Craft v. Software - Complications Ensue
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Friday, November 03, 2006

Q. Are you thinking doing any kind of crafty screenwriting software?
Gosh, no. I don't think I believe in screenwriting software. I don't know any pro writers who use screenwriting software. I believe in screenplay formatting software, but Final Draft is exactly what I need -- I can't think of a new feature they could give me that I'd want. They already have a ton of features I've never even tried to use.

The biggest tool I have to offer is Tell your story out loud.

The second biggest tool I have to offer is Be sure you have a good hook.

How could a computer help you with those?
I am sorry, that hook is lame.
I don't think so.

I think you already have all the screenwriting software you need installed in your brain. You know how to tell stories. You know what you enjoy seeing on a screen. My job is more to ask the right questions than to give you a template.

Do any of you use screenwriting software (e.g. Dramatica), and does it really help?

What would Crafty Screenwriting Software do for you, if it existed?

Labels:

7 Comments:

you know... every once in a great while, i'll pull out the old dramatica demo (i never bothered to buy the full version, because i can't imagine needing to save or print it for future reference) if i feel like i need extra help in fleshing out a character or a scene.

if i don't feel 100% comfortable with where something's out, i'll get whatever help i think i might need. occasionally - maybe once every other year or so - that's dramatica. i'll turn it on, flip through some of the questions, and get my brain working again.

By Blogger EcamirG, at 2:23 PM  

I won Dramatica Pro (as well as MovieMagic and Storyview) from Scriptapalooza. Essentially Dramatica is a way to define a character's role in your story (are they the resident cynic, the faithful, sidekick, whuddevah...). But since I know most of that going in to a story the program doesn't have much use for me.

Also, on the aesthetic level the interfaces for Dramatica and Storyview are, unfortunately, less than appealing.

By Blogger Chopped Nuts, at 2:54 PM  

What would software do for me if it existed?

Um...


Deal with the network?

By Blogger DMc, at 1:29 PM  

I rather enjoy using software designed for a specific task. Much like using the right tool for the job. You can drive a nail with a large rock, but a hammer works better. And if you've got a house to build, a nail gun sure comes in handy.

Tools can be very helpful, but they're certainly not a substitute for talent.

By Blogger Kody Chamberlain, at 3:19 PM  

I use Final Draft, but I only made the switch because all the producers I was working with at the time were using it.

The automatic formatting offers a few conveniences but, frankly, if you can find the tab key and the paragraph key you have everything you need to write a presentable screenplay.

After shelling out for the program I consoled myself that I'd at least be making it easier for the AD and production manager to break the script down after delivery.

But since then, I've found that most of them use Movie Magic and have to convert the script anyway.

But I won't be going back. I've paid the money. And it's surprising how much you get used to those "few conveniences".

And storytelling software? No interest. Just look at good work and steal from it.

By Blogger Stephen Gallagher, at 9:52 AM  

I'm not a pro. I use RoughDraft, which is a free Word add in that basically just formats the tab key, and there's a notepad I never use (I use an actual notepad. And pen. Blue ball point, thank you very much).
I'm glad to read this - I was just feeling insecure, that I'm not a 'real' writer, because I don't own FinalDraft.

By Blogger Milehimama, at 8:22 PM  

It is reassuring in its way. I can't help but feel a certain amount of "toolkit envy", though, looking at those who use stuff like Final Draft for scriptwriting, just as I do those who have CAD software for drafting/blueprint work.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:05 PM  

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