If you want to get a foothold somewhere in the film industry, you need to use the right software to format your script. This applies to amateur storytellers and professional screenwriters alike.
Screenwriting software is not cheap, however. And you don’t want to waste money buying the wrong app.
To help you out, we’ve found the best shooting apps for Windows and Mac. Either of these is a good choice to get your next screenwriting project started.
1. Final Draft : The industry standard software
Final Draft is the industry standard screenwriting software. It’s used by 95% of film and television productions, including BBC, Netflix, Hulu and Disney. If you’re a professional screenwriter, most people expect you to use Final Draft.
But that expectation drives up the price; Final Draft is one of the most expensive screenwriting apps on this list. But it delivers on that price with a number of impressive features.
Choose from over 300 templates, including screenplays, television dramas, comics, stage plays, and more. Use virtual brainstorms to beat up your story. Then get the words on the page with Final Draft’s innovative SmartType, Speech to Script, and Alternate Dialogue features.
Learn how to analyze and understand movies before writing your script to make sure it’s as professional as possible.
Download: Final Draft for Windows | macOS ($249.99 USD, free trial available)
2. Movie Magic Screenwriter : An alternative to final draft
Use this award-winning software to write your screenplay, stage play, television drama, musical, comic, or novel. It’s easy to use and offers brainstorming and outlining tools, as well as over 100 templates to get you started writing as quickly as possible.
Text-to-speech lets you hear your screenplay read aloud. Auto backup means you no longer have to worry about losing your work. iPartner lets you collaborate online with your writing partner, no matter how far apart you are.
Movie Magic Screenwriter has everything you need to go from story idea to spec to script. If you don’t like Final Draft for any reason, this is a highly regarded alternative.
Download: Movie Magic Screenwriter for Windows | macOS ($249.95 USD, free trial available)
3. WriterDuet : Cloud-based collaborative screenwriting
WriterDuet is designed for collaboration. Enjoy real-time collaborative writing, intuitive annotation, and in-app text and video chats while working remotely with a writing partner.
As a cloud-based screenwriting software, you can access your WriterDuet projects anywhere via an internet connection, on desktop or mobile. Use it for everything from outlining to rewriting, with useful tools like scene cards, tagging, and effortless formatting.
WriterDuet uses a subscription based pricing model with more features at higher levels. However, you can also start by writing your first three scripts for free or sign up for WriterSolo , WriterDuet’s non-cloud-based cousin.
Visit the WriterDuet website for a premium subscription starting at $7.99/month.
4. Fade in : Cross-platform and affordable
Despite its long official name, Fade In Professional Screenwriting Software is a streamlined app that still manages to offer all the features a professional writer might need.
Use it to write anything from a movie to a radio play to a video game. Flipping through pages is easy with Fade In’s auto-complete feature. And when it comes to rewriting, Dialogue Tuner lets you view all of a single character’s dialogue in one place and tweak it to perfection.
Fade In gives you these professional tools at a much lower price than Final Draft or Movie Magic Screenwriter, and even includes free updates. It’s also available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and iPadOS.
Download: Show professional screenplay software for Windows | macOS ($79.95 USD, free trial available)
5. Celtx : The complete pre-production suite
With Celtx you can work through your script from pre-production to shooting. Use this pre-production suite to beat up the story on index cards, write the script, create breakdown reports, create shot lists and print a script.
If you shoot the movie yourself, find out how to make video footage more cinematic .
Celtx mirrors industry standard formats throughout the process. You can even collaborate with your team by editing multiple documents at once or editing a script together in real time.
Because Celtx is another cloud-based app, it’s available anywhere on any device. You don’t even have to worry about losing your documents, as Celtx automatically creates secure backups for you.
Get started with Celtx for free or sign up for a premium subscription to unlock more features and unlimited projects.
Visit the Celtx website for a premium scriptwriting subscription starting at $15 per month.
6. Highland : Write screenplays for free on a Mac
Highland was developed by John August, author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Big Fish and Aladdin. It also co-hosts the screenwriting podcast Scriptnotes. And you can use Highland to work on anything from a screenplay to a novel to a school newspaper.
Unlike other screenwriting apps that use the Tab and Enter keys to move between character names, dialogue, and action lines, Highland recognizes what you want to type and formats your writing automatically.
Use the Navigator sidebar to view your script at a glance and jump to the section you need to work on next. Then activate revision mode to track changes in different colors.
Highland is only available for macOS. However, you can download it and write professional scripts for free. For more features, a premium upgrade is available.
Download: Highland for macOS (Free premium version available)
7. Trelby : Write screenplays for free on Windows
Trelby is a quick, easy, and clean screenwriting software that formats professional scripts. The best part is that it is completely free and works on both Windows and Linux computers. Unfortunately, Trelby is not available for Mac.
Choose between draft view or WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) mode when using auto-complete, spell check, and smart formatting to finish your script.
If you have trouble finding character names, you can access Trelby’s database of over 200.Access 000 names from around the world to find inspiration.
And after you’ve completed your first draft, use the scene, location, character and dialogue reports to inform your next rewrite. You can even compare script versions to get a quick overview of all the changes.
Download: Trelby for Windows (free of charge)
And if you know how to format a script ..
Any of the above screenwriting apps will make it easier to write a script in the right format. But if you don’t mind doing a little work yourself, you can write your script in Microsoft Word, Apple Pages or Google Text& instead Write tables. You just need to know how to format a script first.
Of course, these apps don’t offer all the features you get with industry-standard screenwriting software, but they’re a great way to get started without having to spend money.