Screenwriting : Software by Brandon Brown

Brandon Brown


To my fellow screenwriters: What software do you use? Personally I just started on Word and moved to Celtx, but I know Final Draft is the industry standard. Is it 100% necessary to use final draft?

Opinions welcomed

Craig D Griffiths

No. PDF is the standard. Every bit of software can save in FDX format which used by Final Draft. So if someone you work with demands a final draft file, use Save As.

Go to the writer duet website you can see the films that have been written using that. These are just tools.

Doug Nelson

Producers don't care what software you use as long as you can submit it as a .pdf file. If you are serious about a career as a screenwriter, you will likely shift to FD.

Martin O'Toole

Honestly can't fault Final Draft! Got some cool options in v11, including collaboration mode, whereby you and a partner/reader/editor can work on the doc at the same time online.

Anthony Moore

I moved from Celtx to WriterDuet. Both of these programs can import/export an FDX file (Final Draft Extended). Almost all contests and companies want a PDF file not a FDX file. So unless you are working in the industry and need one or two of the super advanced features that only Final Draft has, there is no reason to spend the money.

Dan Guardino

Final Draft is considered the industry standard because it has been around for so long and majority of the people in the industry use it. If you are working with other people in the industry it is definitely worth using. If you are writing spec screenplays you can use whatever software you want and long as it formats correctly.

Paul Rivers

I have used several and most are good. I am currently using Final Draft. I am mostly satisfied, it has issues but their team seem to be keeping up and making improvements.

Once I learned how it could improve my workflow from start to finish, I am not looking to replace it.

Doug Nelson

I've been using FD for years It ain't busted and it works for me - I see no reason to change.

Craig D Griffiths

I am looking around for software with less crap on the screen.

Craig Prickett

I use Celtx and I have only ever had 1 person have an issue with me using it.

Aaron C

I love FD 11. Super easy, and great story-mapping and brainstorming features.

Noel Thompson

I recommend FD. I've used it for about two years - it easily converts to PDF and is just super easy to use even if you hate technology.

Rosalind Winton

I use WriterDuet, it does what it says on the tin and I've been using it for the last two and a half years. I highly recommend it.

Tasha Lewis Book Edit Challenge this week.

Gabriel Karkovsky

I have used Celtx for several years and I love it...

Closed Account

For new writers, Celtex is a good choice. It's free for one, converts to PDF and is simple to use.

Tony S.

Final Draft devotee.

It's right that for distributing a script a PDF is all that's needed. However, FD is highly recognizable as the PDF source due to the font - Courier Final Draft. It has a look and feel, kerning, not found in CID Font or Courier Prime. Sometimes, moving between various programs throws off total length and other elements.

This is not an issue, really. A reader might notice. Story is king.

Use anything but Word. Please.

Bill Walker

I've been using Final Draft for years. Before that it was Movie Magic Screenwriter and before that Movie Master. Once I switched to FD there was no looking back. Love it!

Stefano Pavone

Fade In - it's cheap and chock-full of features.

Doug Nelson

Can anyone name a single Producer who cares about what formatting software you use?

Craig D Griffiths

Doug Nelson less than none. We are chefs arguing about knives. The person eating the Steak doesn’t care.

Closed Account

I've been sent scripts in word before. One from someone who'd just completed a film making college course. Mind-boggling really.

Kiril Maksimoski

Craig D Griffiths you want that Michelin star on your 'restaurant"? Everything counts then...

Ashley Byron

I use Fade in

Adite Banerjie

I have been using WriterDuet for the last couple of years.

Steven Hopstaken

No, Celtx will save in Final Draft format. I sold two screenplay options and used Word.

Bill Walker

All that matters is that your formatting is correct. How you get there is up to you.

Phillip E. Hardy, Prolifique

Software? Aren't you using an electric typewriter? They're all the rage.

Sylvain Van Guerin

i use Trelby, Free all the way baby. works well and did i say it was free! well yes it is Sir!

