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So, I need a new screenwriting tool/software rec

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Maiasatara View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Maiasatara Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: So, I need a new screenwriting tool/software rec
    Posted: 02 Dec 2019 at 3:01pm
I’ve only ever used Movie Magic Screenwriter from my first screenwriting class and all through film school to today. My purchase price got me free updates but I’m not sure whether they do what MS does that I HATE which is basically rent you software forever. I love MM because obviously all the formatting is DONE (and it has sample TV templates - many outdated but I haven’t upgraded in a while.) You can choose either very easy keyboard shortcuts or right click of mouse to access shortcuts (like calling up already typed characters or locations, auto formatting parentheticals and dialogue that carries over pages with ability to cheat orphans.) It even learns words that are unique to your script. Export to PDF and other formats is really easy and the Title Page Generator is kept separate from page numbering. Though I STILL wish we could submit directly in MM formatted docs because I’ve had tiny issues with font sizes on the title page when converting. Inevitably it’s at 11:55pm when Adobe decides to blow up my log line to a font 30 points larger than everything else on the title page. Anyway, good luck!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dcontarato Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Nov 2019 at 1:15am
After a month writing fiction on Scrivener for NaNoWriMo (yes! I did it!), I opened WriterDuet today to start practicing for next weekend’s 2nd challenge of the Short Screenplay contest. It welcomed me with a Black Friday/Cyber Monday offer for a $7.99/month subscription instead of the regular $11.99/month. As I used the free projects for the 1st challenge and was considering the subscription anyway, that was very timely Smile

For those of you out there considering a WD subscription, you might save some $ by looking into it this weekend!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Andrea Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Nov 2019 at 11:18am
Suave, I will say that I've had FD since their inception. I wanted to put in a good word for them because I have always found them to be fair, and I've also found their bookkeeping and customer service top notch. They've managed to keep track of me in their system, so when I've gone for long stretches (years) without using FD only to come back and find I needed to put it on a new computer (using a CD for a computer that didn't have one) they were able to find me and help me download. They are great. I cannot comment on the upgrade cost problem, but I've been very pleased. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Nov 2019 at 3:49am
I started with Fade In and liked it - the free version.  When I came up against the wall of free limitations I did a trial of Final Draft and it was ok, then they made me a special offer I could not refuse, so I bought the FD.  Now, I am going to say that I like the FD - the only thing I would caution someone about is that they better make sure to set up the file handling and startup really well if they are going to work on more than one project at a time.  I went with the product settings for the first contest and ended up submitting the wrong version of my entry.  After that snafu, I am a crazy person for wanting multi saved copies, I went into the settings and made it so that no-longer did FD start up on what I last saved - it comes up blank and I have to go and find the file I want to open.  I also did not like them selling me the program then doing an update and wanting me to pay them another $80 within months - they said too bad when I complained.


Edited by Suave - 24 Nov 2019 at 3:49am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote dcontarato Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Oct 2019 at 7:50pm
Originally posted by Winer Winer wrote:

I am using Scrivener and love it. I already own it and it's like half or less the cost of Final Draft (which I used about 10 years ago). It works great and has a lot of features for big projects! It's also good for transcribing interviews. =)

Full disclosure: I am on an old Mac (2009) running High Sierra. When I upgrade to a new machine, the version of Scrivener I used for this challenge won't work (2.8.1), so I will have to upgrade (>3.0). I fully expect the new Scrivener to work as well as this ancient one.

I had no idea there were as many screenwriting options out there!


My transition from Scrivener 2 to 3 was seamless, although I use it only for fiction and not for scriptwriting. You’ll love the cleaner interface and the simplified compile options. Also keep in mind that as an owner of v2 you will be entitled to a discount on v3. By the way, Scrivener 3 should work with High Sierra, although if you are considering a new machine anyway, you should probably wait for the hardware upgrade and start clean and reliably from there, rather than slowing down an old machine further Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Winer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Oct 2019 at 5:01pm
I am using Scrivener and love it. I already own it and it's like half or less the cost of Final Draft (which I used about 10 years ago). It works great and has a lot of features for big projects! It's also good for transcribing interviews. =)

Full disclosure: I am on an old Mac (2009) running High Sierra. When I upgrade to a new machine, the version of Scrivener I used for this challenge won't work (2.8.1), so I will have to upgrade (>3.0). I fully expect the new Scrivener to work as well as this ancient one.

