Screenwriting software is an important part of writing for the video format as the screenplay format is one of the most specific out of any writing platforms. Since there is a common screenplay format that is so involved, screenplay software takes much of that work out of the hands of the author and instead directs them through this process. Beyond this, the best screenplay software packages helps you bridge the screenwriting and the actual film pre-production and production so that it is not just a static piece of writing. Here is a look at the best screenwriting software out there that you should use to develop your script.
Final Draft continues to be the industry standard for screenwriting software. No other screenwriting software has had as much continued use in
the professional screenwriting world and you are going to find that Final Draft will be what many larger studios and production companies prefer to use. The basic drive behind the Final Draft screenwriting software is to maintain the screenwriting format for you so that you can just work on the creative content instead of the physical structuring. Final Draft will put in the screenplay formatting points for things like dialogue, characters, scene headings, parentheticals, and other items that are made very specific by the screenplay format. What this allows is for you to just work on your screenplay and then select different format specifics so that Final Draft will just switch over to each element of the screenplay, such as from dialogue to scene action. Beyond just the screenplay format, the Final Draft screenwriting software will allow for even more types of documents like outlines, query letters, and treatments. Final Draft stands out because of its common language, range of details, accuracy of use in the screenplay format, and its outside features, but its $249 price can still be a little prohibitive.
Celtx may not be quite as well known as Final Draft, but it is still going to be one of the best screenwriting software packages you can find.
Celtx’s format is not quite as clean as Final Draft, and it is not going to have all of the formats that Final Draft will offer, but it does include one important feature: it is free. Celtx stands out as the best free screenwriting program and it is even going to jump forward from Final Draft in certain areas. Celtx offers formatting options for different types of scripting beyond the screenplay format, such as that for a play or AV. More importantly, Celtx also includes a fairly significant scheduling and pre-production package where you can tie pre-production forms to specific text elements in your screenplay within the larger Celtx file. This allows you to centralize your project in your Celtx file completely, which is much more than you should be able to expect from a free screenwriting program.
The Adobe Story screenwriting software is not as well known as either Celtx or Final Draft, but is going to grow in popularity because of its ties to popular Adobe post-production programs like Adobe Encore, Adobe Premiere, and Adobe After Effects. Adobe Story really builds on some of the features that Celtx is marked for in that it treats scripts as whole projects and allows you to tie in other elements outside of the script proper. You can "tag" items in the screenplay in Adobe Story to then be used to create reports, and you can even utilize metadata for tying in practical production things like shot lists. Many of the features that could make Adobe Story successful will be a little difficult for newcomers, but it may stand out as the future of screenwriting software.