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Screenwriting over time has been quite a talked about subject in recent times. It tells us that over time there has been a need for good plots which would drive your story which allows the audience to actually dive into the experience and feel the movie on a whole new different level.
It is not only movies which require scripts to work with. Scripts are important even in aspects when you are working on your favorite players and even come up with an act of your choice which would clearly define the level of work and effort that someone has put into making that visual spectacle which would be appreciated by the audience.
Now, with the proliferation and the growth of the movie industry in recent times, there has been quite a slide in the quality of script that is being put forward which would be actually able to carry the film on its shoulders.
Anyone of us might have a really great idea which we might love to transfer it into a story and make visuals out of the same. Though some of the ideas come quite easily, it is actually really difficult to work with the various standards that come with a script which follows certain procedures and a method attached to the same.
The use of header, footer and the various aspects which make up the format of a screenplay can actually be quite exhaustive to work with and might even create a lot of confusion too as you work around with the same. It can be a tiring job to actually remember all the required formatting while you are writing a screenplay.
The growth in digital technology and a renewed belief in the virtual world have led to the growth in technology which has made the process of writing simplified and it also allows you to add that perfect touch of professionalism to the script which proves the mettle that the script actually carries with itself.
What is a screenwriting software and why to use it?
Screenwriting software is being used quite often now and gives you the required thrust and flexibility to make your script look good and bring in a professional shade to your script. Many of the standards that are associated with a script are actually quite difficult to remember and work with the same. For a beginner, it actually becomes a nightmare to work with such a large number of instructions at hand.
The screenwriting software is indeed a great innovation and a boon for many of the screenplay writers who are working day in and day out to come up with new stories and ensure that the audience has a great experience when the words are being visually translated on the screen. The software has made the job of writing a script simplified and has indeed brought in a new dawn for the screenplay writer across the globe.
There is a myriad of options to choose from, well here we are shortlisting some of the best screenwriting software for Windows:
1. Final Draft
Final Draft has been like an archetype for the screenwriting software being used now. It is one of the leading screenwriting software that is doing the rounds of the market and has been used by leading screenplay writers and authors for quite some time now.
It is one of the most robust software that you can put your hands on. It comes with an array of tools to work around and tinker with. Being one of the pioneers in this field, it is easily one of the best screenwriting software that is available at your disposal.
2. Movie Magic Screenwriter
It is also one of the well-known software that is now being used by many of the leading screenplay writers and the authors in the west. It offers the users a rich interface and it comes loaded with an array of features which makes it great to work on.
It allows you to have a custom experience by allowing the users to customize the interface based on the needs of the users. It offers you a real-time writing experience as you can work with others too on the same project. The name suggests that it offers you a magical experience, which makes it one of the best screenwriting software to work with.
3. Celtx Basic Scripting software
Celtx is an option that you can look up to for the affordability and the ease of access that this software has to offer. It is one of the easiest software to work on and gives the user an efficient and effective experience.
Celtix is one of the most solid, affordable and stable software that is available in the market for the users. It is one of the upcoming names in the industry which is slowly flapping its way to the top.
It is clear from the name; it is one of the leading software that allows you to work real-time with another person who is on the same platform. It is the software that works around and rhymes perfectly with the idea of collaboration which gives out an all-new output and adds a new dimension.
The software can be called as a perfect example of a social media site which has been carved out specifically for those who have a knack of writing. The best part about the software that it is easily accessible and is one of the best free screenwriting software.
5. Fade In
Fade In has emerged to become one of the most sought after and affordable screenwriting software in recent times. It comes with some of the most amazing features and is a perfect example to demonstrate that professionalism is a paramount aspect of any software.
It comes with a number of tools and options to work around with which gives the users a greater sense of control over the same. The range of professional tools and features that it comes with makes it one of the best screenwriting software.
6. Amazon Storywriter
Well, Amazon cannot be really left behind in any aspect. It has emerged to be one of the trusted and largest companies in recent times. Storywriter is software which is completely free to use and work on.
