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And the Oscar Goes To...

Get the inside word on how three scriptwriting programs measure up.

Formatting is the bane of a screenwriter''s existence. Wouldn''t you rather be lost in thought about your characters, inside their heads as they speak, instead of thinking about font sizes, column width and capitalization? But we hear time and time again that Hollywood producers and agents will promptly trash a script if it is not formatted correctly. That means you must either be a formatting know-it-all or get your hands on software that will accurately format your script so that you can write those dazzling scenes that will get you compared to Orson Welles and Alan Ball (or at least Quentin Tarantino).

Final Draft, Movie Magic Screenwriter 2000 and Scriptware are the three most recognizable names in scriptwriting software. Beyond the standard bells and whistles you would expect to find in any writing program (spell checker, thesaurus and auto-save), scriptwriting software has its own standard features such as scene headings automatically set in all capital letters, default text in Courier 12-point type and "continued" placed at the proper location on relevant pages. While each of the following programs can organize your script according to industry-standard format, some are easier to use than others, and some offer unique features specifically tailored to new or experienced screenwriters. How They Did:

  • Final Draft
    Formatting Ability ****
    Writing Features ****
    Collaboration Features ***
    Production Features ***
    Ease of Use ****
    Overall Strength ****
    Price $249
    For more information: Final Draft Inc., 16000 Ventura Blvd., Suite 800, Encino, CA 91436, tel. (800)231-4055, www.finaldraft.com
  • Screenwriter 2000
    Formatting Ability ****
    Writing Features ****
    Collaboration Features ****
    Production Features ****
    Ease of Use ****
    Overall Strength ****
    Price $269
    For more information: Screenplay Systems Inc., Suite 203, 150 E. Olive Ave., Burbank, CA 91502-1849, tel. (800)84-STORY, www.screenplay.com
  • Scriptware
    Formatting Ability ***
    Writing Features ****
    Collaboration Features *
    Production Features ***
    Ease of Use ***
    Overall Strength ***
    Price $199.95
    For more information: Cinovation Inc., 1709 15th St., Boulder, CO 80302-6323, tel. (800)788-7090, www.scriptware.com

This article appeared in the August 2000 issue of Scriptwriting Secrets.

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