As a professional scriptwriter, it’s important to follow an industry-standard format. Using the right scriptwriting software will ensure you can effectively and professionally format your script and lay out your pages. So, all you’ll need to focus on is telling your story and creating compelling scenes for your production.
Here are our top 5 picks for best scriptwriting software:
1. Final Draft
No toplist of best scriptwriting software can start without mentioning Final Draft.
Final Draft has been an industry standard for decades – used by the world’s top screenwriters and filmmakers, including James Cameron and J.J. Abrams.
Available for Windows, Mac and iPad, Final Draft is the top-selling scriptwriting software in the world – and with its many useful features, it’s no surprise.
Final Draft features:
· A SmartType function that remembers scene elements like locations and characters, saving you time and effort
· Sophisticated tagging and reporting tools, allowing you to break down specific scene elements (actors, wardrobe, props, etc.) so you can easily input them into production reports
· Organisational tools, including Beat Board (for beat sheets), Story Map (for outlining), and Alternate Dialogue (for saving additional dialogue options)
· Real-time collaboration
· Index card view to help with scene arrangement
· Over 100 templates to help you format your script, including useful glimpses into how scripts for successful TV shows like Mad Men and How I Met Your Mother are formatted
Final Draft has just about everything you need to produce a professional script easily and efficiently.
Movie Magic Screenwriter comes a close second to Final Draft when it comes to the best-known scriptwriting software in the industry. It’s the preferred screenwriting file format for the Writer’s Guild of America West.
The software includes formatting functionality for:
· Comic books
Movie Magic Screenwriter also includes a custom NaviDoc interface, which juxtaposes your script alongside organisational materials like outlines and scene cards.
Its other features include:
· Real-time collaboration
· Professional templates
· Revision tracking
· An index card view
· Breakdown reports
An excellent scriptwriting software option for beginners, Celtx is a cloud-based screenwriting tool with approximately 5 million users worldwide.
The software includes a variety of template formats, which you can easily convert from one to another. And, if you’re working from an existing script, it lets you import your script in a variety of formats, including PDF, Final Draft, and Microsoft Word documents.
Celtx integrates with other pre-production tools, including:
· Call sheets
· Shot lists
Celtx also allows for collaboration, although not in real-time (you’ll need to refresh your work to see collaborators’ edits).
As its name suggests, WriterDuet is a great option if you’re collaborating with one or more writers remotely.
As well as real-time collaboration, it offers an in-app chat and commenting feature (which can be set to private or shared).
It also has a revision-tracking feature, which conveniently breaks down script changes by calendar date.
Other WriterDuet features include:
· Mobile integration
· Alternate dialogue storage
· Organisational tools
If you’re just starting out and want to experiment before financially committing to a professional scriptwriting software package, StudioBinder is a great option.
StudioBinder is an intuitive and easy-to-use solution, allowing you to focus more on writing and less on formatting.
As well as offering scriptwriting solutions, StudioBinder also functions as an end-to-end production management platform. That means if your script moves into preproduction and production, StudioBinder will also have you covered.
StudioBinder lets you:
· Use your screenplay to auto-generate shooting schedules,
· Shot lists,
· Storyboards, and
· Call sheets.
It also lets you build and manage production documents, collaborate with your team, and maintain all your contacts.
Falmouth Flexible offers an MA Writing for Script & Screen that you can study flexibly online. The course will teach you to create compelling and professional scripts, and is designed to help you kickstart your career: