The Best Free and Paid Screenwriting Software Solutions
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Whether you are writing on a Windows, MacOS, Linux or Android device, you need this software to write a script – free and paid.

To write a script, all you need is an idea and a place to put one word at a time. While it is possible to write a script in almost any text editor, scriptwriting follows its own rules and formats. Screenwriting.io has excellent (albeit brief) formatting instructions for standard scripts, but dedicated script software can handle the formatting while you, the scriptwriter, get those big ideas down on paper.

The best screenwriting software used by professional screenwriters and large production companies is not free, and many of them are for macOS devices only. Somehow, macOS computers have become de facto screenwriters, but you don't have to worry. Many script software options are either free or at least affordable and can be run on Windows or even from a browser tab. Scriptwriters working with a team may want to choose software that enables real-time collaboration. However, solo screenwriters or budget writers can use one of the following free options to work on their Magnum work. Check out the options below to find the perfect script solution.

Free

Fountain

Fountain is not an app, software, or coding language, but its syntax will help you immensely. Image by GoodStudio.

It took a while to wrap my head around Fountain, but it made perfect sense when I did. New screenwriters in particular should learn how to use Fountain and develop that skill for future projects. So what is fountain? Well, it's not an app, software, or coding language.

Fountain is an easy way to write scripts in any text editor using a well-defined set of rules. When used correctly, the plaintext is converted into a script. To explain how easy it is to use, you can open the free Windows Notepad app and start typing with the syntax to format the script. Fountain's syntax is straightforward: you can grasp the basic elements in minutes. Most users just need to remember the basic syntax for proper formatting, but there are advanced rules for those who want to get the most out of Fountain. Below are the basics:

  • Start a sentence with to create a scene heading INT, EXTor other applicable words.
  • Add a character element by entering the name of the character completely in capital letters after an empty line and inserting a dialog line in the next line.
  • Create a dialog by entering the dialog after a character element or parentheses.
  • Create transitions like CUT TO: Art TO: after CUT– Must be in all caps with a clear line before and after.

Fountain makes scriptwriting available to anyone with a text editor and keyboard, and The Beat foresaw this as the future of scriptwriting six years ago. Open the text editor you want and play with Fountain to learn the basics. When done, save the file with the extension .Fountain and convert it using afterwriting, screenplain, or if you have a macOS device, Highland.

Writer duet

Screenwriting software: Writer DuetAll necessary tools can be selected in the sidebar. However, there are also easy-to-remember hotkeys to make the writing process even more efficient. Image via Writer & # 39; s Duet.

As for the free options, Writer Duet is one of the best. The free version of the software is a full-fledged script tool that works in almost any browser and can be exported to various file types. You can export to Fountain and work on another text editor, or export the file as a PDF that will convert your work, title page, and everything into a script. Other file types are Celtx, Final Draft, Docx, and RTF.

As a first-time user, Writer Duet provides a quick guide to the script format and then off you go to the races. Writing a screenplay in Writer Duet is a streamlined experience, with many useful smart features that recommend previously used characters, scenes, headings, and other commonly used words.

Writer Duet has a handy sidebar with formatting tools. However, the app also uses hotkeys for the same tools: (a) ction, (c) haracter, (d) ialogue, (s) cene headings, (t) ransitions. Writing a script takes a lot of brainpower, but Writer Duet's smart formatting and suggestion tools keep you writing undisturbed. I used it to write a short script and it only took me a few hours to get used to the software.

Those who want unlimited projects or employees should check out the Plus tier, which costs $ 5 per month. There are also two other paid subscription levels. For budget-conscious solo screenwriters, however, the free version of Writer Duet is sufficient.

Kit scenarist

Script software: Kit ScenaristKit Scenarist is one of the most minimalist script software available on Windows and promises a distraction-free environment that is ideal for writing. Image via Kit Scenarist.

This Russian-made script software is free to download and use. The "Pro" version of the software does not offer any additional functions, but secures projects in the cloud. The bottom line is you don't have to pay for it, but you can donate a few dollars to the creator through the website.

Unlike other software or apps on this free list, Kit Scenarist is a desktop-only app. The software is compatible with Windows, macOS and some of the most popular Linux distributions such as Ubuntu and Debian. It may even work on a Raspberry Pi with Raspberry Pi OS as it is based on Debian. Seasoned Chromebook owners can also use Kit Scenarist by enabling the Linux (Beta) feature that runs Debian.

I tested Kit Scenarist on Windows and enjoyed having dedicated offline script software to cut out all the distractions. The option to use the software in dark mode is one of my favorite pastimes and adds to its value with night owls. The Scriptwriting tab is the main attraction, but the Research and Maps tabs are also useful. By doing research On the tab, you can write background information about characters and places, write a summary, and add media files. The cards The tab works like a storyboard. This tab creates a virtual card for each scene in the script and posts the cards on a bulletin board. The script The tab also has a handy scenes sidebar that you can use to navigate back and forth between scenes.

