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Messages posted since 08/27/2014

Topic: Screenwriting software

Author: Lisa Van Kula Posted: 07/19/10 07:27 AM

Anyone have advice about best software to use, most newbie friendly? I downloaded a template for my short script and just sort of freehanded it but would like to start using a program. And since my birthday is coming up, I need to pick soon so I can ask for it, :)

Author: L.J. Wright Posted: 07/19/10 08:25 AM

I don't know which is more newbie friendly but when I first started writing I used Final Draft. I was 17 and I figured things out pretty easily.

Also know there's movie magic and celtex (which is free). I haven't used movie magic but I've used celtex and I think it's pretty good. The only thing I don't like is that it doesn't give you the page count as you write.

You should go to amazon where they have the software listed and read reviews. This might help you in choosing. Hope this helps : )

Author: Lisa Van Kula Posted: 07/19/10 09:33 AM

Thanks L.J., it does help. :)

Author: Robert Watson Posted: 07/19/10 11:39 AM

Final Draft and Movie Magic are the standard. Probably more on Final Draft, but plenty are using MM too. If you figured out how to post here, you could figure out either of these programs. If you have friends who are writers, who you might want to trade scripts with, or even collaborate with, you might check with them before buying, since FD and MM aren't on speaking terms.

Author: Stephen Hoover Posted: 07/19/10 01:13 PM

Celtx is free. is web based and free as well.

Author: Walter Winton Posted: 07/19/10 01:28 PM

Whenever you submit a script, it will be in pdf form, so be sure to have a program that easily creates pdf (most do).

And as much as the free-market proponent in me hates to say it, Final Draft is the sole industry standard. It's the program that's loaded onto the computers at every production company, agency, and studio. It's the program everyone assumes you'll be using.

If you have a choice, and some extra cash (let's face it, FD is expensive and doesn't offer much more than the free programs) go with Final Draft.

Author: James Pickering Posted: 07/19/10 02:37 PM

If you're looking to buy then I'd go for Final Draft. It's easy to use for beginners, but there's load of helpful extras there as well if you want to take the time to learn them.

The only free one I have used is scripped and on the whole it was fine. I did have problems send the file over to FD though (formatting wise).

Author: Eric Shuler Posted: 07/19/10 04:07 PM

If this is going to be birthday gift, I would go with Final Draft (the current price is about $200 on Celtex is a good alternative if you have no money but in the end you will probably want to switch to Final Draft as your career progresses. The best part is your family and friends are giving you a gift that supports you career desires. A gift you will remember more than a cd/dvd you wanted at the moment but now gather dust on your shelf... If the price is too high for a b-day gift, get your family and friends to pool together or get amazon giftcards that you can combine.

Author: Irin Evers Posted: 07/19/10 05:23 PM

I feel like I'm in the minority but I love Movie Magic. I started with it years ago and have since won Final Draft (which is great because my collaborator uses it), so I tried it out, but I still find Movie Magic to be more intuitive and easier to use. Does anyone else use it?

Well, there goes my Final Draft endorsement deal.

Author: L.J. Wright Posted: 07/19/10 08:09 PM

Oh, I said it wrong it's celtx but yeah, make sure that whatever you get you can convert documents to PDF because a lot of the time if you submit online they mostly like to accept PDF documents.

Author: Julia Kubik Posted: 07/19/10 08:14 PM

Yep. I use Movie Magic and love it. Have used it since it was Script Thing. If everything gets put into a PDF I don't see why it would matter if you use Final Draft or Movie Magic.

Author: Eric Shuler Posted: 07/19/10 09:27 PM

FYI - If you every need to convert a word doc or picture to PDF, I use Primo PDF so I never have PDF limitations in a Window's world. It's freeware and can be safely downloaded from

Author: Eric Shuler Posted: 07/19/10 09:35 PM

An epiphany!!! You can download demos of both programs from the company websites. Give them a try and see which one feels better to you.

Author: Paula Smith Posted: 07/19/10 09:45 PM

Irin I'm with you. I purchased MM years ago and later won FD. I used FD a few times but went back to my MM. Either will work. I would go with whichever one is on sale that week.

Author: Irin Evers Posted: 07/19/10 09:50 PM

I knew I couldn't be the only one! I'd like for my collaborator to use Movie Magic too.

Author: Lisa Van Kula Posted: 07/19/10 10:18 PM

thanks everyone. I actually downloaded the free version of MM and used it a bit. Unfortunately, it had a "5-day free trial" not a "use it x amount of times before purchasing" trial. Lol. So by time I got my short loaded, and my partial feature, started tweeking and learning, it ran out!! That's a bit harsh, if they really want to sell their program, they should actually give you a bit more time to figure out some things. But glad I asked everyone. I will look on the net and I think (hopefully) everyone will just pool their cash so both are reasonably priced. I actually chose the trial of MM because it was cheaper than FD that I found anyway. But if FD is only $200 than that might be do-able. Lol. Can I just add that I was like a giggly school girl when the program indented and capitalized for me, lol. It was so cool! Can't believe I did it all "long hand" formatting the first time!

Author: Timothy Jay Smith Posted: 07/20/10 04:13 AM

Stay away from Scriptware. Never updated itself, now a total waste of time.

Celtx is free but I've had a heck of a time adjusting margins and doing some very simple things, at least in stageplay format. (And I only use it because for some reason I can't get Final Draft to work in a stageplay format.)

I think Final Draft is excellent for screenplays. Never tried MM.

Author: Mike Souder Posted: 07/20/10 12:15 PM

I'm waiting to win FD in a contest. In other words, I'll be using celtx for the rest of my career. It's nice and free and hasn't given me any major problems.