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“Screenwriting Software. The 5 Best Programs Compared Comparing all the best screenwriting software options out there can be overwhelming. When each program has multiple cool-sounding features, different price points and different levels of usability, knowing which screenwriting software to choose can be super confusing. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you make up your mind which is the best screenwriting software for you. We’ll be breaking down and comparing each of the five biggest and best script writing software programs on the market. The Five Best Screenwriting Software Options Are. ♦ Celtx ♦ Fade In ♦ Final Draft ♦ Movie Magic Screenwriter ♦ WriterDuet There are of course more programs out there, but we think these are the five best screenwriting software options currently on the market. Here you may also learn more information about a screenplay format. We’ll be assessing each under the following headings. ♦ An overview of each movie script writing software ♦ Products & prices ♦ Compatibility with other operating systems and screenwriting software ♦ 5 best features of each program ♦ Pro screenwriters who use each screenwriting software Hopefully, this will help you make your choice on which is the best screenwriting software choice for you. Click to tweet this post. 5 Best Screenwriting Software Programs. An Overview Let’s kick off with a short introduction and some background information on each script writing software. Who founded them? How long have t been around? What was the motivating factor in their development? etc. Celtx Screenwriting Software Celtx (an acronym for Crew, Equipment, Location, Talent and XML) is an online screenwriting software built by the same community who gave us the Mozilla Firefox browser. It began life as a desktop only software, but soon switched to the cloud and has become an all-in-one platform for the writing, planning, and production management of film, video, and digital media projects. Through the Celtx Studios, teams of users can collaborate in real time to accelerate the pre-production and production cycles, from screenwriting to budgeting to scheduling. Fade In Screenwriting Software Writer/director Kent Tessman began developing Fade In back in 2010 in response to writers like himself being frustrated with certain screenwriting software issues, such as crashing, glitchy display, lack of Unicode, etc. By 2012, Fade In was in full release to the public and, due to championing by well-known screenwriters, it has become a prominent choice for working and aspiring writers alike. Final Draft Screenwriting Software This script writing software was co-founded way back in 1990 by Marc Madnick and Ben Cahan and grew and advanced over the years, even winning a Primetime Emmy Engineering Award in 2013. Today it’s still the “big daddy” of screenwriting software. We’ve even had writers email us to ask if it’s okay to use anything other than Final Draft, which just goes to show how popular the program is. Movie Magic Screenwriting Software After retiring their Academy-award-winning script formatting software Scriptor in 1995, Write Brothers Inc. introduced Movie Magic Screenwriter in 1996. This was as a script writing software companion to the industry standards Movie Magic Scheduling and Movie Magic Budgeting. After a rebranding and significant quality assurance testing, Movie Magic Screenwriter quickly became one of the bestselling screenwriting software programs on the market and remains a dominant presence within entertainment industries worldwide. WriterDuet Screenwriting Software WriterDuet was developed initially to be the real-time collaborative solution for co-writers because there was no solution in that space. But as the company grew, the founder, Guy Goldstein, realized that there were many problems that could stand to be solved with a new, more powerful, and more intuitive standard for screenwriting. Since then, the screenwriting software has worked especially toward creating a tool that takes zero brainpower to use, but still has everything that your creative, chaotic process will find itself needing, just one click away. Screenwriting Software Products and Prices When it comes to how much money to spend on screenwriting software, the choice can range from “free” to “two-hundred and fifty dollars.” Going for the free option might seem like a no-brainer, but there are certain technical differences each of these screenwriting software that provide further context to this gulf in pricing. A free screenwriting software program may be passable when you’re initially starting out as a writer and only two things matter. 1) putting something down on the page and 2) saving money. Free screenwriting software checks both of those boxes. However, when you feel it’s time to buckle down and start taking your writing career seriously, we would highly recommend purchasing one of the higher gradescreenwriting software below. (All prices are in US dollars.) Celtx Screenwriting Software Using just the Celtx script editor is free, but following a 7-day trial of all Celtx features, you have the option of purchasing one of three distinct plans to match your individual needs. The Story Development plan provides access to the Premium Script Editor, along with several writer-focused tools including Script Insights analytics, Revision Mode, Integrated Index Cards, and Storyboards. This plan is $14.99 per month (billed annually.) The Full Production plan includes all Story Development features in addition to the full suite of production planning tools, including the production catalog, budgeting, and scheduling modules. This plan is available at either $29.99 per month (billed monthly) or $19.99 per month (billed annually.) The Episodic Production plan includes all Story Development and Full Production features along with the ability to create multi-episode projects with integrated master planning documents, a Client Approval system, and dedicated support. This plan is available at either $49.99 per month (billed monthly) or $39.99 per month (billed annually.) Fade In Screenwriting Software This screenwriting software program retails at a flat one-off fee of $79.95. All current version updates are free. (Although to date all major version upgrades have been free, too, and the company has no plans to charge for one.) So basically you pay once for it and that’s that. This makes it easy and affordable to jump right into and removes any worry about waiting a year for an update or having to pay for it. Final Draft Screenwriting Software The standard version of Final Draft is $249.99 and allows two activations per user. Students and educators get 50% off with an “Educational Version” which is the same product but priced at $129.99. There is also a portable version of the screenwriting software, “Final Draft Mobile,” for iPhone or iPad which is $9.99. Finally, there’s also a free “reader” version on which you can read scripts, but not edit them. If you have a previous version of Final Draft, you can upgrade to the latest version for $99.99. Upgrades don’t come very often, and you usually need to purchase the next version up to take advantage of any new features. Movie Magic Screenwriting Software The full version of Movie Magic Screenwriter allows three concurrent activations, has a price of $249.95 via the website, and a street price of around $169. There is also an academic version which allows two concurrent activations and has a website price of $124.95, and a street price of around $99. Write Brothers offers multi-seat licenses from 5 to 200 seats that require a special order and receive quantity discounts. T also offer deep discounts to guild members(e.g. WGA, SAG, Dramatists Guild, etc.), studios, educators, and has a successful grant program for academic institutions and their computer labs. WriterDuet Screenwriting Software This screenwriting software has a free version, in which writers can create up to three full-length scripts. Beyond that and for offline writing, collaboration, time-travel, and Pro tools, WriterDuet Pro is available for $11.99 per month or $79 per year. T also offer a one-time-only Lifetime price of $199 that includes all updates for free, forever. For the fully offline, file-based, more traditional app experience (not cloud-based) WriterSolo is also available for $40 per year or $99 Lifetime (that said, WriterSolo is included with Pro.) Screenwriting Software Compatibility What computer operating systems are each screenwriting software compatible with? How easy is it for each one to import and export files to and from other programs? We list all these below, but if a particular file is missing from an import or export list, there are often workarounds involving yet more software. (Please note. Unfortunately, the amount of technical factors to take into consideration here is beyond the scope of this blog post. If you have any queries it’s best to contact the product’s support team directly.) Celtx Screenwriting Software As a browser-accessed screenwriting software, Celtx is universally accessible but for the best possible experience, t recommend using Google Chrome. There is also a selection of Android/iOS mobile apps that synchronize with your Celtx Studio, allowing you to take aspects of your Celtx workflow on the go. Currently