Kit Scenarist has no text correction tools, nor the ability to collaborate with multiple people online or export to different file types. But it's handy for what it does, especially at the low price of FREE. If you are looking for simple screenwriting software with easy storyboarding capabilities, this is the place to look.

DubScript only (Android OS)

Script software: DubScriptDubScript could be the answer for anyone who wants to write on their phones. Image through visual generation.

While there is some belief that all screenwriters spend their time in coffee shops typing on expensive Macbooks, this is not the case with all. Having access to a specific computer shouldn't put off script writing, especially for young scriptwriters looking to learn the basics. While it might be easier to type on a full keyboard attached to a computer or tablet, DubScript gives anyone the ability to write a script from their Android phone. Again, Chromebook users can download this app if their computer is compatible with Android. This makes it perfect, budget-friendly software for just about anyone. The app is fully functional with the touchscreen keyboard of a phone or tablet. Even so, I recommend buying an affordable Bluetooth keyboard to maximize productivity. For example, this Logitech keyboard is portable and has Bluetooth for around $ 50.

The app uses Fountain. So you need to brush up on the syntax to use DubScript properly. DubScript doesn't do the formatting work for you, but it does suggest corrections to your scene headings if they're not in uppercase. You can save the script as an HTML, Fountain or Final Draft file and export the finished script to a PDF file directly from the app. One thing DubScript does well is that you can toggle between the Write and Read tabs, with the latter showing the formatted version of the former. Because of this, you can determine whether your script is properly formatted before exporting.

The app is free to download and use, but there are ads. The indicators appear only on the Write tab and not on the Read tab. A "DubScript" logo is also added to exported files. To remove ads and logo in PDF files, users can pay $ 0.99 / month or $ 9.99 / year. While this is not my first choice, it is the only choice for users with only an Android phone. One use case that I think is likely is transferring a fountain file to DubScript to work on an airplane trip or any other scenario where a computer is not ideal. And if you are worried about losing your file, then this is not the place to be. You can upload and backup to both Dropbox and Google Drive.

Raised text 3

Screenwriting software: raised textWith the Fountain syntax selected in the Settings menu, Sublime Text is a serious competitor for those looking for free script software. Image over raised text.

My knowledge of coding doesn't go beyond using HTML to make the easiest website possible. However, I know Sublime Text is one of the best text editors for programmers. What does coding have to do with writing a script? Unless you're writing a script set in Silicon Valley, not a lot, but text editors for coding can also write scripts with Fountain.

Sublime Text is free to download and use, and can script script using Fountain. As mentioned above, Fountain is a simple set of rules for writing scripts. In order for Fountain to work on Sublime Text, you need to download a package. After installing the Fountainhead package in Sublime Text, I followed Fountain's rules to give an example. It worked perfectly. I tested the file by converting it to a PDF and that worked fine too. While Sublime Text is free and straightforward, it lacks all of the smart formatting features found in other software, making Fountain difficult to use for first-time users.

Google Docs with Fountain Tools

Screenwriting software: Google DocsTo see what the text will look like when exported, you can open the preview window, a feature of Fountain Tools, a free Google Docs add-on. Image about well tools.

I think Google Docs is one of the greatest inventions of our time. I used docs. I was a broke college student writing papers on a cheap Chromebook. Google Docs does a lot for no money and can be used on any device with a browser. If it works on a $ 50 Raspberry Pi, it can work on anything. Despite all of this, it's not the best tool for scriptwriting.

That said, thanks to a nifty Google Docs add-on called Fountain Tools.

Fountain Tools allows users who want to use Fountain to write scripts in Google Docs. The add-on only does two things: preview and export to PDF. I tested it and both functions worked fine. When exporting, Fountain Tools doesn't let users choose where to go, but I found the exported PDF on the homepage of my Google Docs.

Using Google Docs to write a script is probably not the first choice for many as it doesn't have script-specific features. However, Google Docs is constantly backing up files to the cloud to ensure your script is never lost. Better still, you can add collaborators to the file to work with you at the same time, or leave comments and changes. As long as you know Fountain, you can use Google Docs to write scripts from any device with a browser.

Paid

Final draft

Script software: Final DraftFinal Draft is one of the powerhouses for script writing and has some unique and powerful features. Image via Final Draft.

Chances are, your favorite movie was written with Final Draft. It's just the most widely used professional screenwriting software in the industry – with a price tag to match. For a professional screenwriter, $ 250 for screenwriting software is the cost of doing business, but artists in difficulty may not have the money to do it. However, the price is not undeserved. This software contains several useful features, some of which are not available in competing software.

