Before the lights in the theater dim and the movie begins, before anyone buys soda and popcorn at the concession stand or a ticket at the box office, before a director calls action and the cameras roll, before a single actor is cast or a producer starts raising money, a movie is a document called a screenplay. This is how movies truly begin.
Almost without exception, all screenplays are written with screenwriting software. When it comes right down to it, they are very simple applications. They are word processors programmed to arrange words in screenplay format. Screenplays are designs for movies in the same way that blueprints are designs for buildings.
The process of creating a screenplay can be greatly helped or hurt by your choice of screenwriting software. In our review of the best movie writing software, we found that Final Draft, Movie Magic Screenwriter and Celtx Plus have the best tools and features you need to create a screenplay worthy of gracing the silver screen. We've also created informative articles about screenwriting software to help you along your writing journey.
Although all screenplays end up looking the same, not all screenwriting software has the same workflow, features or production tools. Listed below are the criteria with which we rated and ranked the best screenwriting software.
These features all have to do with words on the page. Of course, every screenwriting program worth its salt formats words in the proper screenplay format, but the best script software also features outline views that allow you to easily track scenes, characters and more. Some software will feature story and character development tools as well. The software should also be able to open different types of documents, such as plain text.
All the screenwriting software we reviewed contains rewriting and revision tools, making it easy to edit your scripts. However, only a handful of the apps contain specific revision tools for on-set rewriting when the screenplay is in production, and tools that let you lock pages, color-code new versions of the script and make other important alterations on the fly.
It seems like a foregone conclusion that screenplay writing software should be available for both Windows and Mac, but that isn't universally true. The best script writing software should be available for both platforms.
Additionally, the screenwriting software should be able to export to a number of different document formats, including plain text, rich plain text, PDF and others. A few of the software apps we reviewed are able to export versions that are Final Draft compatible, since Final Draft software is a major industry standard.
Help & Support
As with any software, there should be plenty of help and support options, including a user manual, user forums to connect with others and a FAQs page that are all designed to help you get started with the screenwriting software. If you need support, you should be able to contact the company via phone and email.
If you want to write a movie, you need screenwriting software. There really is no way around that. The best screenplay writing software provides you with writing tools and features that help you take your script on the long journey to the silver screen.
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