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Screenwriting 101: The best tools for budding writers

Being a screenwriter requires passion, dedication and perseverance. The script is the backbone of a project. It requires a passion for storytelling, dedication to communicating your story in the best way possible and perseverance to overcome those dreaded writer’s blocks.

To truly master the art of scripting, a screenwriter needs to harness every tool at their disposal. Although a script is thoroughly dependent on minor details like the format and line spacing, these tools allow the writer to focus on creative writing and delegate minor details to the tools.

Here’s our bible of tools to make your next screenwriting experience the smoothest transition yet.

1.Microsoft Word & Google Docs

Let’s start at the very beginning. Absolutely free and pre-installed, these two software are the basics to learn everything about screenwriting from formatting to seeing ideas hit the page. It will help put a writer on their way toward a star-studded career.


A very good place to start is with Celtx. Celtx is much more than a scriptwriting software. It’s a cloud-based screenwriting tool that includes, tutorials that guide a beginner through writing to converting stories to different formats to pre-production tools like call sheets and storyboards. As an online-based software, Celtx saves all scripts on the cloud rather than a hard drive making collaboration easier.

3.Fade In

Fade In finds the perfect balance between the high-end and low-end software. It is a competitive alternative with powerful tools at a fraction of the cost. The aesthetics of this software account for the writer’s screen time and is primarily black and white, with the benefit of colour coding as part of the customization tools which allows the writer to be hands-on with the formatting. Another stellar feature of the software is the ease of saving files as a text file, allowing the writer to edit in any application of choice.

4.Movie Magic Screenwriter

An industry veteran, Movie Magic Screenwriter is a highly intuitive software that understands the writer’s journey and guides you from the first page to the last. With formatting tools for film, television, plays, books and even comic books, this software is diverse and highly capable. The Note tool allows to jot down pointers at specific times to help keep track of the story. The colour coding feature marks and filters scenes, characters and actions by a colour. It also comes with real-time collaboration, professional templates for screenplays, television scripts and even novels, to ensure correct formatting.

5.Final Draft

The industry standard in screenwriting and used by heavy-hitters like James Cameron, J.J. Abrams and Matthew Weiner, Final Draft has been streamlining the writing process. The SmartType function is just one of the few stand out features that cuts down writing time by reinserting elements as the writer progress. It also allows for real-time collaboration, an essential for a large production, and has a lot of templates for different formats. In fact, FDX, the universal format for screenplays, is a proprietary format created by Final Draft.

On the journey to becoming a successful writer, there is no right way. These tools are a guiding force to polishing the art, find a tool that makes writing comfortable for you and takes care of all aspects of your project. No matter what tools suits you; it’s the story that counts.

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