When it comes to screenwriting software, there are two primary powerhouses that most people think about: Final Draft and Celtx. For writers with something of a disposable income, you can shell out the money for Final Draft or Movie Magic Screenwriter, the Cadillacs of screenwriting programs.
They’ve got all the bells and whistles to help you craft the great American screenplay. For the rest of us, there is the free version of Celtx, or if you’re feeling really eager, then you can pay $10 for the Celtx Plus, which includes the Writer’s Pack Add-on.
I’ve been using Celtx for about two years now, and I love this program. There was a time when writers had to use typewriters and space out everything by hand. With programs like Celtx, formatting is a piece of cake.
It will automatically bring up scene heading, character names and almost every other mainstream and lesser known screenwriting terms for use in your screenplay. It automatically does page numbers, page breaks and lets the writer focus on actually writing.
That doesn’t mean you can slack off on learning about screenwriting formatting though. The program can help make formatting more efficient, but you still need to know what terms to use and what to put in them.
It also has templates for a variety of writing types, from novel and comic books to theater and storyboards. It’s really a package designed around the writer. If you need a little help getting started, it provides samples of each format so you know what the finished product should look like.
Beyond the program, writers also have access to the community of Celtx. You can purchase add-on packs to help you with your writing. You can also upload your scripts to the cloud to allow for collaboration or as a resting place in case your computer crashes.
There are mobile versions so you can take your work on the go. Celtx is a one stop shop for all pre-production writing. The primary drawback is that while it does do a lot, it lacks some of the bells and whistles of Final Draft. Final draft breaks things down into more basic parts.
If Celtx was a sledgehammer, then Final Draft is a finely tuned wrench. In my opinion, if you are a beginning screenwriter and don’t know if you’re going to stick with it, then Celtx is the way to go. It gives you what you need, but doesn’t have a steep financial investment attached.
If you’re going pro, then invest in Final Draft or Movie Magic Screenwriter. If you are going to be a consultant or come in on an existing script, then most likely the format they are going to use is Final Draft. It really is the industry standard with a few exceptions, but with Celtx, you can’t beat the price.