Dan Guardino

Craig. With Final Draft you can customize the toolbar to get rid of crap you don't want so maybe that is one you might want to try if you haven't already.

CJ Walley

Craig D Griffiths, don't you use WriterDuet? That has the option to completely reconfigure the tool panels with a pre-configured light mode. Failing that, check out Highland 2 which is super clean but Mac only.

As for those losing sleep their pdf might not look precisely like something out of Final Draft, just buy FD and run it through that for your final pass to reassure yourselves. It's like $100 for some peace of mind, you'll need it one day if you go pro, and you can get to know about locking pages and revision mode in the meantime. That's nothing. It's not like having to pay for Adobe Creative Suite or Autocad just to play. Final Draft is the Microsoft Word of screenwriting. No getting away from it.

Doug Nelson

Uncle Phil, I still like my Olivetti portable even though it's Pica 12 p. font.

Monique Gramby

I cut my writer's teeth on Final Draft. I can get distracted so I stayed with it cause not a lot "bells & whistles" on my 8 version. While it's known in the industry, I hear Celtx is good and not so pricey.

Craig D Griffiths

CJ Walley and I like it for collaboration. The sync has been a bit strange lately.

I work on an ipad a lot lately. Might need to be a small laptop instead.

CJ Walley

Craig D Griffiths, consider getting a Brydge bluetooth keyboard and the Final Draft app. It turns your iPad into a little touchscreen iMac and the Final Draft app is way better for composition than the clunky and cluttered desktop software plus it syncs with iCloud. It will do the job mostly too. I used it on set to make changes. Hasn't got the collaboration options of WriterDuet though.

Erick Freitas

You know. Everyone poops on Final Draft, but I legit never had a problem with it and have been using it for 10+ years.

Clint Hill

Final Draft 4 was the first version I bought, and I stayed with FInal Draft up through version 9 of my MacBook Pro and desktop Windows PC. It never failed me either.

Final Draft is good, but it’s expensive. Cost is probably the main deterrent for neophyte screenwriters on a budget. Final Draft is touted as the industry standard because it generates reports from a screenplay once the screenplay is optioned, sold, and set for production.

The hurdle to get a screenplay optioned is a bar set high enough that neophyte screenwriters on a budget would do well to buy Fade In Professional Screenwriting Software ( Most entry-level screenwriters will not need to generate these reports. Fade In is roughly ¼ the cost of Final Draft and also exports to the Final Draft .fdx file format, among others.

Fade In also has a clean Graphic User Interface (GUI) that’s easy to understand and navigate, as well as self-explanatory even though the User Manual is also short and simple to read. Fade In is a lot of bang for the buck, and if anyone who wants your screenplay asks for a Final Draft file format, you can easily export your screenplay — or any of your other, related work — to the Final Draft .fdx file format.

Download the demo version that does everything except print and try it out free:

Mike Taime

Movie magic screen writer ver6

Doug Nelson

Every Producer I know (self included) wants only a clean .pdf file/copy. Nobody cares how you get there.

Luis Quiroga

I use scrivener for research and índex cards, and then Final Draft

Umar Nizarudeen

moovie magic

William Schumpert

Celtx works great.

Zach Tirone

Highland 2. It's fantastic!

Clint Hill

No, it is not “100% necessary” to use Final Draft. I've used Final Draft since Final Draft 4 and stopped at Final Draft 9. The reason new screenwriters hear (and often believe) they must use Final Draft is because FInal Draft has the tools to generate various types of production reports — Scene reports, Location reports, Character reports, Cast reports, Script reports, ScriptNotes reports, and Statistics reports. Most screenwriters need to focus on their screenwriting, getting an option, then getting a sale before they need to worry about needing to generate those reports.

My preference now is Fade In (, and I recommend it highly as the best and most budget-conscious choice for the neophyte screenwriter. Fade In exports to multiple formats, including Final Draft’s .fdx file format, so you can share your work with any professional who asks for a Final Draft file of your work.