It comes with a simple interface and is, in fact, one of the easiest software to navigate through and work with, it is a boon for many of the beginners who might not have the money to purchase any of the premium software which comes at a high cost.
Now, we would move our attention to mac as we look towards some of the best free screenwriting software for Mac:
Montage is a specific mac software and comes with an array of nifty features of sorts to work with which brings out a greater professional outlook to the same. It might not have many of the professional features to work with, still, it comes with great stability and allows one to tweak around with many of the tools.
Best value mac for software development. Why programmers think Mac OS X is the best OS to use. Dmitri Zagidulin, a distributed systems engineer, sums up the change: 'Go to a tech conference or developer event.
The software is not really cheap, but it is quite affordable if compared with many of the screenwriting software that is present in the same category.
Scrivener is a special software which is primarily designed and curated to work for novels, but is also an effective software if we are to work with giving the screenplay that we have written a fine touch.
Not one of the fanciest software of sorts, but does the work that is supposed to do with ease and conviction. Scrivener is the perfect software that allows one to build up ideas as you work towards creating your perfect script. With scope to build ideas and work around with the same, it is one of the best screenwriting software for the users.
9. Highland 2
Highland comes with a fountain file format. It is compatible with a number of file formats which gives you the flexibility to work across an array of the platform. It brings in great flexibility and allows the users to experiment with the available file formats.
It is one of the leading free formatting software that has made creating and editing a screenplay easier than ever before. It does the job of formatting the screenplay quite well and it also gives the users a number of tools to work and experiment on.
Slugline is simple but powerful software to work with. It is one of the most convenient software to work on and also comes with a number of tools and features that can be accessed for free and also gives the users the required flexibility to work around with words.
The software comes with one of the best navigation tools that you would come across and is one it guides the user through every aspect of the software as one uses it.
11. Script Studio
Once known by the name of Movie Outline. Script studio as the name is like a professional suite offering you almost all features and tools to work with. The software comes with a reference library, to which you can head to whenever you need inspiration.
Script Studio has a detailed interface but is actually quite easy to navigate through and perform the task of formatting the screenplay with ease.
Causality has brought about a revolution in the process of screenplay writing and has actually made the process of writing and formatting a screenplay fun and the process has been made easier than ever before.
It comes with an all-together different approach, it comes with a unique feature that allows you to plot a timeline of your story and add key moments on the timeline. It brings in a more structured approach to the way a screenplay is formatted.
Wrapping it up!!
Screenplay writing with time has emerged to be a very integral aspect of making a film. Without a good plot that defines the direction of the story, it is not possible to make visuals on the screen which would connect to the audience.
Writing a screenplay is indeed a tiring job, with all kinds of parameters and the standards it comes with. Formatting a screenplay is exhausting and time-consuming. Now, with the technology, we have a myriad of software that we can use to create the perfect screenplay. Here, we have shortlisted some of the best screenwriting software for Windows and Mac users.
Screenwriting software are word processors specialized to the task of writing screenplays.
While add-ins and macros for word processors, such as Script Wizard for Microsoft Word, can be used to write screenplays, the need for dedicated screenwriting programs arises from the presence of certain peculiarities in standard screenplay format which are not handled well by generic word processors such as page-break constraints imposed by standard screenplay format. Screenplay software often provides specialized shortcuts for quickly typing character names or slug lines, collaborating with other writers, adding production notes, character notes, easy outlining, scene reordering, and other tools to facilitate the creative process. Other features often required when writing shooting scripts include page-locking, scene numbering, revision-tracking, and production-related reports (such as which characters appear in a given scene or which scenes are set during the day or night).
Some screenwriting applications, such as Celtx and Sophocles, also incorporate production scheduling and budgeting features.
