We know some very experienced scriptwriters who bash out their scripts using Microsoft Word. But we highly recommend using scriptwriting software for your Frenzy script. (Trust us! It will save you time! And it's easy to learn!) Here are some we've tried and liked, listed by price.
Celtx is a powerful, free piece of downloadable scriptwriting software that functions a lot like a stripped-down version of Final Draft. And if you want to take things to the next level, Celtx also contains planning tools, storyboarding, and other ways to collaborate with an entire production team.
Some of our favorite Celtx features are:
- Cost: Its free! Okay, we already mentioned that, but its good enough to say again.
- Idea outline tool: This is a great place to start making your ideas more concrete. Location, character and scene development worksheets really help to kick-start your story. And, you can augment your thoughts with sound files, pics, and video clips.
- Storyboard: Upload your images (in batches!), tag them with text, and play them to help visualize your project.
- Index Cards: In a glance you can see multiple scenes. I like printing them out and tacking them on my wall.
- Mobility: Have an iPad or iPhone? Celtx now has an app for that. Celtx Script is the mobile scriptwriting app that syncs with Celtx desktop software, making it easy to write your screenplays, stageplays, comics, audio plays, and AV scripts from anywhere.
- Breakdowns: When April's over and you're ready to move from development to pre-production Celtx tools allow you to breakdown your script. Tag things like props, wardrobe items, and cast members with notes, pictures and sound files.
Trelby is a free, multiplatform, feature-rich screenwriting program, with a focus on being simple to use, and running fast on any computer. It features include:
- Multiple layouts: simple mode, fullscreen, WYSIWYG and dual-page.
- Import and export Final Draft files.
- A large names database organized by country.
- Built in PDF formatting and PDF generator, with the ability to embed text.
- Free and open source software.
- Currently available for Windows and Linux platforms.
Scrivener comes with formatting for screenplays, stage pays, and comics, but you can also go rogue and create your own formatting templates. Scrivener's export functions allow you to save to a bunch of different formats, including Final Draft, without losing any of the notes you’ve made in Scrivener.
A few Scrivener features we like:
- All of your research and planning notes can be accessed in the same window as your script.
- Corkboard! Yes, it's beautiful. We're a sucker for a good corkboard.
- Distraction-free full-screen editing mode.
- Also has module for novel-writing!
First off, Storyist was hand-built by a longtime Script Frenzy Municipal Liaison (hi, Steve!), so we're kind of predisposed to liking it. Storyist's interface allows you to switch between basic screenplay elements using customizable key commands, and it stores things like locations and character names to its auto-complete feature. Which ends up saving you a lot of typing time.
A few Storyist features we like:
- The "Storyboard" feature allows you to combine text and images in character bios.
- Internal linking allows you to make connections between different points in your script, or between your script and your notes.
- Robust exporting ability means you can share your Storyist work-in-progress with people using different scriptwriting software, including Final Draft.
- Like Scrivener, also has robust module for novel-writing!
Free trial version here.
Format: PC or Mac
StoryO is a great tool for aspiring and professional writers, students, bloggers, journalists and technical writers. Use StoryO for screenplays, stage plays, novels, short stories, webisodes, essays, term papers, non-fiction works, and more!
A few StoryO features we like:
- Use StoryO’s built-in story outline template or create your own outline topics and questions to suit different types of writing projects.
- Enter events, scenes, notes and ideas onto electronic index cards.
- Add text, characters and images to index cards to add even more detail then rearrange and attach them to timelines to develop the structure of your story.
Cost: $89.95 Pro Lifetime or $9.95/mo Pro Monthly
30 Day Free Trial here.
Format: PC or Mac (it's web-based)
Scripped.com is a web-based scriptwriting software tool that requires no downloading of software to your computer. Because it's web-based (think: Google Docs) you can access your script anywhere there's an internet connection (hello, secret workplace writing sessions!).
It has a time-saving, tab-based interface like Celtx, so switching between character names, dialogue, and scene description is a snap. The downside: You need to actually be online to work on your script.
Free trial version here.
Format: PC or Mac
Movie Outline® was created by a writer who wanted to take the complexity out of the screenwriting process. Its design is based on the principle of step-outlining which allows you to plan your cinematic structure, develop characters and format your screenplay scene by scene, providing all the tools all you need to develop your idea into a professional screenplay.
A few Movie Outline 3 features we like:
- Unlike regular word processors, Movie Outline is tailored for screenwriting and allows you to focus on your story and characters while it handles the formatting through handy "Tab and Enter" keyboard shortcuts and auto-complete.
- Movie Outline guesses character names as you type dialogue, suggests scene headings and transitions and automatically paginates your script to industry-standard guidelines.
Final Draft is "The Man" when it comes to scriptwriting. If you aim to write scripts professionally, you'll need to buy a copy of Final Draft at some point. It is, as they say, the industry standard. You can save Final Draft scripts as PDFs, so your trusted readers don’t need to own a copy to review your work and give you their loving feedback.
A few Final Draft features we like:
- Ease of use: As soon as you’ve installed the program you can start writing. The intuitive software not only automatically formats your script, but has a nifty SmartType tool. Enter a few letters of a name, location, etc., and the rest will automatically be filled in.
- Great panel view: There are a few ways to view your script in panel form. It’s like getting a bird’s eye view of your entire script.
- Bookmarks and ScriptNotes: As your story gets longer bookmarks are an easy to way to jump around in your script with one click. ScriptNotes keep your thoughts in line, can be printed separately and do not affect your total page count.
- Final Draft opens the file on the page you were on when you last closed the document. If you jump around in the sequence of your script this can be very helpful!
Movie Magic Screenwriter is easy to learn and use. All you need is a Tab button and the Enter (PC) or Return (Mac) key. It's professional and powerful scriptwriting software.
A few Movie Magic Screenwriter 6 features we like:
- It has over 100 templates and tools to help you brainstorm, outline, write, and rewrite your story of script.
- They offer free technical, phone, web support and email support for as long as you use the software.