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Screenwriting Applications

Screenplay sample, showing dialogue and action...
Screenplay sample, showing dialogue and action descriptions. "O.S."=off screen. Written in Final Draft. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A lot of students and aspiring writers ask me if you "must" use Final Draft or Screenwriter to write a screenplay. No. Absolutely not, unless you are working on a production. In which case, they own or your earn enough for Final Draft or Screenwriter and whatever budget/scheduling apps the production team uses.

I have to say, after trying WriterDuet I would use it in a heartbeat for a small production company and definitely for any non-profit, educational projects. No question. The only reason not to use it is that you must have the exclusive rights to a script... and I don't have those in my work.

WriterDuet is probably best free or low-cost option I have tested. It is very interesting. Blows away Celtx. The Pro version with off-line editing is cheaper than Final Draft or Screenwriter.

The Pro edition is a standalone, offline version that requires an investment of $80 (annually) or $160 (lifetime). Unless you are using the collaboration tools of WriterDuet, I'd suggest to Scrivener (the tool I use for drafting everything I write) or FadeIn, which I LOVE for the $80 price. The collaboration is simply easier with WriterDuet than any other tool I've tested. Nobody has to buy anything to collaborate online, live.

I do not own any rights to client works, and therefore have been told I cannot use Adobe Story, for example. Amazon Screenwriter is off-limits because their license is a tangled mess.

Final Draft has a secure collaboration mode in which my computer is the "server" for clients to access with their copies of FinalDraft.

FadeIn supports collaborating, too, but I believe everyone on the team needs to be using FadeIn.

When people ask or email me to locate free or cheap writing tools, I used to suggest using what you have (Word, LibreOffice / OpenOffice, Pages, etc) and just write. The most important thing you can do is write the script using anything. Now, I would say if you are online most of the time, try WriterDuet as a free solution.

It is amazing. Seriously good. For the price.

Myself, I remain a Screenwriter 6.x user. It's what I love. But that's me.

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