Over the last 20 years there have been over 15 screenwriting software made for writing movie scripts.
Now you might think is it necessary to write a script by using a tool? I can write it in a Word Doc too.
Of course you can write a screenplay or a TV Commercial in MS Word however, it is highly recommended using a software to get the understanding of camera angles that go into it (And a whole lot of other things). Trust me it makes a HUGE difference!
One of the reasons is that, even if you wanted to write a script for a movie you wouldn’t have a proper idea on writing the correct angle of a particular shot. And you started applying to some famous Screenwriting Contests. Even though you have a very remarkable idea for a movie (along with the wonderful action sequences you have written) your script will not be formatted properly, according to the standards set by the industry. And your chances of landing a script in the hands of a producer will be gone down the drain.
Screenwriting software helps to write, format, edit & print screenplays according to the strict guidelines in the television & movie industry.
So which screenwriting software should you use? To make it simple for you to decide, I have listed some free & paid free screenwriting software used to write screenplays by professionals as well as amateur screenwriters.
- Final Draft
- Movie Magic Screenwriter
- Writer Duet
- Fade In
- Kit Scenarist
1. Final Draft
This is not for the faint hearted. But if you are pro and serious about making a career in screenwriting and want to be the next Aaron Sorkin of Hollywood, this is the software I would gravely recommend.
According to Steph Fraser who is a fiction writer, many Oscar winning screenwriters like Guillermo Del Toro and Doug Ellin use it.
It really is the “Big Daddy” of screenwriting and used by the best in the movie industry.
- It has a free 30 day trial too.
- It costs $199.99 for digital download.
- Educational license cost is $9.99 (only for educators)
Get Final Draft today and start writing like a pro.
This is the first software I have used when I started writing 8 years ago. And guess why I chose it?..Yeah because it was free to download.
Currently it has 6 million users. Now it is on cloud and hence it only has a paid version. It is built by the same people who built Mozilla Firefox. Still it is way cheaper than Final Draft and can be used by amateur writers as it is very much user friendly.
You can also write novels and plays in it. Sometimes I use it for writing TV Commercials.
Pricing: There are 3 pricing plans. It is currently giving 50% off on all of it’s plans. Discounted plans are given below:
- Scriptwriting plan costs $7/month
- Video Production Plan costs $10/month
- Game Production Plan costs $10/month
- However, if you buy the bundle plan (Video + Game Production) then it costs $17/month
Get Celtx now to start writing.
Another software tool used by the biggies in the industry to make Magic happen on screen is the Movie Magic Screenwriter. It can be compared to the Final Draft software on many levels.
Some people also use it to write research paper assignments & submissions.
It is very expensive compared to Celtx and has less features than Final Draft.
Pricing: It has many pricing plans.
- The latest version is the Movie Magic 6 priced at $169.
- An upgrade costs $89.95 (Windows & Mac)
- The 6.5 upgrade costs $69.95 (only for Mac)
Click here to get Movie Magic Screenwriter.
4. Writer Duet
Free Trial Version
Founded in 2013 Writer’s Duet is a perfect screenwriting software made for collaborating with fellow screenwriters. It includes real time co-writing, in-app text and video chat.
Writing is rewriting, so instead of copy pasting every time, you can save templates, integrate beat sheets, treatments and outlines.
It offers 3 free scripts upon sign up.
Pricing: It is cheaper than Celtx. Following are the pricing plans if you buy the yearly plan
- $5/month billed annually for Plus membership
- $7.42/month billed annually Pro membership
- $9.92/month billed annually Premium membership
Jason Hellerman, a professional screenwriter has similar views on writer’s duet.
5. Fade In
Since it’s release Fade In has become one of the most popular screenwriting software with professionals and amateurs alike.
It supports writing A/V scripts, collaboration options & has a thesaurus. A very useful feature which other expensive software tools like final draft, Celtx, Movie Magic Screenwriter, don’t have is it’s full screen mode.
It even has ePub export and scene timing support which no other software listed above has.
According to author AJ Detisch, this software has cool feature which is the action-to-dialogue calculator withis their script statistic reporting tool.
Pricing: The Fade In website has a comparison chart of Final Draft vs Movie Magic Screenwriter vs Celtx.
- Free Trial for some days
- Regular Price is $79.95.
- The future updates are free for lifetime.
Click here to buy Fade In right now.
Free Trial Version
Launched in 2007, Scrivener is more of a book writing software. It has those features which a screenwriting has however it is more popular among authors and novelists.
You can get the feel of a typewriter while using it. You can put different pieces of a story or a long text together easily.
It’s cockboard feature is unique which authors like about it very much.
You can use it for screenwriting no doubt. Joanna Penn’s review of Scrivener notes that Scrivener helps writers to become proficient. Joanna is a renowned blogger and author, who has published more than 26 books so far.
Pricing: It has a 30 day trial.
- The Windows and Mac license costs $45.
- iOS license costs $19.99
- You can also buy a bundle for Mac & Windows at a discounted price.
You can buy Scrivener by clicking here.
It is a leading photo, video, TV & film production management software. So apart from screenwriting it also includes a production calendar, film crew management feature.
You can write with partners, share scripts, receive feedback instantly. Easier to organize screenplay versions, covert scripts written in other software like final draft. You can go from a script to pre-production in just one click.
If you have a production company then this is the perfect tool for you to manage scripts, crews and people involved in your project.
Pricing: It has 2 pricing plans. Individual Plans & Company Plans
- Individual plans per month (shown above) costs $29, $49 & $99.
- Company Plan per month costs $249 onwards
You can buy StudioBinder by clicking here.
This is by far the best free version software for writing screenplays. It has taken the place of Celtx in its early years. With over 10 thousand screenwriters using it, Kit Scenarist is for not just amateurs. It is available on 5 platforms namely Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, iOS, and Android.
As an open source software the team behind Kit Scenarist is constantly updating this tool
Pricing: The team has made it available in 3 versions (all absolutely Free).
- Beta version: To download, use & give feedback so they can improve it further.
- Stable Version: Perfect for use
- Mobile Version: Write scripts, notes while you are travelling.
I definitely recommend using this software. Download for free here.
Free & Paid Version
Developed by the team at Hollywood Camera Work, who are experts in making software for filmmakers this is totally different from other software tools above.
Causality is the first screenwriting software that is a game changer in some ways. It helps to plot as well as write your story at the same time. You can visualize your story in a much better way than all other paid screenwriting tools.
Pricing: It has 3 plans available.
- Free version: You can save & export your script if it is under 10 pages.
- Yearly Plan: $5.99/month
- Pro Version: $279 for permanent license with free lifetime updates.
I think you should definitely try it even if you are a pro & using any of the other paid software tools.
It is founded by 2 young coders. Just like Kit Scenarist it is an open source software. Simple to use & open to feedback Trelby gives a vibe that it’ll be around in the screenwriting community for a long time with it’s upgrades & features.
After downloading it, you should install the courier 10 font & start writing your script.
You can download it here.
Even if you have very little money to buy a software, you can still write a professional screenplay by using these tools & achieve your dream of becoming a screenwriter. Start applying to screenplay contests, because without that awesome feedback from those experts, you may never improve your storytelling skills.
That concludes the article for the top 10 screenwriting software tools right now in 2020. If you haven’t yet started writing, click on one and start writing.