What’s the best screenwriting software out there? It’s whatever brings out the best in us as individual artists. I bounced around a few different bits of screenwriting software and my happy place (just like Niel Cross, the writer of Luther staring Idris Elba) is developing in Scrivener and polishing in Final Draft. I only know that works for me because I took the leap and tried the demo. I can only validate that because I went out of my comfort zone to try other options. Given that screenwriting software is so easy to pickup and use, we really owe it to ourselves to experiment with what’s out there.
A lot of people push others into buying Final Draft and using that since the proprietary xml derived file format it uses (.fdx) is an industry standard that plugs into many other production and scheduling programs. However, pretty much everything out there can output perfectly in .fdx format, so no writer should fear they can chose the wrong software to work with. Plus it takes about five minutes to pickup and learn a new program. Seriously there’s nothing to fear. People make way too big a deal about this and some consultants do it because they have vouchers to offer that they make commission on.
When DO you need Final Draft? The moment you go pro is the time you absolutely should have it installed as you’ll most likely be making revisions back and forth with a producer or doing rewrites on set. You can also get the app for your phone/tablet allowing you to open and edit files on the road. For what it’s worth, I did onset rewrites for Break Even on an iPad with a Brydge bluetooth keyboard.
PLEASE NOTE: Celtx are requesting writers no longer use their now discontinued but free to install desktop apps as there are seeing scenarios where data loss can occur.
As far as other options go, here are links to some free demos in no particular order and without agenda;