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Screenwriting software can be an expensive piece of equipment and quite frankly a big deal when it comes to deciding which screenwriting software suits you best.

You want your screenwriting software to be easy to use, efficient and most importantly, right for you. In today’s article, we delve into numerous pieces of screenwriting software and analyse them, so you can make your mind up if they are of interest.

Right, let’s check them out. We break down the industry-leading screenwriting software so you don’t have to spend hours deliberating.

What is screenwriting software?

Screenwriting software is primarily software in which you can write your television, movie, radio and video games scripts.

The software will help you format your script to industry standard, with efficiency and ease. You want screenwriting software that provides you with different tools to make the screenwriting process as smooth as possible. This allows you to put all of your energy into the creative process.

A lot has changed over the years, no more manual typewriting or handwritten scripts bound by beige pieces of string.

We have kindly broken down each piece of software to help you with your deliberations – let’s have a look.

The Best screenwriting software to use (Free and Paid)

Here it is. The list you’ve been waiting for. The BEST screenwriting software. These are the best, most efficient pieces of software for filmmakers looking to write their next (Award-winning, we hope!) script.

1. Celtx 

Probably our favourite (A little bit bias. Whoops). The free screenwriting software version is incredible. Fantastic for starting off as a screenwriter and understanding the key features. Celtx provides you with the best tools to develop your writing and produce excellent content.

Key Features:

  • Rich text editor module
  • Work online or offline
  • Tag elements within the script
  • Cloud-based
  • Real-time collaboration – this allows you to spare and edit in real-time with writing partners, producers, directors and team members.
  • Video production management tools
  • supports production calendars

Cost: Free (Basic version) and Paid: ($9.99 per member per month if billed annually, or $14.99 billed monthly).

2. Final draft

Probably the most recognized screenwriting software of them all. One of the most expensive, but for bloody good reason. This is the go-to software for big-budget films.

It offers unlimited space, so there is no restriction on the number of projects you can work on at once. Although the cost is extortionate it makes up for this with the impeccable features.

Key Features:

  • Text to speech support
  • Collaborate from afar – they offer remote collaborations from all over the world
  • Automatic backup files
  • 100’s of different templates
  • Automatically formats to the industry standard

Cost: $249.99 for the full license and $99 per software update.

You may also be interested in reading: Our top tips on how to become a successful screenwriter

3. Trelby

Trelby is open-source and the best free screenwriting software that is completely beginner friendly. Although it doesn’t have as many high spec features as Final Draft for example but for a beginner or indie filmmaker – it’s perfect!

Key Features:

  • Compatible for all platforms
  • User friendly and easy to use
  • Reporting options and tools
  • Character name database inbuilt
  • Import from multiple screenwriting software if you want to write for free. Imports Celtx and Final Draft as well.

READ MORE: Seven top tips for a beginner screenwriter

Cost: FREE :)

4. Fade in

Fade In screenwriting software

Fade in. What the F%$K is that. Fade In is one of the most advanced software used by professionals writing for motion pictures, television, video games, the stage, radio, and more. It’s also one of the most affordable out of the whole lot, check out the key features below:

Key Features:

  • Image support
  • Collaboration
  • Powerful writing tools
  • The fully-featured application interface
  • An open file format
  • Cloud storage
  • Extensive font and Unicode support

Cost: Free for a limited time. Then you pay $ 79.99-lifetime cost.

5. Highland 2

“It is truly such a beautiful app. I have more genuine affection for it than almost any other: the way you love a favourite hand tool or kitchen knife.”

Michael Chabon – Novelist (Wonder Boys, Moonglow), screenwriter (Spider-Man 2) and showrunner (Star Trek: Picard).

We’d have to agree with Michael! It’s a fantastically smooth piece of screenwriting software. Its the user-friendly interface is easy to navigate and you have access to the free version perfect for no to low budget filmmaking.

Key Features:

  • Design your own theme in the Pro version
  • Track time – see how long you have spent developing each script: “Sprint mode”
  • The free version contains an abundance of features – up to 5 templates.
  • Regular updates – always improving the software
  • A formatting mode that’s built-in and automated
  • The customer support is quick and efficient

Cost: Free, basic addition. Or,  $49.99 full version.

You may also be interested in reading: 22 of the Best Screenwriting Books, You Must Read!

The last draft

We recommend playing around with the free versions and get an understanding of what works for you, don’t rush in, as some are pretty expensive. Make sure you are aware of all the intricacies per piece of software. These will help improve your filmmaking workflow and allow you to work faster, and smarter.

This allows you to put more time and energy into the creative process, building out your film treatment, and nailing your synopsis. Make sure you spend time building your story from the ground up, you’ll have an award-winning story in no time!

Once the work starts flowing and you are progressing, then look to add the paid features. Happy typing.

This may be of interest to you as well: Seven top tips for a beginner screenwriter

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