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Brendan_M_Burns
Posts: 57
Registered: ‎02-26-2007
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Screenwriting Software - Recommendations

Daniel,

Not to put the cart ahead of the horse, but do you have any recommendations / preferences for screenwriting software?

I've used Movie Magic Screenwriter for many years (exclusively for stage plays, however). I just downloaded a demo of Final Draft, which looks like a sharper version of the program I already have. A friend who has written a screenplay that was produced recommended Sophocles, which I know nothing about. And of course, there are a host of word processing templates for screenplays.

What about programs designed to jump-start the creative process in addition to helping format your work? Would you recommend any programs in this genre?

Thanks in advance for any tips and/or warnings.
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crAZRick
Posts: 489
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: Screenwriting Software - Recommendations

I also use Movie Magic Screenwriter as well as a few tools called Character Pro and Quick Story, both which are available to try via download free for 30 days I believe, as well as being reasonably priced, should you find them helpful when creating and cataloging characters and story ideas.

Character Pro leads you thru an Enneagram-process of character-building. You fill out forms with basic information, name, age, race, gender, etc, then the Enneagram, wherein you decide the characters Overall Health at the start of the story, and the character arc, toward growth and goodness, or toward death and evil. In this way, you can design a bad character that gets worse, or a good character that gets even better, as well as the tried-and-true hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold, or corrupt-police officer types and everything in between. Then the prgram offers a basic paragraph describing the core character based on the health and arc you have chosen.

The program asks a few pointed questions about the internal workings of your character, Personality, Background, Dialogue, Relationships, Arc; asking from 5 to 10 detailed questions in each category for you to build your character. Then, there is a portion where you can include any other notes on the character that didn't fit into any other section of Q&A character-build, and finally, the program dumps all your responses into a summary, so you can see your character laid out as designed.

It's pretty basic, but quite a nice little inspirational guide.


Quick Story is similar to Character Pro in its simplicity and design, and enables the user to build a story-tree, broken down by Acts and Plot Points per each Act. There is even a Plot Point Generator, which generates pre-determined generic plot points such as 'Hero sets off on quest' or 'Hero confronts an obstacle in his path' or 'Hero faces Villain, but does not conquer Villain'.. generated plot points are dependant upon their location in the overall story-tree, which is kinda cool!
also, a Story Generator, similar to plot point generator except that it generates the entire tree-full of plot points into a cohesive story. The user can than go in and alter any specific plot points to whatever desired effect. There are places within the story-construction to enter character names and relationships, which are then used by the program when plotting the various points of the story. In the end, the bare-bones basics of the tree are summarized to a readable, printable screen for the user's perusal.

both tools (or all 3, including Movie Magic Screenwriter) are useful individually, possibly unmatched when used together, definitely worth a look for anyone serious about writing but not so sure about keeping track of character and/or story ideas.

build and save characters in Character Pro, build and save their story tree in Quick Story, and translate it for the big screen via Movie Magic Screenwriter, and you are GOLDEN!
I no longer regret that I have no quote, quip or anecdote to share with my countrymen... how about all y'all?
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danielnoah
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Re: Screenwriting Software - Recommendations

I used Final Draft for years, but I recently switched to Movie Magic Screenwriter. Final Draft is simpler to use, but I found it buggy, which is why I switched. MMS is a much more powerful program that allows you great control, but there are a few rather glaring oversights (such as the inability to 'delete' a scene into an embedded script note). The main reason to go with MMS over FD is that they offer free technical support, by phone or by email. A real live human actually answers and helps you on the spot. And when you alert them to a function the program should have (like the scene deletion I just mentioned), if they like it they promise to build it into the next update. Allegedly, they really do. Here's a great article about FD v MMS by my friend Craig Mazin.