Another class of screenwriting software includes those that, rather than act as specialized word processors, attempt to direct the writer's storytelling process by utilizing story theory to facilitate the planning of a screenplay. Examples of this type of program includes Dramatica and Index Card.
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Screenwriting software often also provides functions that allow writers to analyze their scripts for various characteristics. In 2018, developers began adding functions that allow an analysis of gender representation such as the Bechdel test, e.g. in Highland 2, WriterDuet and the forthcoming Final Draft 11.
Screenwriting programs exist for all varieties of platforms and environments including traditional standalone desktop applications that run directly on a personal computer, web applications that run solely within a browser, and mobile apps that run on phones, tablets, and other portable devices.
Plain text markup
The Fountain markup syntax, co-developed by screenwriter John August, facilitates formatting screenplays directly from plain text, be it in dedicated writing software, email programs, or text generated through OCR. There is also a formatting package for LaTeX called screenplay.
The first screenwriting software was a standalone script formatter, Scriptor, from Screenplay Systems. It took a text file generated by a word processor and inserted the proper page break tags. When used in conjunction with a TSR program such as SmartKey or ProKey—keyboard utilities that assigned a sequence of commands to keystroke combinations—the 'dot commands' that Scriptor required could be inserted semi-automatically. Additionally, keyboard macros could be programmed to properly indent and enter abbreviations—allowing a user to customize the working of the word processor.
SmartKey was popular with screenwriters from 1982–1987, after which word processing programs had their own macro features.
An update to Scriptor understood the style sheets used in Microsoft Word for DOS. And so the need for key macro programs was lessened. Scriptor's limitation was that once formatted it was difficult to re-import the resulting text back into a word processor for further editing.
The next generation of screenplay software hooked into Microsoft Word. Warren Script Application was initially released as a set of style sheets for Word for DOS. It was updated for Word for Windows circa 1988. gScript, a shareware script formatter/template, was released via CompuServe in 1989. It was included on the disk accompanying the book Take Word for Windows to the Edge, published by Ziff-Davis in 1993. It was subsequently updated and released commercially as ScriptWright.
This third generation of screenplay software consists of the standalone script writing programs such as Movie Magic Screenwriter, Final Draft, and Cinovation's Scriptware.
The latest generation adds online storage and collaboration and integrates with apps on mobile devices. Many software also integrate outlining tools as well as other creative support, and tools to further integrate the production process.
List of softwares
- Arc Studio Pro - Professional screenwriting software with automatic formatting, real time collaboration and drag and drop outlining features. Free and paid versions available.
- Beat - Free and open source screenwriting app for macOS, with drag and drop outlining, scene card and timeline views. It uses the Fountain plain text format.
- Causality - an original approach emphasizes visual story development outlining and simultaneous scripting movement while tracking causalities (cause and effects) of key plot points; simultaneously display of 3 story elements: Snippets(Script)/Story Logic (White Board)/Timeline, plus visual Characters tracking. Quickly breeze though an outline, simultaneously write out story Snippets as the ideas come. Exports into Final Draft, Fountain, and PDF, and loaded with extra features, with multi-language support, plus collaboration and other features coming soon. Free and Paid versions for Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows. 
- Celtx - Free to register, but requires paid subscription for the full collaborative version. Browser-based, with apps for Mac OS X, IOS, and Android. Includes a comic book script-writing mode.
- DramaQueen - Software for script writers and novelists. Offers working with storylines, turning points, different structure models, a storytelling guidance, character profiles, story-charts and character arcs.
- Dramatica - Name of a theory and software suite created as part of a project by Chris Huntley and Melanie Anne Phillips.
- DubScript Screenplay Writer- A professional screenwriting software for Android with features such as auto-formatting and Google Docs fixing. A free version is available with a watermark header on printed output/PDF and optional subscription. DubScript also outputs to most major screenwriting formats.
- Fade In Professional Screenwriting Software - Professional screenwriting software for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows and Linux, with mobile versions for iPhone, iPad and Android. Imports and exports Final Draft as well as most other major screenwriting software formats.
