technology, tips

Great (Free) Open-Source Script Writing Software

So, you want to participate in Script Frenzy this June, but you know already that MS Word will give you an atomic headache just to get it to do its mediocre formatting job, so what do you do? You could go out and buy Final Draft for $229. Final Draft has been around for a long time, but lots of people don’t think it is so great (note the review is from 2004 and that Final Draft is still at version 7). If $229 is too much for software described as “buggy” with “poor technical support” you could try Montage for as little as $140 (download only price). But, you may not like that people don’t have much love for Montage and its bugs either, plus it is only for Mac.

Maybe you want to write your script without paying for expensive and buggy software, hey, I don’t blame you. So what can a guy or gal do then? Where should a future scriptwriting genius turn? Well, you have no need to fear Celtx is here and it is open source (free!). Best of all, Celtx works whether you’re on a Mac (i.e. a clever person), Linux (i.e. a geeky person), or a PC (hey, no one is perfect).

Celtx doesn’t just format your documents though, it has all sorts of neat features to help you write your blockbusting indie filck about a man who, while trying to discover the secrets of a lost civilization, discovers the power of love from a real live mummy princess. With features like storyboards, schedules, reports, media development (for characters, settings, animals, etc), and collaboration tools how can you pass Celtx up? It is already used by lots of people, especially folks in film schools.  One person even wrote to the Celtx team:

I’ve taught, reviewed and used every editing system, compositing application, audio sequencer, production process, script-writing tool, storyboard system and imaging program known to humankind and I simply need to tell you that Celtx is the most efficient, effective, flexible and forward-thinking piece of software I have ever encountered in 15 years or making moving images…!

While I’m no Cohen brother, I can tell you that Celtx is well worth trying.

technology, whatnot

Open-Source is Good for Students (Paris gets it)

This is news from last week, but it’s something worth thinking about. The Ile-de-France district in Paris is giving away 175,000 USB memory sticks load with open-source software to students. CNet reports:

The portable office will include the office software suite, an Internet browser, an e-mail client, an instant-messaging client, and audio and video player software, according to the Ile-de-France regional council. The open-source software will work in the Windows environment.

With the rising cost of education the question become, when will America embrace open-source? OpenOffice has become over the past few years a very capable MS Office alternative, in fact some people make a good argument that it is better. The cost of education, especially for families sending kids to college, is expensive. Open-source software can help a little by giving students mature feature-rich applications that they can use to get their work done. The real problem is that people perceive it as different and different means bad. Nonsense.

OpenOffice writerOpenOffice isn’t for everyone, but it is for the majority of people and it is free. I offer this challenge, try OpenOffice for a month and see how you like it. Sadly Mac users will probably find that OpenOffice isn’t quite as nice just yet because it requires something called x11, but that is set to change very soon. So, if you are a Mac user, just wait a little to take up that challenge. Once an aqua version is out there will be no compelling reason for vast majority of MS Office users to continue paying for buggy overpriced software.

Lots of businesses are starting to make the switch to OpenOffice, why should educators lag behind? After all graduating college with less debt (or if you are lucky, with more money) means a better footing getting out into the post-college world.