The internet has transformed the world of screenwriting tools. There is a plethora of technologies to support budding writers to hone their craft and create the best possible material.
Whether they’re taking care of the formatting so you don’t have to worry about it, supporting you in your research or aiding your planning and brainstorming, these five tech tools can help those who want to take their screenwriting career to the next level.
- FINAL DRAFT WRITER
Imagine being able to write quickly and easily across all of your devices via one handy app. This is what Final Draft Writer offers users. The program is designed to format your work automatically, whether you write for TV, film or stage plays. There are also several great highlighting features that can assist you with character and plot development.
By far the best feature of this tool is its ability to let you sync, send and share your work across several devices or platforms. You can send it directly to editors and producers and always have it on hand without having to lug around paper copies. If you have a sudden idea, you can whip out your iPhone and make the updates. In short, it’s a screenwriter’s best friend.
The app is currently available for a reduced price of $9.99, down from its usual $29.99.
For anyone who works online, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are becoming increasingly common and essential. For screenwriters, their benefits are twofold: First, relying on your computer for your livelihood means it’s paramount to consider security. Just as you’d install a lock system on the front door of a store, using a VPN shuts out potential thieves who may be looking to steal your work or cause havoc in your operating systems.
A VPN can also be a great research tool. Many people don’t realize the internet is not created equal. Different countries block certain sites for religious, political or cultural reasons, and this can severely limit the amount of information you can access. Using a VPN allows you to bypass this and research anything, anywhere. ExpressVPN was chosen as the leading option by numerous review sites last year and offers a reliable service and comprehensive customer support.
This service is available for a monthly fee of $12.95; however, you can save by purchasing a yearlong subscription, which reduces the cost to $8.32 a month.
It’s a well-known fact for screenwriters that immersing yourself in the world of film and media is one of the best ways to come up with ideas, hone your craft and find your inspiration. Often called the LinkedIn for films, IMDbPro provides a comprehensive platform to allow you to do this. Unlike the generic service, the upgrade is designed specifically for industry professionals. You can create your own profile, connect with other users and access job opportunities. This makes it a great way to market your work, allowing prospective employers to view your experience and ideas.
For new writers looking to make industry contacts, the platform can help identify whom to target. Simply look up films of similar genres and style to your writing, and the credits will provide you with a database of producers, directors, actors and crewmembers that regularly work on those sorts of projects.
While access to this platform costs $19.99 a month, the benefits you gain from the service are more than worth its price tag.
Writer’s block is something that’s very real and, if you’re working on a deadline, often detrimental. Contour is a simple yet handy planning and brainstorming tool that can be invaluable for writers who are stuck in a rut. You can start with a general overview of the concept and gradually narrow it down into character motives, plot repercussions and general ideas to establish your backstories and world.
It’s easy to break down different acts and scenes to create a more intricate understanding of your script, and there are even tools to help ensure cohesiveness between each section. It’s easy to navigate and has a simple user interface, so you can work on several stories at once. You’ll never find yourself stuck for ideas again.
The program is available on both Windows and Mac, and there’s also an iOS app so you can work while on-the-go. The full program is $39.99, with the deluxe version at $99.99. However, the mobile option can be downloaded directly from the App Store for just $11.99.
- AMAZON STORYWRITER
For screenwriters who haven’t sold their first script and are on a tight budget, this new release from Amazon is a great option. The free tool provides all the basics of any good screenwriting program, with automatic formatting and options to export as a PDF. It also lets you sync with other devices, ensuring the layout is always on point, no matter the size and shape of your screen.
Storywriter is most commonly used online; however, it does offer a downloadable Chrome app that allows you to work offline and updates the changes in cloud storage once you connect again.
Another standout feature of this tool is that it allows you to share work with fellow users and even Amazon Studios themselves. This is a great resource to collect feedback, and the luckiest of writers even have a chance to see their scripts turned into an Amazon series. However, there is a word of warning: the fine print of this service says, in essence, that Amazon has a right to produce similar work without giving credit. While the likelihood of them flat-out stealing your script isn’t high, it’s worth being aware of this clause.
There are endless great tech tools to help screenwriters, but these are just five of the best. If you know of any more options that deserve a place on this list, then be sure to leave a comment below. We’d love to hear your ideas.
About the Author: Caroline is a blogger, writer and tech expert. She’s been a lifelong movie fan and is currently working on her first script. She loves sharing tips and tricks with fellow screenwriters online.
Find her on Twitter! (@CultureCovC)