- Final Draft - Professional screenwriting software for Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows.
- Highland - Highland is a screenplay utility for Mac that seamlessly converts PDF screenplays into editable Fountain or Final Draft files, and back again. It’s also a text editor, so a screenplay can be written directly in Highland.
- JotterPad - A powerful professional screenwriting app for Android. Includes paid Fountain support, export to Final Draft and print formatted script to PDF.
- KIT Scenarist - A free and open source screenwriting software for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows and Linux, which includes story development tools, corkboard, screenplay editor and statistics module. Includes paid service for real-time collaboration and versions for Android and iOS.
- Montage - Screenwriting software for Mac only.
- Movie Magic Screenwriter - Integrated professional screenwriting software. Available on Mac and Microsoft Windows.
- Page 2 Stage - Free open-source software, designed specifically for Windows. Available in a variety of languages.
- Practical Scriptwriter - Professional script writing software for Windows. Formats cover Film, Stage, Radio and TV.
- Prewrite - Free browser-based tool for writers to develop story ideas into a screenplay, scene-by-scene—visually with timelines, cards and inspiring images. It tracks story beats, characters, emotional context, plot threads, and provides advanced analysis tools for insights into story structure. Provides importing and exporting features that work with Final Draft and PDF file formats.
- Script Studio (formerly Movie Outline) - Creative writing software for Mac and Windows designed by produced screenwriter for writing and professionally formatting movie scripts, teleplays, stage plays and novels. Includes story and character development features.
- Scripts Pro - iOS-based app which allows a writer to edit scripts in text file format via Dropbox and iTunes transfers.
- Scrivener (software) - A powerful writing tool that helps writers concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents for Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows.
- Screenwriter-mode - Major mode for the GNU Emacs free text editor. Includes commands and tools to format scripts as plain text files.
- Slugline - It is a screenwriting app for Mac, iPad and iPhone. It uses the Fountain plain text format.
- Story Touch - Story Touch is a complete software for dramatic development and creation. Graphs and color pallets will provide a veritable X-ray of a script.
- Storyist - Storyist is a creative writing application for Mac OS X and iPad.
- StudioBinder Script Sides - StudioBinder is a TV & film production management software which has an inbuilt screenwriting tool called 'script sides'.
- Tooleybook - Free online book writing software 
- Trelby - A free and open source screenwriting program for Linux and Microsoft Windows. (Development at a standstill, but still viable and available for download.)
- WriterDuet - Real-time collaborative, online-offline professional screenwriting software.
- Adobe Story - An online collaborative screenwriting suite by Adobe.
- Celtx free desktop version - Has become cloud-based requiring paid subscription for the full version.
- FiveSprockets - A discontinued free, online, collaborative story-development and scriptwriting web-software.
- Scripped - Professional browser-based screenwriting text editing software. (now defunct and no longer accessible)
- Sophocles - commercial story-development, scriptwriting, and scheduling package. (discontinued)
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- ^'What is the best free screenwriting software for screenwriters?'. Script Reader Pro. 2020-06-06. Retrieved 2020-06-06.
- ^'Celtx is Now an All-in-One Video & Movie Planning System'. No Film School. 2016-01-06. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
- ^Ryzik, Melena (21 May 2018). 'Is your script gender-balanced? The new test helping filmmakers get it right'. The Independent. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
- ^'John August and Stu Maschwitz Release 'Fountain,' a Handy Screenwriting Tool/Markup Language'. No Film School. 2012-02-14. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
- ^https://medium.com/infodump/a-working-guide-to-screenwriting-software-384abe163545 'A working guide to screenwriting software' Julian Simpson Mar 17 2018
- ^ abcEaton, Kit (2015-02-04). 'Video Feature: Easy Ways to Get Your Movie Idea Out of Your Head'. The New York Times. ISSN0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-01-03.