"How to Write a Screenplay"


Using screenwriting software to format your script could put you miles ahead of those who don't. Besides enhancing greatly the ease and speed of writing your screenplay, it will give it a look that Hollywood readers like, without forcing you to futz endlessly with format details. And, spell-checking will be performed automatically as you go along. All this leaves you to focus on what matters: creating a great movie experience.

Software Available at Every Price Level

Nowadays, as we benefit from second and third generations of screenwriting software, you will find computer-based tools that not only help you with formatting, but also with the actual designing and crafting of the story. And software pricing comes at three levels: free, moderately inexpensive, and moderately expensive.

At the first pricing level, you might consider creating pull-down stylesheets to use with your existing word processing program, or downloading free packages of such from the internet. These can greatly ease formatting and enhance the overall look for little or no money, and expand the options for use on different types of computers (perhaps adding hand-held portability to your writing experience).

  • Dependent Films offers some free formatting templates you might find helpful, along with a passel of other useful tools and utilities to use when putting a film project together.
  • if you use Microsoft Word to write your screenplays, take a look at ScreenPro, the "Shareware Screenplay Template for Microsoft Word 97/Word 2000/Word 2002/XP for Windows".
  • if you write screenplays on Word Perfect, consider Screenwright(R), a 'shareware' package that "automates the screenwriting process to a degree approached before now only by the costly standalone screenplay processors".
  • Celtx offers free screenwriting and playwriting software (until such time as you share scripts).
  • Mac users might use the new app MovieDraft.
  • Scripped allows you to write and collaborate entirely online, or "in the cloud", with no need to download (or purchase) any software.

If you'd like to spend a little more money, and enhance the features you'll be getting, you have some decisions to make between some excellent screenwriting software options. Most packages focus mainly on helping you get your words down on the page in the most readable format without troubling you with niggling format minutiae. Others take it to a new level, helping you conceive and structure your story.

Screenwriting Software Reviews
Some excellent reviews of the best screenwriting software available on the market today . .

. . seem to suggest that the battle for top dog in the screenwriting software field has come down to two main contenders, with a third for the budget-minded:

Take caution with some of these programs, as the format settings might need to be 'tweaked' to meet your own standards. Check this before blindly sending scripts off to Hollywood.

Screenwriting Software Library

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Screenwriting Books

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