I had no idea there were as many screenwriting options out there!

There are no finished stories, only deadlines.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Emmageek Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Oct 2019 at 7:55am
Since I have MM on my home base computer and Scrivener, I do use the Scrivener for the corkboard and organizing feature.  I like to visual see things - especially during the prewriting stage when my ideas are mostly scenes in my head and no real place in the story at that time.  


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dcontarato Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Oct 2019 at 2:20am
Originally posted by rossinny rossinny wrote:

I think for anyone just dipping their toe into the water of screenwriting, the free version of WriterDuet has everything you need and is extremely intuitive to use. If you're in it for the long haul, sounds like Final Draft might be well worth the investment. I'd say I'm somewhere in between at the moment!

Dipping my toes is exactly what I'm doing, and as you say I found WD a great and simple option for that!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dcontarato Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Oct 2019 at 2:08am
Originally posted by stephenmatlock stephenmatlock wrote:

Pick what works for you, and try to do so before the comps!

I've used Trelby (as I've said earlier), WritersDuet, and Scrivener for writing scripts.

Trelby was just too harsh: YOU MUST DO THIS NEXT PART BECAUSE OF THE RULES. If you know screenwriting/scriptwriting, I suppose it's easier, but for a newbie, it's like having Sister Mary Martha smacking your knuckles at every single mistake.

WritersDuet looks good, but I found it hard to keep track of where my "stuff" was. Cloud or local? I got out of synch at one point.

Scrivener I love for long form writing (novels), but I did not like the scriptwriting feature. Way too may non-keyboard functions--that is, I kept having to take my hand off the keyboard to use the mouse.

I still love Fade In, and have paid for the upgrades as needed. (I think there was a jump between versions that required a new license fee, but boy howdy it is worth it.)

Thanks! Had a similar feeling about Scrivener when I tried to type out a few scenes with it tonight. As I posted in my reply to Random above, there is an option to just use TAB and ENTER to change between heading-action-dialogue etc. with little mouse work, which becomes not bad at all after a while.

I'm sold on WriterDuet for the competition, it just worked great for me in the first round (the quality of the output, or lack thereof, will be my responsibility only).

I did some research today on FadeIn and liked what I saw, including the price tag - I have a hard time justifying the $250 for FinalDraft at this stage. Certainly an option for the long run.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dcontarato Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Oct 2019 at 1:58am
Originally posted by Random Random wrote:

Originally posted by dcontarato dcontarato wrote:


Somehow it never crossed my mind to try the screenplay template provided by Scrivener, which I own and use for long projects - I love how it lets me organize all my material in one place. Does anyone have any experience with using Scrivener to write screenplays? I’ll try it out.

Moving forward, if the Scrivener option doesn’t pan out, I think I’ll consider a paid subscription to WD.


Never thought of that.  I have FD whater-the-latest-version is, which was using way too much CPU on my machine and gets used twice a year.  I also have Scrivener, which I use for long projects, though my 'notes' still go in Word because I use the headings to sort things.  I should probably get better at sorting things in Scrivener and bite the bullet.  Particularly given my opinion of Microsoft.

Won't be too many more years and they'll make you use their recurring revenue products for office, like Adobe.

Thanks. Just gave a try at scriptwriting mode on Scrivener and it isn't quite as intuitive as other tools like WriterDuet - basically to switch between scene heading, action, dialogue, etc. one needs to either click some drop down menu or use a combination of TAB and ENTER to change item (this latter mode is actually not bad as it can replace mouse work, when one gets the gist of it). The options are all somewhat "hidden" in text at the bottom right corner of the editor, odd design choice compared to the pretty icons I've seen in WriterDuet or screenshots of other software packages...

It is nice to have the corkboard to organize/outline the scenes and all the other amenities that Scrivener provides (inspector, notes and so on for each scene, Finder-style folder view with reference material, etc.). Could definitely be useful to organize longer work, which is after all the main value proposition of Scrivener.
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