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Screenwriting software
  • Looking for something free? Well, I've been using Celtx on and off for many years. It is great and you can get it for both Mac and PC for free. You can also get advanced features by paying for it, but you can do so if you really need those features or want to support them.

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    Check out the free version at http://www.celtx.com if you want to try out a free screenwriting program.

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  • 16 Replies sorted by
  • I've used it for a long time too. I don't like Final Draft, it's pricey and once they come out with a new version, they won't give you an activation code for older version. Basically you lease FD.

  • I use Celtx for daily work and it's a good piece of software: easy to use, fast, and has a lot of possibilities on a production environment. The cons for me: The mobile version is not multiplatform. They won't do an Android version for working on the road... they've made an iOS version and think that's enough... a pity.

  • Celtx is good but "Final Draft" Its great

  • Celtx Plus is on special for $9.99 .. $5 bucks off

  • Just wanted to mention Apple's Pages (from iWork) has template for scriptwriting. You can't get any reports like from Celtx or Final Draft, but it can be very useful just for the formatting the script. Celtx generates with PDF exporting, especially if you write in some other language than English and in general is a bit buggy.

  • Not a fan of Celtx, it just seems so half assed, it also seems as though their focus is all over the show, I don't want all the post production stuff in my screenwriting software.

    I started writing my own screenwriting software awhile back, I wanted to actually have software with revision control and branches so you can experiment with different drafts and not lose any information, I wanted more note features, and to have heaps of meta data for relationships between characters, scenes, locations, etc. I wanted to be able to deprecate scenes, and to have timelines of events.

    I got quite far along, and was using it myself to write a screenplay, however I realised that page 1 rewrites are best and therefore a lot of the versioning stuff is not necessary. I use Celtx but hate it.

    Maybe I will write a greasemonkey script to modify google docs somewhat and enable some of the features I want, also scrivener is good if anyone has checked it out (doesn't run on Linux though).

  • the two industry standards are final draft and movie magic.

    movie magic was clearly better until the last final draft version. Now they are very close. I prefer movie magic.

    Make sure you have the latest versions as both have made substantial updates. They are both miles better than celtix, but celtix is free.

  • @chauncy Both are better for finishing off a script, and for final formating, but I'm not convinced that they are better for writing it. I might give scrivener another shot, they have a beta for linux.

    The main thing I don't like about screenwriting software is that things are organised by sluglines, a slugline isn't a good representation of a segment of a story because it is simply a location change. Action can flow through multiple locations. I want software that can separate the story from the formatting, so I want arbitrary segments in the document and I want it to go many layers deep. I want to be able to split my script up into acts -> segments -> scenes -> slug lines if I want to.

    Scrivener kind of does this, it allows you to have multiple folders and multiple files, each file representing a story segment, you then compile it at the end to see what it looks like formatted. Not the most elegant solution because I like to see how what I'm writing looks, white space is so important. I also want to feel how the script flows as I'm reading it all the way through, and be able to make changes on subsequent passes. So I feel there is no solution, however the way things work now I might attempt to use Scrivener for the first go at the second draft of my script, and then something like Final Draft for adding polish.

  • If you want to write scripts, you can’t go past the plain text fountain format. http://fountain.io/

    It’s free, you can use ANY text editor you are comfortable with and most importantly you can round trip with ANY portable device without losing your navigation schema. I totally agree with ‘disordinary’ that celtex is lacking focus and dodgy (loosing script data) and who the hell wants crappy production bullshit when you are trying to write a script.

    I’ve owned both Movie magic and final draft and though industry standards are over-priced and miss the mark for many writers. Most importantly fountain format maintains the writers schema of organisation – ‘the cards’ as the writer sees it, rather than some bullshit location based slugline scehema which is meaningless to writers (but great for 1st A.d’s).

    Good luck whilst flying.

  • I don't know - despite not being leet when I code I like to use an IDE rather than a text editor, therefore when I write I can only assume I would prefer a word processor.

  • One thing about screenwriting software: you can't please everyone. It's like asking "what's the best car?"

    If you like cheap, celtx or a text editor are great. If you like to be loose and creative, Scrivener is awesome. If you're working in Hollywood, it's Final Draft, because everybody else is using FD. MovieMagic is good, too, but only about 25% market penetration.

    Also, it's important to match your tools to your process. Do you write treatments before the script? Index cards? Outlines? Mind maps? There's a lot of software to help that, too.

    IMHO, the best software is the thing that helps you write the most pages the most often. If you're agonizing over apps or fonts or brads instead of cranking out pages, there's something wrong anyway.

    If I were advising a noob screenwriter, I'd say Scrivener plus FadeIn is a good compromise. It's under $100 for both, Scrivener does index cards, outlines and treatments as well as screenplay pages. However, it doesn't do professional page breaks and formatting. So you do your rough pages in Scrivener, then export it to FDX format, and open in FadeIn, which does all the industry-standard formatting and page breaking. FI will also save out as Final Draft or PDF, so you can send it to folks in the Biz.

    Not the solution for everything, but a good first step if someone wants to get serious about screenwriting.

  • Fade In looks good one of the better ones that I've seen. However it still has the fundamental problem of treating slug lines as a scene which makes the index card feature useless. I'll play with it and might move to it as it seems really nice and easy.

  • @disordinary, yeah, that's the reaons I recommended Scrivener for your early drafts. Scrivener is more flexibe with index cards and scene content.

  • @adr Yeah the problem with Scriviner is that you have to compile it to see it all at once, you can't then read through it and rewrite it as you go.

    I'm trying an experiment with Celtx for my latest script, I have the project split into 3 screenplays, act one, act two, and act three. I then use the scene field to denote a sequence, I then do my slug lines by writing action in upper case, making them bold, and underlining them. You lose autocomplete but you get to organise things better. Eventually I will need to copy and paste into one screenplay (maybe fade in pro), but its kind of a hybrid scrivener approach.

    So my scene heading would be something like CHASE SCENE, I can then more accurately use the notecard feature because its not one slug line per location.

  • Celtx is a great storyboarding tool. It allows you to turn your board into moving slides, and a print out for your clients. best of all, it's still free if you dont want the Pro version

  • @Caliban_17 I loved your comments here. It's true that the standard screenplay format is pretty ugly. When I use a computer to write (or try to) I always end up looking at all the twily doo-dads and mouse ding-a-lings that pop up on the screen. Distraction from the truth is only a few pixels away. So I scribble under a bright light. Fast, so that nothing becomes too precious to chuck in the circular file. I loved watching the docu about woody allen and how he does it. Priceless! great thread. Grate!