For a serious writer who wants to write a screenplay in a standard screenplay format, the best thing to do is to use final draft or movie magic screenwriter. Those two programs are considered as an industry standard by many screenwriters and that alone is a good reason to go with them.
However, for some people such as those who comes to the world of scriptwriting for the first time or a seasoned screenwriter who just wants an alternative to mainstream software without incurring additional expenses, trying free script writing software may be a good idea.
This post will look into some of the free screenwriting software that are available on the Internet. If you are still using word processor programs like Microsoft Word to write your screenplays, this post may be helpful.
The first free scriptwriting software you should give a good look is Celtx. It has an established market share in the world of screenwriting software.
Celtx can be used to write for various kinds of media such as film, theatre, documentary, novel, radio, video game and more.
As a matter of fact, Celtx is more than just a tool for script writing. It is more of a comprehensive production tool compared to other script writing software.
You can write scripts, create storyboard, develop characters, and even schedule productions and draw up reports for cast and crew with Celtx.
Celtx also supports many platforms. The desktop software is available for both Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. There is also Celtx Script for iPhone and iPad that syncs scripts with Celtx desktop software. The mobile software costs $9.99.
There are many favorable reviews about Celtx. This review describes Celtx as a perfect script writing software for beginners and intermediate writers.
This comparative review of Celtx and Final Draft gives the same final score to the programs, meaning Celtx is almost as good as the expensive de facto industry standard software.
plotot is online screenwriting software. You don’t need to install anything and it is free. It is nothing like a 30 day trial or something. According to plotbot website, more than 30,000 people are using plotbot.
The interface of plotbot is quite self-evident. you type character names, slug, action into a form and add script text in a form below.
With its very simple interface, plotbot looks like a good choice for newly starting screenwriters who don’t need complicated functions.
You can start using plotbot by registering at the website or just use your facebook account to sign up. Visit plotbot site to check it out yourself.
In terms of being “free”, only Celtx and plotbot can be called really free software. Scripped and Scriptbuddy that show up high on the search engine results for “free script writing software” are not free software in a strict sense. They are free only for a certain trial period. But I will cover them here as they deserve your attention as alternatives to Final Draft and Movie Magic Screenwriter.
Scripped is web-based script writing software like plotbot but comes with more powerful capabilities. Scripped website says that the software is used by more than 100,000 writers.
As can be expected from online software, Scripped supports real time collaboration on scripts. There are also contests where producers and professional writers find talented screenwriters.
Scripped supports various script formats like screenplay, stageplay, sitcom and comic books. Screenplays written with Scripped can be exported as text, rtf, word and pdf. Scripped also supports offline mode that would be convenient when you have no Internet connection.
You can try Scripped for 30 days as trial and should select one of two plans for extended use. You can opt for lifetime payment of $89.95 or monthly payment of $9.95.
Read a review on Scripped at Toptenreviews.com: “..a uniquely web-based screenwriting software program that has all the features and tools you’d find in competing software. The online groups are a great way to get help and feedback on your script.”
Scriptbuddy resembles Scripped in some respects such as being web-based software and supporting community.
Scriptbuddy costs less than scripped. It cost $5 a month which is about half of scripped’s monthly fee.
The functions of Scriptbuddy seems to reflect this price difference. For example, Scriptbuddy only supports pdf export and does not support offline mode. Also, Scriptbuddy seems to cover only screenplay format compared to wider choices in other genres in Scripped.
You may consider using Scriptbuddy for scriptwriting if you have less budget and only need movie screenplay writing software.