhere (i.e. agents, production companies, contests etc.)

And if you're serious about this writing game, then I would urge you to invest in proper screenwriting software. Something like Highland, FadeIn or Final Draft. The latter is the only one I've ever used in all my years working in the industry, so I can't really comment on the others. I'd certainly try the Final Draft trial version and see how you get on and after those 30 days, if you're keen to pay your hard-earned for a full version, then come back to me: I can get you a 25% discount on the RRP.

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