It feels an age since I last wrote. Things are pretty topsy turvy at the moment. I'm hoping to have my feet planted securely on the ground at some point soon.
You may think this is rather naïve or ignorant on my part, but I had always assumed that a screenplay or script was made up of dialogue. That's all I ever imagined a screenplay consisted of, just dialogue. Kinda silly really. I always imagined that the director, actors and production crew all figured out the rest as they went along.
They figured out set locations etc just from dialogue – right. How stupid is that?
I've come to the conclusion that it would be pretty darn impossible if you received a screenplay and it was written with streams of dialogue all the way through. Impossible, you couldn't do it. I don't think you could.
My first screenplay that I attempted to write, very badly I might add was written using a template for Microsoft word that I found at BBC Writersroom.
I'm not sure if you can still get this template. I used this template to write my first ever screenplay that I thought was going to change the world. Obviously not.
I don't know where you get your delusions, laser brain.
I must concur.
Anyway, for my next screenplay I hunted around on the internet some more and finally came across some fantastic free software for screenwriters going by the name of CELTX. You have to remember that you don't have to pay for this, it's completely free. An open source software for writers.
I downloaded this and began to use it.
This is a fantastic little bit of kit. In my years using it, I've only really had two issues with it. But again, you have to remember it's free. You don't have to pay anything for it.
When you open the program you get the choice of not just screenplays but also the chance to write for film, audio-visual, theatre, audio-play, story-board, comic book, text and novel.
There are only two things that I find annoying in this software.
In order to convert a file to Pdf you need to be online and the really annoying one, the software has the habit of leaving large spaces at the bottom of the page and occassionally the dialogue will be off, again with large spaces.
Not sure why. This is frustrating because it makes it difficult to calculate the actual page count of the project.
Other than that, I would highly recommend that if you are starting out and you truly want to see if you have the writing chops as a screenwriter. Then I would suggest that you download yourself a copy and get writing.
I definitely would recommend that you hold off on buying anything if you are just starting out. Write a few screenplays, write several before splashing out.
I've been writing for a while so I decided to make the leap and buy myself some software. I opted for Final Draft 8 which seems to be the one every one uses. Although saying that, as long as the software you use formats the pages correctly, is easy to use and can convert into a Pdf then you don't have anything to worry about.
I haven't been using Final Draft 8 very long, so I'm still getting used to it. I have found that it formats pages correctly.
Unlike CELTX however, as far as I can see so far, you don't have the ability to see scriptnotes that you make along the way.
Also in CELTX you have the ability to make notes under the script and keep them open. Final Draft should consider implementing this at some point.
The only other thing about Final Draft, it seems to use a heck of a lot of memory. As soon as I start typing, the fan on my laptop kicks in. Which can be a little annoying.
There's plenty of other software out there that you can use.
I've just visited BBC Writersroom and discovered Page 2 Stage which you can download for free. It works with Microsoft Word I think, you'll need to check. This may be similar to the software that I originally started with. Worth checking out.
Movie Magic Screenwriter
Movie Outline 3
Page 2 Stage
If you are planning on buying. Don't rush into it.
Download the demo versions and try them out.
What's good for one, won't be for others.
When you feel ready to buy, go out and take a look.
There are probably plenty of others. Just don't rush out. Get the lay of the land first, before spending any money.
And Good Luck