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Review: Script It!

Script it! markets itself as a ‘script formatting software ideal for the novice writer who is learning the craft of screenwriting’, and in this respect, it’s hard to knock. It’s important before buying any software, to know exactly what you want.


by Dave Trendall

There are many on the market with equal prices so it’s good to trial them before unzipping your wallet and dipping in. Script it! does have limitations but on the flip-side, its extreme ease of use will have you bashing on the keys within 10 minutes.

Its extreme ease of use will have you
bashing on the keys within 10 minutes.

It’s a good enough piece of software for those setting out on the adventure of writing a screenplay for the first time, great for organizing your story into a clear and coherent ball of motivations and goals and focusing on the bare minimum, the step outline.

The package is complimented with some nice touches and if you want a simple and easy to use word processor to organize your thoughts and ramblings into a structured story, with numbered steps and notes, this is a worthy shot. With it’s decent price tag it’s more affordable than a more complex competitor or its sister, Movie Outline .

Why use outlining software?

I often find it difficult to structure a decent step outline on Celtx or Word and am continually scrolling up and down the 25 page document trying to find a particular scene. This software makes viewing and organizing the outline steps exceptionally easy. Also, the many notes, ideas and flashes of genius you have are stored away in easy to access folders. It’s also thoroughly easy to convert into a pdf file and there is an added option of submitting and registering your script.

This software makes viewing
and organizing the outline steps
exceptionally easy.

For those of you who barely have a grasp of what an outline is, Script it! gives a glossary of words and useful terms. There are also 3 feature film examples of how you can use the program which is handy to see the capabilities of the software.

Tip of the day

Tip of the day is another nice touch and you can choose to turn on a ‘show on add step’ function. After having finished writing a step, a tip pops up which you can use in your writing as you keep the ball rolling. Some of them are a little obvious but for some writers, more so beginners, this is easier and more interactive and indeed more useful than reading a book with lots of hints to store somewhere in the cobwebs of your brain; you can really use what it tells you in the next step of your writing.

Character names

The character names wizard works well, detailing the meanings of (innumerable) first names which are interesting to read, however it doesn’t go too far in helping you with surnames. It’s fun to just peruse.

A nice facet is the ability to write the script as per each step. With the complete overview shown in the sidebar, you are only a click away to the script formatting page that relates directly to the step. A simple idea but one which keeps you on track, preventing you from ambling around aimlessly. It’s great to be able to see the outline list on the sidebar, clearly visible and easy to interpret it displays the contents and it’s easy to navigate.

It’s great to be able to see the outline list on the sidebar.

Its limitations are abundant, but it’s not the aim to bowl you over and you won’t be crying a merciful ‘please! I can’t handle all these graphs, graphics and options you’re throwing at me!’. The function is outline and structure… that said however, everything it does do, it does with simplicity, speed and organization. It’s almost too easy to work all the options out – it’ll save you time fiddling around with settings and playing with menu options and tabbing on that old-hat word processor.

This really is what Script it! does well. It’s great for beginning writers who want the structure and organization that most other packages don’t have. Ok, great for beginners, sure, excellent… but what about for so-called experts; have you tried 407 different types of screenwriting software? If so, this might not be for you. Script it! won’t fan-dazzle you into an altered state of options and drop-down menus but it will focus you on organising notes and structuring scenes in a logical way.

Script it! won’t fan-dazzle you into
an altered state of options and drop-down menus.

Character notes?

What is lacking is a full and detailed character biography template. I found myself going into other programmes and retrieving my notes which was mildly irritating but it didn’t make me throw my computer at the wall or ask to be refunded in time and money. There also doesn’t seem to be much in the way of forums to connect with other writers, there are links to excellent resources online (and always to the big sister, movie outline) which can help a lot if you’re just starting out or need some pointers to help you out of the hole you’ve dug.

No visual splendor

Pictorially there is little to talk about and I like to have the pictorial element. There are no index cards, nor are there icons, however generally speaking, there is little not to like about this little package. It is limited, but for the price it’s not low on detail. It doesn’t have charts or any stimulus to mill around when you’re bored of writing but it does have everything you need.

Pictorially there is little to talk about and
I like to have the pictorial element.

This is probably not the software I would use to write a screenplay on, though it is certainly possible to write your opus on it. It lacks detail and graphics and it’s clear its focus is on structuring but it’s a perfect tool for beginners with its wealth of tips and tricks and worthy of note for experts who don’t want to fork out the wholesome penny.

Conclusion

It’s a neatly structured piece of software anyone can use, easily. There is a wealth of information to learn from and also extra tips to find out and discover. It’s a good deal regarding the price and can focus you on fine-tuning the structure which is so easy to gloss over and misfire on before you hit the scripting stage. If what you need is structure with a no-frills approach, then this is a good piece of software to have in your armory.

-Dave Trendall

 

About the Author

Dave Trendall

Comments 1

  1. Hi Everyone!!

    I know this is an article about Celtx but I work at Scripped.com and they just released a celtx version that lets you sync your Celtx scripts with Scripped.com, so you can write Online and offline. You can download it from sourceforge here: http://sourceforge.net/projects/scripped/files/ or by searching there for Scripped.

    Check it out, it’s free! It’s same as celtx but also works with Scripped which is really convenient!!

    ~Jenny

    Outreach Director
    jenny@scripped.com

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