Friday, 8 April 2011 - browser based screenwriting

How are you writing and editing your script or screenplay? The most common answer is probably Microsoft Word, but you need to know that there are a certain set of formatting "rules" which keep the style of all scripts uniform and makes them easier to understand. It seems a bit much at first, but the alternative is people writing scripts however they damn please which means that things will get confusing, so it's handy that there is a set format.

Unfortunately it's a time-consuming bitch to write a script in Microsoft Word and keep it in the correct format, so I spent some time researching computer programs that will handle the formatting for me.

I found some, including software that helps you do storyboarding and planning as well as scripting, some required a paid subscription, and others would shackle me to my home computer, and as I like to work wherever I am, I wanted something a bit more flexible. I began looking into browser based script editors, and after trying several out, the best free browser-based scriptwriting tool I found was

You register with them for free and you can start writing your scripts straight away. It takes a little bit of getting used to but it's pretty straightforward. It might be worth familiarising yourself with basic script formatting beforehand to help you understand the program.

Basic screenwriting:
In depth screenwriting formatting (including the headache of font size and margins):
  • free
  • browser based so you can access from any computer online
  • automatically formats your scripts as you type
  • you can save multiple drafts
  • export to a variety of formats including text and pdf
  • automatically creates an editable coversheet for your script
  • great user community and forums

  • No undo button
  • It's browser based so sometimes doesn't feel as robust as a dedicated program and things can go a little haywire although I've never had anything beyond a minor inconvenience
  • It was difficult to import the early draft of the script which was written in Word, in the end I had to type it up from scratch
  • Your script is public (with a copyright) along with thousands of others unless you pay for a premium account
So, not as good as a dedicated program, but for me personally, the convenience that scripped offers trumps that. It suits my needs right now as a no-budget filmmaker. Maybe later I'll get some dedicated software, but right now, this is great for me.

If you'd prefer a program rather than a browser based editor, then I recommend you have a good look at the following:

FinalDraft: a professional screenwriting program and an industry standard.

CeltX: Free software, basically a free and less glossy version of FinalDraft.

I hope this has been moderately helpful.

No comments:

Post a comment