Celtx can import the following file types. ♦ Write On Pdf PDF (.pdf) ♦ Final Draft (.fdx) ♦ HTML (.html) ♦ MS Word (.doc and .docx) ♦ Plain Text (.txt) ♦ Rich Text Format (.rtf) Celtx can export to. ♦ Write On Pdf PDF (.pdf) ♦ Fountain (.fountain) ♦ Plain Text (.txt) Fade In Screenwriting Software Fade In screenwriting software is compatible with Mac, Microsoft Windows and Linux. There’s also a mobile version (a separate $4.95 app) for iOS and/or Android. Fade In can import and export files from. ♦ Write On Pdf PDF (.pdf) ♦ Write On Pdf Story (.astx) ♦ Celtx (.celtx) ♦ Final Draft (.fdx or .fdr) ♦ Fountain (.fountain) ♦ HTML (.html) ♦ Plain Text (.txt) ♦ Rich Text Format (.rtf) ♦ Scrivener Fade In can also export. ♦ Avid (.txt) ♦ ePub (.epub) Final Draft Screenwriting Software Final Draft standard screenwriting software is compatible with both Mac and Windowsbut Final Draft Mobile is iOS compatible only and not suitable for Android devices. The screenwriting software can import the following files. ♦ Plain Text (.txt) ♦ Rich Text Format (.rtf) Final Draft can export to. ♦ Avid Script-Based Editing (*.txt) ♦ HTML (.html) ♦ Plain Text (.txt) ♦ Rich Text Format (.rtf) Movie Magic Screenwriting Software The current versions of Movie Magic Screenwriter are compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8/8.1, or 10, and MacOS 10.10 and higher. Movie Magic Screenwriter has slightly different file import/export features in its Mac and Windows versions. Here is the full list for each. Movie Magic Screenwriter for Mac can import. ♦ Dramatica (Mac) ♦ Dramatica /StoryView Exchange (.dsw Windows) ♦ Final Draft (.fdx) ♦ Plain Text (.txt) ♦ Previous Saved Versions (.bk) ♦ Rich Text Format (.rtf) ♦ Screenwriter (.mmx) ♦ Screenwriter 4.x and 2000 (.scw) ♦ Timed Backups (.tmb) Movie Magic Screenwriter for Mac can export. ♦ Write On Pdf PDF (.pdf) ♦ Avid Editor Format (.txt) ♦ Final Draft (.fdx) ♦ FrameForge 3D Studio (.txt) ♦ Grolla Scheduling (.sex) ♦ Movie Magic Scheduling Export (.sex) ♦ Plain Text (.txt) ♦ Rich Text Format (.rtf) ♦ Screenwriter (.mmx) Mac only ♦ Screenwriter 6 (.mmsw) Mac and Windows ♦ Screenwriter 4.x and 2000 (.scw) Movie Magic Screenwriter for Windows can import. ♦ Dramatica / StoryView Exchange (.dsw – Windows) ♦ Plain Text (.txt) ♦ Previous Saved Versions (.bk) ♦ Rich Text Format (.rtf) ♦ Timed Backups (.tmb) ♦ Screenwriter 4.x and 2000 (.scw) Movie Magic Screenwriter for Windows can export. ♦ Write On Pdf PDF (.pdf) ♦ Avid Editor Format (.txt) ♦ FrameForge 3D Studio (.txt) ♦ Grolla Scheduling (.sex) ♦ HTML (.html) ♦ Movie Magic Scheduling Export (.sex) ♦ Plain Text (.txt) ♦ Rich Text Format (.rtf) ♦ Screenwriter 4.x and 2000 (.scw) WriterDuet Screenwriting Software Since WriterDuet is cloud-based, it can work from any browser and, like Celtx, works great on Google Chrome. The screenwriting software also has desktop apps for Mac, Windows, and Linux and free mobile apps for iOS and Android. WriterDuet can import. ♦ Write On Pdf PDF (.pdf) ♦ Write On Pdf Story (.astx) ♦ Celtx (.celtx) ♦ Final Draft (.fdx or .fdr) ♦ Fountain (.fountain) ♦ MS Word (.doc and .docx) ♦ Plain Text (.txt) ♦ Rich Text Format (.rtf) And the screenwriting software can export. ♦ Write On Pdf (.pdf) ♦ Celtx (.celtx) ♦ Final Draft (.fdx) ♦ HTML (.html) ♦ Plain Text (.txt) ♦ Rich Text Format (.rtf) 5 Best Features of Each Program Now that you’ve got a broad overview, let’s dive into the five reasons that make each program one of the best script writing software options on the market. Celtx 1. Real-time collaboration. In Celtx, multiple writers can work together simultaneously in a fully-featured script editor. 2. Incremental cloud backup. Celtx is constantly saving your writing to the cloud, meaning you never have to worry about losing your work. This also means you are able to instantly revert your script to any number of previous versions. 3. Productivity tools. With Script Insights, you can set and track writing goals, analyze your writing performance, as well as view graphical breakdowns of your script’s content. 4. Concept-to-camera workflow. The script content you create will automatically pre-populate the other production planning modules, setting the groundwork for taking your story beyond the page. 5. Celtx Gem. This is the screenwriting software program’s latest offering. a one-of-a-kind nonlinear narrative design platform built for writing video games, VR, and other interactive experiences. Fade In 1. Stability. This is a big one for users. If it drives you nuts when your screenwriting software crashes or doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do, Fade In have worked tirelessly to make sure this happens as least often as possible. Users really notice—and appreciate—this, which is probably why Rian Johnson mentions it four times here. 2. Functionality. Fade In tries to concentrate its new feature/function development on things that professional writers actually use. Things like, for instance, the Dialogue Tuner (allowing you to see all of a character’s dialogue in one place), scene versions, and alternates for all elements (not just dialogue.) These are things that many working writers find invaluable. 