If you’re new to script writing, getting started can be a daunting task. Creating an accurately formatted screenplay requires the script writing software. Some of the options out there can cost a bundle.
We’ll take you through all the screenwriting software options, from free to a fortune, so you can decide which script software is best for you.
The best free script writing software
When you’re learning a craft, you don’t want to spend a ton of money trying to master a skill. Script writing apps vary in their capabilities and usefulness. Let’s take a look at some free screenwriting software to see where you can begin your journey.
So who has the best free script writing software?
Celtx is a great place to start. It’s a script writing app for beginning screenwriters who want free screenwriting software. It’s a simple program to use and will help put you on your way toward your career.
Start with a basic screenwriting software.
Celtx has expanded itself from an online, free script writing software, to a pre-production suite. That can cost upwards for $249, but you can start out with the free screenwriting software and upgrade later.
This script writing software can handle most of the tasks involved with preparing for a production. Because Celtx is web-based, all your scripts are stored on the cloud rather than a hard drive. This makes adding collaborators and writing partners easy, as well as storage.
WriterDuet is another web-based, free screenwriting software, which prides itself on its intuitive keystrokes to help your stories flow from your brain to your fingers, and to the screen. It’s also some of the best script writing software on the market.
It’s free script writing software, Mac or PC.
This is a great screenwriting software for you and your writing partner.
WriterDuet has fewer production capabilities. It's more specialized for script writing rather than expanding into other production needs.
It's also on the web and has built-in collaboration features for you and your writing partners. That’s useful, especially if you’re not in the same room.
Still, it dampens your writing capabilities without wifi.
Both WriterDuet and Celtx are great resources for beginning writers who want to learn how to write their movie script without the entry costs of script writing programs like Final Draft.
Amazon Storywriter ranks among the best free screenwriting software because it’s simple to use, and only requires that you have an Amazon account.
Script writing software made easy with Amazon.
Based entirely on the cloud, Amazon Storywriter allows the same collaboration features as Celtx and WriterDuet but stripped down to its most minimalistic form.
There’s a Chrome app that allows you to write even when you’re not online. One unique benefit is that you can share your movie script directly to Amazon Studios through the app.
So if you’re ready to shop your screenplay around after writing it on this script writing software, check off Amazon with just the click of a button.
Okay, you’ve mastered the free stuff. Now it’s time to write like a professional.
This is what professional writers look like
Premium script writing software
As you begin to develop your skills and familiarity with the script writing process, it may be better to graduate to premium screenwriting software. These script writing apps are more robust and capable than the free sources previously listed.
They’re also more expensive, so proceed with caution.
Highland clocks in 0$. That’s right, but it’s not technically free. Highland offers lots of “in-app” purchases for special tools and formats. The professional package is $49.99, and certainly, it’s the most inexpensive of the professional tools.
This is screenwriting software made by a pro.
To start off, Highland is a low-cost script writing software that is capable of being properly formatted across multiple text processors. It also imports and exports to FDX (Final Draft) and PDF.Highland was developed by John August, who's become a significant voice in the script writing community through his blog. This is a tool for professional screenwriters, by a professional screenwriter. He's someone who's spent decades in the dredges of this software, writing hit movies like Big Fish. So he may know a thing or two about what makes a good program.
You’ll hear Final Draft called “the industry standard” for screenwriting software. And they expect you to pay for it. Currently, the latest version of Final Draft is $249.99. So how did Final Draft get to be the most widely used screenwriting software?
Tried and true screenwriting software. Final Draft is the most commonly used.
The easiest answer is that they’ve been around the longest. Nearly every show and studio uses Final Draft. While it's also the most buggy, it has the easiest user interface to navigate.
They also are constantly updating the software with new features. Upgrades usually cost around $99. While they’re not necessary, they do offer new and useful things from time to time.
You heard Final Draft was “the industry standard?” Well, Fade In bills itself as the “new industry standard.” Shots fired!
The challenger for the “best screenwriting software” title.
At only $79, Fade In is making its run at Final Draft’s market. Relatively new, and more efficient than Final Draft, Fade In is the script writing software becoming preferred by those who don't have to bend to the standards of studios and networks.
Fade In has fewer bugs and crashes less than most of its competitors and a lot more features. Check out their screenwriting software comparison sheet below.
What features determine the best screenwriting software?
The archaic monolith of Hollywood is so averse to change, though, that Final Draft still has such a strong foothold as the standard. Still, there are plenty of pros who have made the switch to Fade In.
Remember, no matter what you use; it’s the story that counts.
Movie Magic Screenwriter
A very capable and easy to use script writing software, Movie Magic Screenwriter is the Windows to Final Draft's Mac. It allows more customization and automatically double spaces after every period. That’s an issue that comes up in every writers' room that uses Final Draft.
Professional script writing software.
If you want something more advanced, but with fewer bugs and crashes than Final Draft, Movie Magic Screenwriter is the script writing software for you.
While it may not have the popularity, it's still more prevalent in the industry than the others, such as Fade In or Highland.
Up Next: Free Screenplay Outline Template!
Now that you have all the information you need to pick the right screenwriting software, it’s time to start writing your screenplay. It's helpful to read up on story structure from pros like Dan Harmon. Once you have your idea, you need to write an outline.
We have a free template to help push your story to its full potential.
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