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Screenwriting software allows writers to transform concepts and ideas into fully-fledged scripts using tools and features to create formatted screenplays. As well as making the screenwriting process easier, it allows, for example, collaborators to work on the same script at any one time.
There was once a time when writing a script could be considered a long and sometimes tedious task.
Even when the first draft was completed, it was often the case that a series of rewrites would be needed, which could lead to confusion and significant time being taken when carrying out these amendments.
Of course, to ensure that a script works, the appropriate amount of effort must be invested, but it is safe to assume that creating a script now is much easier than it was previously.
This can be attributed to the advancement of technology and software which has evolved, so it should come as no surprise that scriptwriting has also inspired several platforms that can make the art of script writing a more productive and streamlined process.
However, to get the best from scriptwriting software, it is worthwhile to understand what screenwriting software is and the benefits it can offer.
The Benefits of Screenwriting Software
Although screenwriting programs and apps can vary, the core benefit of screenwriting software is to ease the creative process. As well as allowing the creation of a script, script writing software offers several tools that make the writing, reorganization and collaboration of a script easier.
Screenwriting software features can include but is not limited to the following:
Screenwriting software is available in various forms, including apps for Android and iOS devices, and downloadable software for Mac and Desktop users.
In some instances, using screenwriting software can be carried out solely online using cloud-based platforms to create and save work.
How Does Screenwriting Software Work?
Screenwriting software provides various specialized shortcuts that allow users to storyboard, quickly create character names or slug lines, the addition of production and character notes, easy reordering of scenes and other features and tools for writers to streamline the creative process.
When researching screenwriting software, a Google search will yield many various results. Often, writers will be searching for "the best screenwriting software", but this can depend on the type of features a screenwriter is looking for.
Screenwriting software aims to aid the creative process and ensure there are fewer bumps in the road when perfecting a script, meaning there are several features that can be used such as brainstorming and collaboration, which is a major part of the scriptwriting process.
Another important feature of screenwriting software can be the backup features. Although a simple feature in the scheme of things, it does ensure hours of creative work are not lost due to a technical blip.
For example, you can backup to a cloud storage platform or set your preferences so your work backs up locally when you're offline and then syncs automatically when you log back on.
Much like the backup feature, the inclusion of real-time collaboration is another important feature that will enable teams of writers to work together on script creation and revision.
It can be an excellent way of ensuring less time is spent on edits, meaning that teams can move forward productively when writing a script.
Why We Need Screenwriting Software
We need screenwriting software because of the many features to facilitate the script creation process of a professional screenplay, which includes organizing research, structuring the script, recording ideas, brainstorming and collaborating with writers, adding notes, and plotting the narrative.
Despite how many benefits using screenwriting software offers, some may find it difficult to tear themselves away from their typewriter or word processor, and this is understandable.
However, those who have trialed screenwriting software are often surprised by how much easier the screenwriting process is when using this software.
There can be other reasons why using screenwriting software is important. For example, those who work alongside agents will often find that scripts need to be submitted in a specific file format.
Those new to screenwriting can benefit from starting with free software to gain experience, but those looking for more control and higher quality will need to invest in software that offers features that are more advanced.
Using screenwriting software not only ensures that script submittals are easier but it can be used alongside other file formats which helps to streamline the process.
Using scriptwriting software also ensures the formatting is set out in the correct way to industry standard. Although there are times when formatting errors will be overlooked, if they become a distraction for those reading the script, it could mean that it affects the process or holds it up.
Another huge benefit regarding using screenwriting software is that writers do not need to be in the same location to work on a script in real time.
This has been of great help during the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring that creative work can still move forward during difficult times.
When creating a screenplay, writers should be striving for excellence every time, and using screenwriting software certainly allows for this.
Sure, an investment may be required, but it is worthwhile for those wanting to perfect their craft and find success when selling or submitting a script.
How Much is Screenwriting Software?
Screenwriting software can be bought as a subscription or one-off purchase. Users wanting to make a one-off payment will find the most widely used script writing platforms can cost $300. Those wanting to invest in subscription-based screenwriting software can pay between $10 and $20 per month.
Making a one-off purchase can offer greater value-for-money, but using a subscription service can be a cost-effective way of acquiring premium screenwriting tools.
In most instances, all options offer excellent value for money, but those making a purchase need to ensure that all their requirements are met before making a commitment.
As screenwriters may need to pay a premium to ensure they are getting the best from their software and the functionality they require, there are several factors that need to be considered when choosing screenwriting software.
Despite several platforms offering similar functionality, there will be some tools that are unique. As such, you need to establish what role you want the software to perform.
For example, those wanting to use screenwriting software used by the majority of the film industry may want to invest in Final Draft, whereas writers wanting a less expensive platform but which allows you to storyboard, incorporate a schedule and plan a budget may choose Celtx.
These are just two examples of the many screenplay software options available as there are many more that offer different features at various price points.
Script writers choosing screenwriting software for the first time may find that there is a significant amount of research that needs to be carried out…
Are There Free Screenwriting Software Options?
If you are just starting out as a scriptwriter, or just want to explore the screenwriting software options available, why not consider the following:
Although there are many free versions of screenwriting software available, these are often limited with regards to the features offered, for example revision tracking or real-time collaboration in some cases, and you may not be able to produce the file formats needed for script production.
This is not to say that such software is not beneficial, but those hoping to get more advanced features from their screenwriting software may need to look at paid options as opposed to free alternatives.
How to Choose the Best Screenwriting Software
.Selecting the best screenwriting software is based on budget and requirements. Final Draft is often the go-to option for industry experts. Trelby and Highland are ideal for beginners. Fade In is a great price with free updates. WriterDuet is free for first three scripts and ideal for collaboration.
Investing in the most expensive may seem the obvious option, but there is little point in making a purchase if many of the features are not going to be used.
Although there is little purpose in paying for tools you will never use, budding screenwriters do need to ensure that they have access to the features needed to carry out the script creation process effectively.
Despite free screenwriting software sometimes lacking features, this does not mean that screenwriters need to spend a small fortune.
Being aware of the features you are going to use ensures you are not paying more than you need to for screenwriting software while still being able to work in a productive manner.
The perfect screenwriting software is what works best for you and those you work alongside.
Despite the many factors that need to be considered, once a screenwriter finds their perfect fit, they will wonder how they managed without it!