Peggy Bechko Plays With Screenwriting Software

Well, all our non-writer friends are always saying that what we do isn’t work, right? So it must be play.

Especially for Peggy because she always, you know, makes it look so damn easy…


Screenwriting Apps for Free And, Well, Those That Cost Too

by Peggy Bechko

Okay folks, last week I was up to my ears in trying to figure out what kind of scriptwriting software I was going to go with. Got a new computer recently and it came with Windows 8 which pretty much eliminated everytihng I was using with Vista (which was an operating system that really screwed up everything it come in contact with). Meanwhile, a number of my scripts both newer and older were not accessible to me as they were saved in a format my computer wasn’t dealing with and the old scriptwriting software I was using couldn’t be loaded onto Windows 8. Technology is tricky.

So, I’m not unhappy to have the new set up, but it does mean some new software. I’ve been using Movie Magic Screenwriter for a number of years and liked it but I, being open to new ideas, decided to explore some of the free script writing options online.

Here’s what I found.

Check them out and see what you think.

There’s Celtx. There’s the free version which I’d recommend you try out before getting the one that costs a little at $14.95 for Celtx Plus. Basic might do it just fine for you.

Then there’s Trelby. They bill themselves as “an elegant, free and open source screenwriter”. You can export your script in PDF and some other formats. It certainly is worth cruising the site and seeing how you feel about it.

There’s Scripped – claims Scripped Writer is the best screenwriting software on the web – well so do the others, but it’s worth checking out. Scripped has a thirty day free trial, then you have to pay $9.95 a month or a Lifetime one time cost of $89.95 so that makes it less than free. Nonetheless it has some fetures that might make it worth it to you.

There’s also Adobe Story Scriptwriting Ap online. It’s a powerful tool and of course Adobe is a great name. I like it generally, but did have some problems importing some old scripts I wanted to work on there. Still, the problems were small and I would have continued on with it, but well…

I decided ultimately to return to my Movie Magic Screenwriter for several reasons.

1. It makes a lot of sense to me. I’ve been using it and old habits sometimes are the best.

2. Since I had the old version and still had my serial number in a file (another great reason to keep those numbers safe!) and contacted the Write Brothers, I was able to get the newest version for just the upgrade cost of around $60.00

3. It’s easy for me to save the script to my own pc and to save it as backup to other locations and again, easily access it when I want to. A couple of the other free programs were more difficult to export in any format and you’d have to use their format to work on it. So, if I wanted to send a copy somewhere it got a bit coplicated for me. (Remember I very much a non-techie). Might be a snap for you. And some of the software mentioned here has a ‘sharing’ feature so your could share it online.

4. I could easly open all my scripts – both very old and newer with the Movie Magic Scriptwriter.

So, that’s where I went. Now, I have to point out Movie Magic Scriptwriter Version 6 costs $249.00 on Amazon (yes, I’ll admit up front I’ll get a teeny tiny comission if you were to buy it there). You can also get it at the Writer’s Store (and when I wrote this they were having a sale for quite a bit less – check out the chart to see which one you’d want/need (full package, academic edition, upgrade) – with a free trial download.

To be clear, I’m not pushing any of these. I’m happy with my choice and I certainly hope you’re happy with yours. But if you’re looking for screenwriting software options, you might want to check these out and if you find one that you particularly like comment here, let us and your fellow script writers know.

Meanwhile I’ll just get back to writing my script – and it’s going very well, thank you for thinking the question.