3. Unicode. Fade In can be used in almost every language on earth, as opposed to many other screenwriting software which are limited to a Western European character set. This is significant, even if you’re just adding a few words or lines of dialogue in another language. this isn’t possible in other screenwriting software. 4. Format support. Fade In tries to import/export every format it can, at least where it makes sense. That includes Final Draft, Fountain, Write On Pdf Store, Celtx, Write On Pdf Story, Rich Text Format, text only and more. 5. Realtime collaboration. Instead of having a system where only one writer can actually modify the document as the others “watch,” Fade In allows multiple users to work in a collaboration session at once. Final Draft 1. Beat Board. This feature replicates the process of plotting using index cards before you begin writing pages. 2. Story Map. Similar to the Beat Board, the Story Map offers a bird’s-eye view of the screenplay’s pages rather than beats. This makes it easy to toggle around and preview certain scenes as well as outline your script. 3. Alternate dialogue. This feature lets you swap out multiple lines for your characters so you can put various options on the page and then plug them in one by one to see which works the best. 4. Collaborate. Both the desktop and mobile versions allow you to write in real-time with another writer and share files via iCloud or Dropbox. 5. Getting the basics down. These are set up as the standard from which all other programs seem to stem from when it comes to macros and tab functionality. Basically, if it were not for Final Draft, all other writing programs would most likely work in a completely different way. Movie Magic Screenwriter 1. Real-time formatting. With this screenwriting software, what you see on-screen is what you get when you print. Screenwriter fills in character names, locations, etc, and automatically adds other script elements such as MORE’s, CONT’Ds, page numbers, scene numbers, and conditional page breaks. 2. Inline script notes. Jot down revision notes, casting suggestions, and research questions quicker than you can slap it on a Post-it and show or hide it right in the script text, not in a separate pop-up. 3. Format flexibility. Movie Magic Screenwriter is completely customizable and supports most any form of script writing, from screenplays and teleplays to sitcoms, stage plays, musicals, graphic novels, comics, and more. 4. Full-featured outlining. The outlining system lets you create elaborate outlines up to thirty levels deep. Use the navigation sidebar—the NaviDoc—to show, hide, edit, and move outline elements with ease. 5. Built-in comprehensive production features. Movie Magic Screenwriter has all the production features necessary for complex production scripts and revision controls built-in and is compatible with the industry standard Movie Magic Scheduling and Budgeting. WriterDuet 1. Collaboration. Collaborating is a joy in WriterDuet. Write together on the same line or on opposite ends of the script, or automatically follow your co-writer as t take charge. Chat together on the side or leave comments on any line, color each collaborator’s edits, accept/reject their changes, and more. 2. Ghost mode. This lets you turn invisible until you’re ready to show your edits to collaborators. But even though t’re not seeing your writing, you’re still seeing theirs. 3. Offline mode. This function lets you forget about your internet connection. The app works the same way whether or not there’s a connection, because it’s saving both online and offline all the time when it can, or just offline when it can’t. As soon as you reconnect, it starts syncing online again automatically, without mixing or overwriting edits from collaborators. 