One of the most useful features is the ability to collaborate on a script in real time so that screenwriters and other production staff can work out certain aspects of a script in the software. SmartType is another great feature that lets you automatically enter character names, positions, and other commonly used words. Final Draft has too many features to go beyond, but it's the industry standard for a reason. While solo screenwriters may want to stick to one of the free or cheaper options, Final Draft is the choice for the writer who wants it all, regardless of price. When it comes to J.J. Abrams, who used Final Draft to write the script for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, then it's good enough for everyone.

Celtx

Script software: CeltxWriting a script is free on Celtx, but other advanced features are locked behind a paywall. Image via Celtx.

For scriptwriters who want more than just script software, Celtx is a great option. It is possible to write a script in Celtx. However, if you're just writing a script, I think Writer Duet is a better option. Where Celtx shines and differs from mostly screenwriting apps is its full suite of planning and planning tools.

Celtx is basically the Google G-Suite for production companies. It's a central hub that stores shot lists, call lists, scripts, budgets and everything else. Once you've completed a script, you can start planning the shoot by opening the Shot list Window. This will open the script, break it down scene by scene, and open a window with plenty of text boxes for scheduling the recording. The budget window is a handy spreadsheet that lets you split the cost of everything from talent to production team to camera equipment and all of your other expenses.

While many screenwriters may need a simple text editor, Celtx is a full suite of production tools. However, the free version only offers the most important functions. You would like to subscribe to one of the paid levels to get the most out of the software.

Highlands 2

Script software: Highland 2Highland 2's streamlined user interface is perfect for writers who want to minimize distractions. Image via Highland 2.

There are more than a few options for macOS-only screenwriting software. However, Highland 2's minimal user interface and free options set it apart from the competition. In contrast to other script programs, the free version of Highland 2 unlocks all functions and does not set a time or page limit. You can use Highland 2 for free as long and as often as you want, but there is a small catch. When exporting with the free version, Highland 2 stamps each page with a watermark. Fortunately, the paid version of Highland 2 removes the annoying watermark when exporting to PDF.

Highland 2's approach to screenwriting is minimal, which will appeal to the easily distractable writer. The "sprint timer," which sets a timer for distraction-free writing, is also a nice feature. With the intelligent functions, Highland 2 recognizes scenes, transitions, characters and locations and saves the user time. By choosing Go to the previewHighland 2 converts written text into a script preview so you can review your work before exporting it. Used during Highland 2 the .highland file In the format, you can import PDF, Final Draft, and FDX files. Screenwriting.io recommends Highland 2 for converting fountain files to PDF.

Efficient, simple, and affordable, Highland 2 is one of the best options for macOS users. If you're easily distracted, check out Highland 2. And the Sprint Timer function, which is based on the Pomodoro technique, is the perfect tool for authors who like to work in highly concentrated bursts. Although Highland 2 doesn't have many of the advanced features in Final Draft, Celtx, and Fade In, it is still popular software for many.

Perhaps the most unique feature in Highland 2 is the "gender analysis," which records the gender of all characters in a script. This tool divides your script into percentages and counts the number and number of words spoken by each gender. With the awareness of inclusivity at an all-time high in Hollywood, this feature alone makes it a worthwhile inclusion that can help writers discern their undetected tendency toward gender.

macOS alternatives: Slugline, Logline

Fade in

Script software: fade inWhen writing in full-screen minimal mode, Fade In hides the user interface, making it ideal for writers who want a quiet writing environment. Image over fade in.

First, let me say that Rian Johnson used Fade In to write the spectacular Knives Out, a film that was nominated for Best Original Screenplay by the Academy Awards. Fade In probably had nothing to do with the film being nominated for Best Original Screenplay, but it had nothing to do with either. The $ 80 software costs far less than Final Draft and is financially more profitable than Celtx or other subscription-based software due to its one-time purchase. Fade In is also available on all major platforms including Android, iOS, and various Linux distributions.

At an affordable price, Fade In offers the advanced features scriptwriters need: real-time collaboration, autocomplete, cloud storage, support for various file formats, and much more. Fade In offers the best parts of Final Draft at a fraction of the cost. A demo version is available for free download as an incentive for potential users. Try it out and see for yourself.

You have to start somewhere

Although good script writing software can make writing a script easier, it takes more than a text editor to write something compelling. I highly recommend checking out the Internet Movie Script Database (IMSDB), which is a great way to read scripts for free and learn how the best screenwriters in the business do it. A professor of mine said the only way to write better is to read as much as you can. This is the best advice I've ever received.

While researching this article, I decided to write my own short script using the version of Writer Duet that you can read here. Just pick an idea and write one word at a time. You'll soon have a script ready to go.

Cover picture via Pashabo.

Find even more ways to turn your ideas into successful scripts:

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