I defer to others on the 'creative process' programs, since I've never used one.
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Brendan_M_Burns
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Registered: ‎02-26-2007
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Re: Screenwriting Software - Recommendations

Daniel and crAZRick,

Thank you for the info. I downloaded a Sophocles demo, and it looks like a little more than I want/need at present. Given that I already have MMS and am familiar with its interface (+ the instructive and persuasive comments that Daniel linked to), this one seems like a no-brainer, at least for now.

I will, however, check out the development tools that crAZRick mentioned, as I think my main roadblock lies in the early development phases, rather than cranking out the scenes in the production phase.
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TrayseaWrites
Posts: 23
Registered: ‎02-26-2007
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Re: Screenwriting Software - Recommendations

I think I need to jump into the 21st century, I'm using MS Word.
Ian
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Ian
Posts: 45
Registered: ‎03-15-2007
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Re: Screenwriting Software - Recommendations

Sophocles is great. I highly recommend it. One of the many features that helps me in an area that I struggle with are the charts. Once in the charts section I can look at how my pararaphs are distributed - the number of action paragraphs and how many words in each; dialogue paragraph breakdowns; my personal favourite is a pie chart showing the percentage of dialogue words vs. action words. I tend to over-write action, a no-no in screenwriting and this feature helps me control that.

Cheer,
Ian
Ian
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Ian
Posts: 45
Registered: ‎03-15-2007
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Re: Screenwriting Software - Recommendations

Check this site out for free screenwritng software. I've never used it so, if someone here does download it and gives it a shot, maybe they can tell us what they think of it.

http://www.movietools.com/software.htm

Cheer,
Ian
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TrayseaWrites
Posts: 23
Registered: ‎02-26-2007
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Re: Screenwriting Software - Recommendations

Can you export from Word into any of these programs? I'd hate to have to re-type everything into a new program. I'm leaning toward MMS, but I'm going to download the demo first.
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Brendan_M_Burns
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Registered: ‎02-26-2007
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Re: Screenwriting Software - Recommendations


TrayseaWrites wrote:
Can you export from Word into any of these programs? I'd hate to have to re-type everything into a new program. I'm leaning toward MMS, but I'm going to download the demo first.


Traysea,

Sorry for misspelling your name in previous post -- cardinal sin for a professional editor.

Yes, you can open Word files directly into MMS, and the program reinterprets each element. If you start with a clean, industry-standard Word script, you'll end up with a clean MMS script. May have to do a little tweaking, but shouldn't be very much.
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TrayseaWrites
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Re: Screenwriting Software - Recommendations

Not a problem about the name! :-)

That's great that MMS can do that. I'll be downloading the demo this weekend and if it proves simple enough for me to use, I'm pretty sure I'll invest in it.
NEM
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NEM
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎03-01-2007
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Re: Screenwriting Software - Recommendations

I'm just using simple "word" also -- what do those products do in a nutshell? How much roughly do they cost?
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crAZRick
Posts: 489
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: Screenwriting Software - Recommendations

This link leads to anything you want to know about Movie Magic Screenwriter:
http://dramatica.stores.yahoo.net/movmagscreen.html


Here's one leading to QuickStory and CharacterPro
http://www.writersstore.com/product.php?products_id=2696

Movie Magic Screenwriter $170
QuickStory $50
CharacterPro $70

maybe a little spendy if you're just dabbling, but heck, all you have to do is sell just one screenplay and the tools have paid for themselves and then some!!
I no longer regret that I have no quote, quip or anecdote to share with my countrymen... how about all y'all?
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carp3tshark
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎03-20-2007
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Re: Screenwriting Software - Recommendations

I'm using Montage from Mariner software. It has an outline mode, spots for notes, query letters, etc.. and includes thousands of industry folks to send your script to. it's only for mac but it is pretty great so far and they are rapidly updating it.

http://www.marinersoftware.com

the dedicated screenwriting software apps really do a better job of formatting and also make the writing process a bit easier as the formatting and entry of oft-typed things is automatic. Most of the packages carry steep price tags but also have demos.
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