Competition for FD and Screenwriter?Complications Ensue
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Thursday, December 30, 2010

This very puffy Variety piece says that lots of new screenwriters are ignoring the (expensive) two top screenwriting formatting programs, Final Draft and Screenwriter, in favor of newcomers like Scripped.
Over the past few decades, Write Brothers' Movie Magic Screenwriter has been the Pepsi to Final Draft's Coke in the screenwriting software aisle. With the exception of the niche occupied by Celtx, an open-source, all-in-one screenwriting and production package, the two companies have all but dominated the field.

Recently, however, Scripts Pro, ScriptWrite, Million Dollar Screenwriting and have popped up. And while none appear ready to overturn the big boys anytime soon, they could develop into significant competition down the road.



I'm a Celtx loyalist. I started with it because it was free, but since I work with a writing partner, I now (happily) pay the annual $50 fee for draft-syncing cloud storage. I find it easier to use than Final Draft, and I send scripts out as .pdf.

By Blogger Josh K-sky, at 3:06 PM  

I joined scripped for the contests and it was the best money I've spent as a writer. Their contests are the best in the industry, flat out. Writers who aren't checking out scripped and the opportunites they are offering don't know what they're missing! I've managed to win two this year that have been a huge boost to my career. I now actually have one instead of dreaming about one. I've also made a couple of good contacts on their message boards that I otherwise wouldn't have.

By Blogger mrfri, at 4:17 PM  

I'll second mrfri's endorsement of, especially their numerous contests and other opportunities. They are really a screenwriting community, not just a piece of software.

Even if you wind up not using their formatting software, I feel the rest of the site is still definitely worth the annual membership fee. I recommend checking it out for yourself for a few weeks (one glance isn't really the full experience).

Final Draft is laden with bugs (when I'm forced to use it, it crashes 1-3 times per day on my PC) and looks like they last updated the UI in 1992. MMSW is better on both counts, but far from perfect (bugs in the navigator sidebar I reported 2+ years ago still need fixing, for one). They "big guys" need to rise to the challenge of their competitors or see their market share disappear -- and not just bug fixes and new releases, but also either creating better collaboration tools, cloud storage and screenwriting communities of their own or (preferably) one of them partnering with to bring the best of both worlds together.

By Blogger LHOOQtius ov Borg, at 8:14 PM  

I used Celtx for a bit before switching to, and I have to say it made writing a lot more fun. I like that Scripped provides the opportunity to share your work and collaborate with other writers. During one of the contests I entered, I was also super-impressed with the encouragement and support the writers give each other. Celtx and Final Draft were ok to use, but they don't come with your very own peanut gallery/cheering section :)

By Blogger Natticus, at 12:27 AM  

I was using Celtx and even Zhura, but I seem to get some juice from "dressing the part", if that makes sense. I enjoy writing more with MMS and don't anticipate ever looking back. But for people who don't think they can afford FD or MMS, I would heartily recommend Celtx.

By Blogger Harlan, at 1:57 PM  

There is no good reason for somebody who isn't being paid to write screenplays to purchase either Final Draft or Movie Magic Screenwriter.

I'm not up to date on the current state of the free/cheaper alternatives, but it wouldn't remotely surprise me if people using them regularly never felt the need to switch.

By Blogger Hotspur, at 1:02 AM  

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