If you’re a professional screenwriter looking to break into the film industry, you no longer have to be located in Hollywood or brush elbows with movie producers daily.
Today, all that you need is a computer, screenwriting software, a literary agent, a knack for writing, (and a lot of luck). To get your script from page to screen, you need the best screenwriting software.
About Script Writing Software
Screenwriting software helps you perform composition, editing, formatting, and printing of scripts used in films, television, or video games.
It helps scriptwriters in meeting the stringent formatting guidelines of the industry, study and correct language and grammar, and keep back-ups of their documents. This software eliminates the need for manual formatting to get your script in line with industry standards.
With simple keyboard shortcuts, screenwriters can add action, dialogue, sluglines, scene headings, transitions, parentheticals, character names, and more. However, there are hundreds of screenwriting programs available on the market today.
List Of Best Screenwriting Software
1. Final Draft
Used by 95% of Film and Television Productions.
Final Draft is a multi-award-winning screenwriting software, initially released in 1990. In 2013, it was awarded a Primetime Emmy Engineering Award and is famously used by Netflix, NBCUniversal, Paramount, ABC, Pixar, and more.
With its wide range of features, Final Draft 11 is best suited for those looking to use the same industry-standard screenwriting software that major television shows and motion pictures use.
- Advanced brainstorming and visualization tools to collaborate with writing teams.
- Automatically paginates and formats scripts to industry standards.
- It allows you to organize and customize “beats”, including character arc, plot points, location ideas, research, and more.
- Story maps connect your visualizations and beat boards into your script.
- You can visually plan key milestones and plot points.
- Alternate dialogue lets you store as many versions of lines as you want.
- Keyboard shortcuts like Tab and Enter allow you to switch between dialogue and action quickly.
- It provides automatic file back-ups so you never lose your data.
- Revision mode provides a history of all changes when taking a script through production.
- Its fonts support over 97 languages.
- Text-to-speech support.
- Over 100 different templates to choose from.
- Available on and compatible with Windows, OSX, and iOS.
Celtx is a cross-platform, cloud-based screenwriting and media pre-production software.
With 6 million global users, it is one of the best screenwriting apps in the market.
From script to shoot, this software provides you with tools that help you create better content quickly. The fact that it is a cloud-based software makes it easy for you to access your accounts from anywhere you want. Moreover, you can take advantage of Celtx’s powerful reports to gain actionable, production insight.
Celtx is best for screenwriters. It helps to turn simple, scattered ideas into full-fledged plans quite easily. It is also quite useful for playwrights and novelists.
- Has a simple, easy-to-learn, and intuitive user interface
- You can work online or offline with mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android
- A single master file (for better organization, you can work off a single master file)
- Uses a rich text editor module for novel writing
- It can support the creation of production calendars and strip-boards
- Allows directors and writers to tag elements within each script
- Fully cloud-based solutions
- Designed for real-time collaboration
- All-in-one pre-production management
- Team-tailored production workflow
Trelby, previously known as ‘Blyte,’ is a free and open-source screenwriting software.
As of now, it operates on both Windows and Linux platforms and is currently available on Github.
Licensed under GPL, Trelby welcomes developers and screenwriters to collaborate and make the platform even better. Moreover, it comes with a built-in, highly configurable PDF generator.
Trelby is perfect for screenwriters and individual writers who are on a budget since the software is entirely free of cost. It is also suitable for educational purposes, demonstrations, and tutorials.
- Extremely user-friendly and intuitive user interface (infinitely configurable)
- Comes with an in-built screenplay editor (enforces correct script format, pagination, and spell checking)
- Compatible with multiple platforms
- Multiple choices of views to choose from
- Reporting options (scene/location/character/dialogue options)
- In-built ability to compare scripts (to identify changes, if any)
- Allows you to choose from a multitude of options while importing (Screenplay formatted text, Final Draft XML (.fdx), Celtx (.celtx), Fountain (.fountain), Adobe Story (.astx), and Fade In Pro (.fadein))
- Can generate PDF with custom watermarks adding to increased flexibility
- Has a rich, fully in-built character name database
- System requirements for the software to work are minimal, making it easy to run even on old systems
Initially released in 2007, Scrivener is one of the best screenwriting software tools for authors and novelists.
One of the best screenwriting software in the market right now, it offers a wide range of activities, including organizing notes, drag-and-drop features, and editing multiple documents at one go.
It’s compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, and Linux. The best part is that you can use it as a project management tool as well. On top of that, it can mimic a typewriter, ring binder, and scrapbook.
Scrivener comes with features like footnote support, MathType integration, and the ability to refer to a research library. Thus, it is an excellent screenwriting software for historical, fictional, and non-fictional authors. Templates for writing general and academic non-fiction are also available.
- You can switch instantly from editing a section of your document to editing the entire document
- Has a user-friendly and intuitive interface
- Familiar text editing (allows you to use bolds, italics, and other formatting options)
- You can import your files from numerous Word processors and extensions, including Microsoft Word docs, text files, PDFs, and more
- Includes an in-built ‘Corkboard’ that allows you to rearrange files using a simple drag-and-drop option
- Pools all features onto a single platform for easy reference
- Easy compilation of documents into one chapter
- 30-day free trial period
- You can choose your own font
- Video tutorials available for easy understanding
5. Movie Magic Screenwriter
Movie Magic Screenwriter is an award-winning software that is perfect for screenwriting, novels, comic books, stage plays, musicals, and a lot more.
It offers free online videos to improve ease of use and also enables users to download a free demo version to try the software out. It has been used in many Hollywood movies, including the hit series ‘Pirates of the Caribbean.
Although Movie Magic Screenwriter is best for the film industry, it can also be used in the educational sector for assignment and research paper writing and submissions. However, despite new features, the high price makes it difficult for small organizations to use it.
- Very intuitive and flexible
- Automatically formats scripts to current industry standards (real-time, intelligent formatting)
- Allows you to tag characters and locations (when exporting to a scheduling program
- Has built-in collaboration tools (real-time)
- Color-coded features for easy reference and organization
- Highly customizable (changes the layout and modifies interface)
- Includes a custom ‘NaviDock’ interface (this can contrast your script based on a variety of factors)
- Offers professionally compiled templates
- The option of real-time collaboration with multiple stakeholders from remote locations (iPartner feature)
- ‘Text-to-speech’ transformation feature
- Has a notes commander that allows you to quickly organize, access, view, and script your ideas
That’s a Wrap!
One software option won’t make you the next Quentin Tarantino, Aaron Sorkin, or John August overnight. However, professional screenwriting software can make things easier by assisting you in your journey toward producing a clean, formatted, error-free, pitch-ready script.