4. The Graveyard. WriterDuet’s Graveyard function allows you to cut away content that doesn’t have a place in the script with a simple shortcut. When you find a home for it, simply open the Graveyard and toss it back in. 5. Line alternates. These allow you to add as many versions of a line as you want and then hide them or choose a different winner with a simple shortcut. It’s especially a great feature for trying out jokes. As Used By… Let’s take a look at which professional screenwriters use and endorse each screenwriting software. Celtx We couldn’t find any pro screenwriters who use Celtx but their website states it’s used by “5 million creatives in 190 countries” which is really cool. Fade In Many of the writers you know, and love, use this program and endorse it, including but not limited to Rian Johnson (Looper, Star Wars Episode VIII. The Last Jedi), Craig Mazin (Identity Thief, The Huntsman. Winter’s War), Rawson Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball, Skyscraper) and more. Final Draft As you can imagine many of the biggest screenwriters in the business use Final Draft. These include James Cameron (Aliens, Titanic), Lawrence Kasdan (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars Episode VII. The Force Awakens), Nancy Meyers (The Holiday, Something’s Gotta Give) and many more. Movie Magic Screenwriter An impressive list of pro screenwriters also swear by this screenwriting software. These include Scott Frank (Logan, Minority Report), Paul Haggis (Crash, Million Dollar Baby), Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal) and more. WriterDuet WriterDuet is used by pro screenwriters such as Ed Solomon (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Men In Black), who calls it “the most intuitive, most user-friendly scriptwriting software I’ve ever used.” The Great Software Roundup Finally, here’s a short summary of each script writing software along with an online demo that should hopefully help you decide which is the best program for you. (Full disclosure. The purchase links below may contain affiliates. This means if you buy a screenwriting software through one of these links, you won’t pay a penny more, but we may get a small commission.) Celtx Screenwriting Software Celtx is one of the best screenwriting software options for you if you’re looking for a combination of screenwriting, pre-production, production management and team-based collaboration. All in a unified online environment. It’s an online screenwriting software that is universally accessible, constantly evolving and backed up by a standard of quality. This makes it the go-to platform for millions of professional creatives around the world. Buy Celtx >> Fade In Screenwriting Software Fade In is the best screenwriting software to choose if you’re looking for one that’s super stable, has constant free updates and is very competitively priced. And when you have an issue, you’re talking to the developer who’ll help you fix it (or fix it for you.) Instead of someone on a support desk. With Fade In you can also add images, bookmarks, links, and more to your script. While these might not be used by many writers, t’ve occasionally been employed to great effect. (See Eric Heisserer’s use of images in his screenplay for Arrival.) So Fade In being able to make that easier is an added benefit. Buy Fade In >> Final Draft Screenwriting Software Writing a script in Final Draft is a straightforward and intuitive experience. It’s probably the best option to take if you want to use the program most of the industry still use as their go-to screenwriting software program. Many industry folks are still uninterested in looking into anything other than this screenwriting software since it has always been around. Also, the various other tools to help brainstorm, outline, break down scripts and find statistics, make it still one of the best screenplay software programs. Buy Final Draft >> Movie Magic Screenwriting Software Movie Magic Screenwriter is fantastic to use as part of a suite of compatible writing products, such as Movie Magic Scheduling and Budgeting. The Mac version includes the one-of-a-kind Streamline feature. This searches through your script to find a keyword or phrase changes that can shorten the overall length of a script. Streamline turns a tedious manual process—one that can take hours—into seconds. Buy Movie Magic Screenwriter >> WriterDuet Screenwriting Software This is the best script writing software for you if you want your creative process to be able to happen anywhere. From any device, online or offline, and be allowed to time travel to any point in the history of your creative process. This online script writing software has some of the best technology out there, as that’s what their developers are most passionate about (along with screenwriting.) In short, the program is always striving to build features and enhancements that increase its core power and capabilities for the future.” Source. Screenwriting Software. The 5 Best Screenwriting Programs Compared
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