Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Writing Tools Revisited

In an earlier post I talked about various writing tools I find useful. I received a comment from a reader on one of his. Here is the comment, hope he doesn't mind me quoting.:

"I wanted to put in a pointer for some free software I found. It's called Celtx and was designed for the film industry, but has had a lot of adaptation to various other theatrical projects. It runs across platforms (Mac, Windows, Linux, etc.). You can find it at http://celtx.com/ "

I downloaded Celtx and I've been using it. The other tools I mentioned work fine for general writing tasks and writing novels, short stories, etc. All can be used for dramatic works, but they don't have specific formatting tools, etc. that accommodate script work.  There are several pricey packages out there that do good jobs with scripts. I have also seen a few templates for Word that approach the problem. The Celtx program does most of it for free. I went ahead and bought a Writers add-on for the program, it cost a whopping $9.95 and added a few nice bells and whistles to the basic program.

I like Celtx. It makes it very easy to format various types of scripts for production. For a fee, you can join their online "Studio", which adds the benefits of saving your scripts online with them, offers a base for collaboration, and other possibilities I didn't care to use. The only thing about the program that bothers me is that it is set up to automatically "ping" their site each time you use it. They say no information is transferred, other than just letting them know how many people are using the program. My problem is, I work offline a lot. I have dial-up, I'm not online always (no matter what my partner says!). It's a bit annoying to see the small window popping up that it is trying to make connection to add to their count and it tries repeatedly. Really a small gripe, considering the program is free, and it does a lot of things really well. It is certainly worth trying out if you do plays or screenplays. The program has a lot of utility for overall production, as well. Check it out at the link above!

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