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.


Write Your Movie Script this June

From the folks that brought you the National Novel Writing Month comes Script Frenzy. They’ve made June the month to write a complete script from start to finish.

you in the movies, big timeThe Script Frenzy website has all sorts of tips on how to write a screenplay. From what I understand the site is basically just a support group where you can get help getting the screenplay done and a place to prove you’ve done it once it’s over. And if you are wondering, you retain all the rights to your work, plus they “don’t keep or read your script when you upload it” they have robots that count the words to see if you reached 20,000 word requirement and then they delete it. In fact they “encourage you to scramble [your script] into jibberish before submitting it.”

And if you need a computer to work on they have loaners available (they’re just notepads), but the application deadline for those is looming. If you really want one you’d better apply now or risk missing the May 16th deadline.

The import thing here are their five basic rules

  1. To be crowned an official Script Frenzy winner, you must write a script of at least 20,000 words and verify this word count on
  2. You may write individually or in teams of two. Writer teams will have a 20,000 total word goal for their single co-written script.
  3. Script writing may begin no earlier than 12:00:01 AM on June 1 and must cease no later than 11:59:59 PM on June 30, local time.
  4. You may write either a screenplay or a stage play.
  5. You must, at some point, have ridiculous amounts of fun.

There are actually a few more rules, for instance you can’t write an adaptation. Before you start writing you should check their FAQ and help section where you can see the rest of the do’s and the do not do’s.