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Screenwriting Software

There are many suitable screenwriting software tools in use by screenwriters today. We will review the 2 top screenwriting software options that are accepted by the WGA (Writers Guild of America) This is the place you want to get your script to in order to be protected and seen.

Final Draft
It can safely be argued that Final Draft is the industry-standard application for script writers. But while Final Draft 7 adds a few nice features to the program's repertoire, this buggy new version doesn't live up to its predecessors' good reputation.

The Final Draft workflow has changed little over the last few years, and that's a good thing. The beauty of Final Draft has always been that it streamlined the mechanics of scriptwriting so your brain could concentrate on the story. Version 7 is no different: Switching between character, action, dialogue, and scene formatting is still effortless. Type a character's name and click on Enter, and Final Draft automatically formats the document for a line of dialogue. Its SmartType feature can also automatically fill in established characters' names once you've typed the first letter.

Final Draft 7 is a cross-platform product, so script swapping is easy. Its CollaboWriter feature lets multiple users work on the same script simultaneously, and even chat online about it.

The program also provides writers with a set of updated script templates for film, television, and live theater.

Version 7 lets you view two sections of your script in its Panel view -- either side-by-side or stacked one on top of the other. This is helpful because it lets you review one section of a script as you write in another.

And version 7 includes a stand-alone application, called Tagger, that lets you break down and make annotations in a script (for elements such as characters, props, and wardrobe), which can then be exported to movie-production scheduling programs such as Write Brothers' Movie Magic Screenwriter.

While this sounds fantastic, version was filled with bugs. Paging down a script caused the screen to redraw poorly, leaving line artifacts. Cutting and pasting text was hit-or-miss. Even something as fundamental as printing a script caused an instant crash (though turning off the default Format Assistant feature prevented crashes). To compound the problem, Final Draft technical support was unreachable because of the company's Kafkaesque phone system.

The company acknowledged these problems and said that they'd be remedied by the time you read this. The company has also created a new online knowledge base -- available on its Web site -- to help with support issues.

Final Draft, Inc. was founded in 1991 to develop a scriptwriting program that allows the writer to concentrate on the creative process and not on Hollywood's stringent formatting rules. Since then, Final Draft has become the Hollywood professional's choice and the world's #1-selling scriptwriting program.

Final Draft is the software of choice of such industry giants as Alan Ball, Tom Hanks, Oliver Stone, J.J. Abrams and James Cameron.

Television shows such as The Sopranos, Lost, Entourage and Desperate Housewives, feature films such as Cold Mountain, Lost in Translation, The Incredibles, Sideways, Batman Begins and any of the Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and recent James Bond movies are all the results of scripts written with Final Draft.

Final Draft, Inc. also publishes Final Draft AV, the only dedicated multi-column script processor specifically designed for writing commercials, corporate videos, documentaries, presentations, DV shorts, etc. Final Draft AV received Videomaker Magazine’s 2005 award for Best Production Planning Software.

Final Draft, Inc. is the recipient of the first Script P.I.M.P. Screenwriter’s Choice Award and the WriteMovies Award for Technical Achievement.

The company's headquarters is in Calabasas, California.

Movie Magic 2000
Movie Magic Screenwriter is the best selling* screenplay formatting software and the choice of Hollywood professionals. Screenwriter automatically formats while you write so you can focus on what you’re writing, not where it goes on the page. It also formats for television, stage, novels and comic book scripts so you’ve got an all in one package for any story you want to write. With a massive set of features designed to make the rewriting process fast and simple you can get from FADE IN: to FADE OUT effortlessly. Online collaboration, the ability to compare drafts of screenplays and the most comprehensive production features of any screenwriting software all make Movie Magic Screenwriter the clear choice for getting your stories from concept to screen.

Do you often have great ideas for movies or television shows? Movie Magic Screenwriter 2000 is a word processor with specific commands that format scripts for television, the stage, and the screen. The program is packed with helpful tools, including a character-name bank, a thesaurus, and a chat feature that lets you work with a remote partner. Movie Magic also keeps track of drafts and alerts you if you start working on an old version of your script. The program also includes example copies of produced scripts.

Its only flaw is minor - for copy protection, you must insert the CD-ROM or validate the program over the Internet each time you launch Movie Magic.

Unlike Final Draft, technical support for Movie Magic Screenwriter is provided at no additional charge. Whether you call by phone, fax or email your questions, or visit our first rate support web site, you are not charged by the minute (or at all) for technical support.

'Screenwriter' is an intelligently designed, enormously useful tool all film and tv scribes ought to consider using. It allows writers to concentrate on the hard stuff: story, character, dialogue, allowing the software to address the chores and challenges attendant to creating clear, professional format.

These two screenwriting software tools are not the only options available, but they are the most widely used and recognized for a reason. If you are planning on being serious about screenwriting, you should invest in the best screenwriting software possible. Do you research, but you will probably be best off with one of these two screenwriting software programs.

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Top Screenwriters
Hollywood screenwriters will typically receive 2-3% of a film's total gross as salary.

George Lucas
Movie: Star Wars III
Gross: $848,000,000+
2-3%: $22,000,000+ (aprox)

Bryan Singer
Movie: Superman Returns
Gross: $368,000,000+
2-3%: $9,500,000+ (aprox)

Peter Jackson
Movie: King Kong
Gross: $547,000,000+
2-3%: $14,000,000+ (aprox)

James Cameron
Movie: Titanic
Gross: $1,835,300,000+
2-3%: $46,000,000+ (aprox)

M. Night Shyamalan
Movie: The Sixth Sense
Gross: $661,000,000+
2-3%: $16,500,000+ (aprox)