If you want to get somewhere in the film industry, you need to use the right software to format your script. This applies to both amateur narrators and professional screenwriters.
However, screenwriting software is not cheap. And you do not want to waste money on buying the wrong app.
To help you out, we’ve found the best screenwriter apps for Windows and Mac. Some of them will be a good choice to start your next script project with.
1. Final draft: Industry standard software
Final Draft is industry standard script software. It is used by 95% of film and television productions, including BBC, Netflix, Hulu and Disney. If you are a professional screenwriter, most people expect you to use Final Draft.
But this expectation pushes up the price; Final Draft is one of the most expensive script apps on this list. But it offers the price with a number of impressive features.
Choose from over 300 templates, including screenplays, phone games, comics, stage plays and more. Use virtual brainstorming to turn out your story. Then you get the words on the page with Final Draft’s innovative SmartType, Speech to Script and Alternate Dialogue features.
Learn how to analyze and understand film before writing a script to guarantee that it is as professional as possible.
Download: Final draft for Windows | macOS ($ 249.99, free trial available)
Use this award-winning software to write screenplays, stage plays, teleplay, musicals, cartoons or novels. It’s easy to use and offers brainstorming and sketching tools, along with over 100 templates to get you started writing as soon as possible.
Text to speech lets you hear your script read aloud. Auto Backup means you never have to worry about losing your job. And iPartner lets you collaborate with your writing partner online, no matter how far apart you are.
Movie Magic Screenwriter offers everything you need to go from story idea to specification to shoot script. If you do not like Final Draft for some reason, this is a highly respected option.
Download: Movie Magic screenwriter for Windows macOS ($ 249.95, free trial available)
3. WriterDuet: Cloud-Based, Collaborative Screenwriting
WriterDuet is built for collaboration. Enjoy real-time co-writing, intuitive commenting and text and video chatting in the app while working remotely with a writing partner.
As a cloud-based scripting software, you can access your WriterDuet projects anywhere with an Internet connection, on desktop or mobile. Use it for everything from disposition to rewriting, with useful tools such as stage cards, marking and effortless formatting.
WriterDuet uses a subscription-based pricing model, with several features available at higher levels. But you can also get started writing your first three scripts for free, or by signing up with WriterSolo, the non-cloud cousin of WriterDuet.
Visit the WriterDuet website for a premium subscription, starting at $ 7.99 / month.
4. Fade In: Cross-Platform and Affordable
Despite its long official name, Fade In Professional Screenwriting Software is a streamlined app that still manages to offer all the features a professional writer may need.
Use it to write everything from a movie to a radio game or even a video game. Getting through pages is easy with Fade Ins autocomplete writing. And when it comes to rewriting, Dialogue Tuner lets you see an entire character’s dialogue in one place, so you can customize it to perfection.
Fade In gives you these professional tools at a much lower cost than Final Draft or Movie Magic Screenwriter, and it even includes free updates. It is also available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS and iPadOS.
Download: Fade In Professional Screenwriting Software For Windows | macOS ($ 79.95, free trial available)
5. Celtx: The Complete Pre-Production Suite
With Celtx you can take your script from pre-production to shooting. Use this pre-production suite to turn out the history on index cards, write scripts, make crash reports, compile shot lists and print a shooting script.
If you record the film yourself, you can find out how to make video recordings more cinematic.
Celtx mirrors industry standard formats throughout the process. You can even collaborate with your team by working simultaneously across multiple documents or editing a script together in real time.
Since Celtx is another cloud-based app, it is available anywhere on any device. You do not even have to worry about losing your documents, since Celtx automatically creates secure backups for you.
Get started with Celtx for free, or sign up for a premium subscription to unlock more features and unlimited projects.
Visit the Celtx website for a premium “Scriptwriting” subscription, starting at $ 15 / month.
6. Highland: Write the script for free on a Mac
Highland was developed by John August, author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Big Fish and Aladdin. He also co-hosts Scriptnote’s screenwriter podcast. And you can use Highland to work on anything from a screenplay to a novel or even a school newspaper.
Unlike other screenwriting apps – which use the Tab and Return keys to switch between character names, dialogs and action lines — Highland recognizes what you are trying to write and formats the writing automatically.
Use the Navigator sidebar to look at the script in an instant, and jump to the part you need to work on. Then enable revision mode to track changes in a variety of colors.
Highland is only available for macOS, but you can download it and start writing professional scripts for free, with a premium upgrade available for more features.
Download: Highland for macOS (free, premium version available)
7. Trelby: Write the script for free on Windows
Trelby is a fast, easy and clean piece of scripting software that can format professional scripts. Best of all, it’s completely free and works on both Windows and Linux computers. Unfortunately, Trelby is not available for Mac.
Choose between draft view or What you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) mode when using auto-completion, spell-checking and smart formatting to complete the script.
If you struggle to come up with character names, you can access Trelby’s database of over 200,000 names from around the world to find inspiration.
And when you have finished your first draft, you can use scene, place, character and dialogue reports to inform the rewrite. You can even compare script versions to get a quick overview of everything you changed.
Download: Trelby for Windows (free)
And if you know how to format a script …
Each of the script instructions above makes it easy to write a script in the correct format. But if you do not mind putting in some work yourself, you can write scripts in Microsoft Word, Apple Pages or Google Docs instead. You just need to know how to format a script first.
Of course, these apps do not offer all the same features that you get with industry-standard scripting software, but they are a great way to get started without having to spend money.
Once you know how, it’s easy to format a script in Word, Pages and Google Docs.
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