Download the free demo version of Fade In and “test drive” the program with all the features of the full version (the only difference is there’s a watermark on print and PDF export with the demo). Once you buy the full version, all updates are free. It’s the best bang for your buck.

Gayle Herbert Robinson

I use Movie Magic Screenwriter, but I need to update the TV show templates. I would like to check out, Final Draft, so that software is in my future. However, your main focus is to write in the screenwriting format. You can even use Word for that, if budget is tight.

Matthew Allen

Final Draft is kind of expected in terms of sharing files with people - outside of PDF, I mean.

CJ Walley

I'd not hear about KIT Scenarist before. I've added it to my screenplay software lists.

Neil Hunsdale

Im using Arc Studio Pro. It seems pretty decent to me. Also free

Del George

I use Writerduet, I pay about £5ish a month for it. I think its really user friendly and does the job. There is a free version of it also - but I think the free version limits how many projects you can have at one time.

Tennyson Stead

I've just made the switch to Fade In. I'm glad to not be obligated to keep up with the expensive updates of Final Draft... and in my experience, the customer service at Final Draft has been a mess for about the last 10 years. So far, the people at Fade In seem to genuinely want to make the community stronger, and I like that.

Ernie Lijoi Sr.

I use Final draft and have been using it for several years.

Huss Rasit

+1 for KIT Scenarist. It does a good job and I also have the android app now so i can write on the go.

Doug Nelson

Tennyson - I've used FD since version 4. Thru computer crashes, new computers, additional computers - both desk/laptops. Their customer service & technical department have always been helpful and treated me well. Don't know where you're coming from.

Stephen Thompson

Final Draft

Christopher Phillips

Final Draft is easy to use and has a lot of useful features. It's far from perfect, but for working on projects, it's the way to go. I've tried others like Celtx because sometimes people I know will use other software, but I always end up on Final Draft. You can import a script text file from another program and into FD and it will format it for you. So, it's easy to collaborate.

If someone was on their very first screenplay, it doesn't matter much. I often start with just Windows Notepad. Writing a first draft isn't about editing. In fact, just type away. Rewrite/Edit later. In the Rewrite phase, FD shines with all the different ways to look at a script, by Character, by scene heading, Post-It notes view, etc..

Kristy Ellington

I use Highland 2 (John August's software). It's incredibly easy to use and exports Final Draft files. Win/win.

David China Woolf

I use FinalDraft because it was the first one to pop up in my Google search. I Have finished a 135 page script and started two new ones, I find it easy to work with and I am happy with it!

Ernie Lijoi Sr.

Final Draft has worked for me to convert my books into movie scripts and TV shows.

Matthew Parvin

I'm still with Final Draft 9. I'll probably upgrade in the spring.

Diana Becronis Martwick

I have Final Draft 10, going to upgrade. Yes, it's much easier to use a script writing program. You will love it. I know that it's expensive, but there are student discounts. Maybe check into that. I am brand new to this platform and beginning writing, but I am glad that I invested into that program. I don't know about the others. Be blessed and cheers!

Jim Boston

Brandon, I've got Final Draft 6 (rather than the newest iteration, FD 11)...and I love it!

Ronika Merl

I tried Final Draft briefly. But my problem was, by that time, I had already spent soooo much time in celtx, that it felt... different. Not bad, not worse, just... different. So I'm sticking with celtx for the time being. I am sure I'll try it again one day. But I don't think celtx is worse or "below industry standard". At least no one's complained to me yet that my scripts aren't formatted correctly...

Alessandra De Martino

I highly recommend getting Final Draft 10.

Maurice Vaughan

I use WriterDuet. Easy to use. You can import and export fdx. (Final Draft) scripts with WriterDuet.

Martha Caprarotta

I also use Fade In Pro. It gives you the option to save export your scripts in Final Draft form if you need to.

Dan MaxXx

i have Fade In and FD 11. When I go from Fade In to FDx file, the conversion changes bold words & italics to normal font, and the page count is off slightly. I am using Fade In’s courier screenplay font to FD courier.

Other topics in Screenwriting:

register for stage 32 Register / Log In