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.

Dan MaxXx

I have 6 software programs (Mac & PC) and I noticed when I convert a non-FD file to FDX, the format spacing changes on PDF or printed page, also effects total page number, bold & italicized words.

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.

Katherine Anne Fairfoul

FD forever, I'm with Doug. Not literally, just software aligned.

Aaron Carlson

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

Vincent Paterno

I use WriterDuet, since my only computer is a Chromebook laptop and Final Draft is incompatible with Chrome. It's easy to use, too. Never had any problem with scripts, as I send them in PDF form and no producer I know of can tell the difference between a PDF originating at WD and one coming from FD.

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.

Radek Karkovský

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

Michael Ellis

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.

Michael Ellis

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 "Le Raconteur" Hardy

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 MaxXx

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy Or hire someone else to type. Kasdan was on Scriptnotes podcast and said he can’t type. He handwrote The Empire Strikes Back. Spike Lee says he has an assistant to type for him.

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.

Stuart Wright

Fade In is great and not clogged up with features I'll never use (and it's affordable)

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:

Barry John Terblanche

I been using TRELBY for four years. It works well and ITS 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 'JPop' 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.

Ismael Judá Moraes Reis Dias

I use Trelby.

Aray Brown

I use Fade In

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.

Rohit Kumar

I use Kitscenarist. It's free, does the job, and gives everything what one wants. . Just industry standard doesn't count if you are the one making film. But if you are like full time going after Screenwriting as a profession than one recommends to buy FinalDraft. I use linux and I need something which is free and Kitscenarist does fine. Even I got Scrivener which is good too because it gives even options for other different writing needs, but I'm sticking for now Kitscenarist.

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.

Rohit Kumar

CJ Walley Since it's Russian made so I seen people freak out and never use it. But in my experience it's really good software, developer is constantly improving the interface and it got multiple language support and many more features. So try if that suits your requirement.

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

Jake Lynch

Alternating between Final Draft & Script Studio. I feel like both work very well for me overall.

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