The new wave created by screenwriting software has made the work of a script writer for the movies, audio-visuals, documentaries, theater, television or video games considerably easier. Screenwriters are required to follow some pre-defined conventions while going about their tasks. Helping the user with formatting, revisions and final presenting, the software is considered a boon by writers of screenplays. The lineage of scriptwriting software began with SmartKey that dominated the scene between 1982 and 1987. Today there is a vast array of software that one can pick and choose from, the selection depending upon individual requirement.
Basically the screenwriting software packages fall under three broad categories:
1. Shareware or freeware
2. Commercial software that has to be purchased
3. Web based
Different screenwriting software packages carry out innumerable functions in varying permutation-combination. The creative writing is now no longer restricted to a person’s efforts alone. It has largely shifted into a computer domain that needs little human intervention. The digital approach to pre-production systems takes care of a plethora of tasks involved. Another advantage offered by some screenwriting software is that collaborative work becomes simpler. Doing away with multiple project files, the members of the team may share information and work on a single file thus eliminating possibility of any confusion.
The various steps in story writing are all taken care of by screenwriting software such as writing the script, the scene description, sequences, character development, setting up tags, scheduling, budgeting and preparation of circulars and reports for the staff and the cast. This makes management of workflow more efficient and has become the much preferred method of working by studio professionals, film-makers and students learning the craft of writing scripts.
The fluidity of the writer’s thoughts need never be interrupted, rather enhanced by making it possible to work even when on the move. The dedicated screenwriting programs are not glorified word processors meant only to format what is typewritten, but a whole lot more, working by your side all the time. Some of the software packages have ready-made templates that the writer can adapt to his script. These are comparatively cheaper than others in the market.
Some of the best known screenwriting software programs are Adobe Story, Plotbot, Celtx, BPC Screenplay, DreamaScript, Movie Outline, Plot Builder and a host of other equally resourceful packages. Currently the two most widely used software packages used in Hollywood are Final Draft and Movie Magic Screenwriter. The trend has been set and the future of screenplay writing lies in these specialized programs.