Which software should I get?

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hunnypot

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I'm currenty using word but am thinking of getting a scriptwriting software. I am UK based so would be aiming for UK based people to send my scripts to but also want to keep US open. Isn't the UK and US format of feature film scripts exactly the same? But I also wish to write for UK TV which I know do not have the same format as US TV. Which screenwriting software would be best for UK/US features and UK TV? Thank you!
 

alleycat

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The BBC Writers Room has some free software (or they used to) in both UK and US versions. There's also Celtx, which is free.

What not use one of the free software programs for now. It would be fine until you actually got to a point where you wanted to submit something, then you could look at one of the professional packages. I use Movie Magic; it and Final Draft are the top pro software programs in the US.
 

Writer2011

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I use Scene Writer Pro...which costs but you can work on individual scenes without messing up your entire script.
 

odocoileus

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The pro standard is either Final Draft or Movie Magic. Try both demos. If you prefer one or the other, and you've got 150 Euros in your pocket, order away.

Free solutions like Celtx, Page2Stage, and the BBC Writers Room templates work fine for new writers. Celtx in particular seems to keep getting better.

I haven't tried Zhura, but it looks pretty good at first glance.
 

iforgot120

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Celtx is very good as a free option. I've never used any software that I've had to pay for to write a script, so I can't compare Celtx to anything like that but it's still really good.
 

ATP

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I covered this same subject in an earlier post:

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=3597089#post3597089
[see post #6]

and the broader picture/overview is covered here:
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=24087

Scriptsmart is the free software offered by the BBC, and is what
I am using at the moment (my first script). Though a bit "clunky", it is a simple-to-use bare bones piece of kit.Quite sufficient for the beginning screenwriter.

Though free, Celtix comes with a hell of a lot of other functions, much related to pre-production, which beginning (& even veteran) screenwriters will likely never use.
 
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iforgot120

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That part about Celtx is true. At first, I figured that since they were there I might as well make use of them but it got tedious and I dropped it fast. Celtx is good because it formats everything for you and it's free; the extra options it has don't mean too much.
 

Team 2012

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It's really hard to see a good reason for NOT trying out Celtyx for openers. It is, after all, free.
Maybe screenplays will not be a long-lasting fascination. And if you move up, you'll have something to baseline your impressions of other programs.
 

ATP

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Sorry, this is not the "correct" attitude-go for "x" software essentially because it's free.

For beginning screenwriters, Celtx is actually bloated with a lot of functions that they will never need. The script writing component is a small part of the total 'package', which is really geared toward pre-production, and use by production people (obviously).

If it is free that is most important to you, there are other more suitable scriptwriting software applications which deal only with screenwriting: Roughdraft, Page2 Stage.

There are other on-premise screenwriting software equally as good which cost only a small amount of money:screenpro ($10-$20), scriptgenie ($30).
 

Team 2012

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That is a pretty unusual preference.

Celtx is actually bloated with a lot of functions that they will never need.

Unlike which program that you're aware of? It compares to Final Draft and Movie Magic like a Yugo compares to a Caddy pimpmobile.

And yes, being free IS a good reason to try something to start out with. Think that one over a minute.

And yes, there are lots of free templates for Word that are cheap and free and allow you to work within your familiar environment.

Here's a free template for Open Office, if you use that to write:

http://www.geocities.com/n2geoff/OO/oo.html
 

Doug B

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First, I write stage plays not movie scripts.

Page 2 Stage is infinitely customizable - down to the number of spaces after a period and the strike weight of the printer fonts (it is amazing how much difference there is between different courier fonts and how easy it is to tweak their appearance to make them look good).

Page 2 Stage is very intuitive to use - the learning curve is about zero.

Best of all, Page 2 Stage always seems to know what I want to do next when I hit the ENTER key

On the down side, the company who wrote and sold Page 2 Stage has abandoned it so there will not be any more improvements unless someone takes it over.

Doug

P.S. I also have the BBC MS Word templates but I hate MS Word so much that I never use them. Wordperfect forever!!!!
 

Jim McLain

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I have used both MovieMagic and celtx. I like MovieMagic. The trick is use what you like so long as it gets you there. I have spent my life however using other people's tools and decided that I would spend my money for tools that work for me and not necessarily settle with what I could get cheapest. Sometimes free is best and sometimes it isn't. Look at what a program does and what your needs are and then get the thing that closest approximates that.
 

ATP

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And yes, being free IS a good reason to try something to start out with. Think that one over a minute.

I don't wish to nitpick. However, I am sure that you're aware that in many cases when it comes to free software, the general view is the bigger the better the more bang for the non-buck. Even if the end user will use only a tenth of what is offered on the 'ware.But this last point seems to be disregarded.

In this case, when only 10% is ever used of the free software, and there are other smaller, more suitable warez, equally free (or maybe even for a small fee), then I think I know which I would go for.

For a slightly different analogy, how about mobile phones? Have an ever-increasing range of functions, but how many of them are actually used? or used frequently? There you have it...

And yes, there are lots of free templates for Word that are cheap and free and allow you to work within your familiar environment.

Here's a free template for Open Office...yes, a good example of what i was referring to.
 

Team 2012

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I am sure that you're aware that in many cases when it comes to free software, the general view is the bigger the better the more bang for the non-buck.

Actually, this tendancy is much more frequently encountered in programs that cost hundreds of dollars, and want to sell upgrades and new versions.
 

Steve Rotramel

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If you're going to spend the money anyway, take a look at the Movie Outline demo. The cost is about the same as Final Draft or Movie Magic.

I've used all three fairly extensively. Movie Outline is the most intuitive for me. Company is based in London by the way.
 

Team 2012

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If you going to spend that much, you may as well get Final Draft even though it is not very intuitive (one might even say counter-intuitive) and kind of wrong-headed...because it's such an industry standard.

If you're getting you feet wet, pick up a bunch of Word templates (of which most have something wrong with them) or Celtyx. Once you've done a script or two you're in a better position to try out others. Most of the biggies have demo versions for test-driving, by the way.
 

Steve Rotramel

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I'm not so sure "industry standard" matters too much.

Once it's printed you can't tell the difference.


Quote from Team 2012 - "Most of the biggies have demo versions for test-driving, by the way."

Best advice yet.
 

Team 2012

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It matters a very great, looming deal when you're working. You start exchanging scripts with revisions and notes and such, everybody has to be on the same page.
In television work, which is a gangbang from the get-go, vital.

Obviously not a concern for doing a spec script or testing one's waters.
 
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ATP

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I'm currenty using word but am thinking of getting a scriptwriting software. I am UK based so would be aiming for UK based people to send my scripts to but also want to keep US open. Isn't the UK and US format of feature film scripts exactly the same? But I also wish to write for UK TV which I know do not have the same format as US TV. Which screenwriting software would be best for UK/US features and UK TV? Thank you!

I think Derek may well be in a good position to answer this question directly. Besides the fact that he is also based in the UK, I think that he is better placed to answer the question of UK vs. US formatting for film and UK tv.
 

HardBoiled1920

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Who wants wrong-headed?

If you going to spend that much, you may as well get Final Draft even though it is not very intuitive (one might even say counter-intuitive) and kind of wrong-headed...because it's such an industry standard.

If you're getting you feet wet, pick up a bunch of Word templates (of which most have something wrong with them) or Celtyx. Once you've done a script or two you're in a better position to try out others. Most of the biggies have demo versions for test-driving, by the way.

You make the difference between Final Draft and Movie Outline 3 sound like difference between a (counter-intuitive Windows) PC and a (intuitive) Mac. (IMHO)