Time to Write That Screenplay

Some of the most exciting developments in technology are those that break down barriers to entry into areas that have been previously monopolized by a select few.

If you are like me, at one time or another you have considered trying your hand at Screenwriting. Sometimes this desire is inspired by viewing a particularly awe inspiring film. Other times it is provoked by seeing an unbelievably horrible one.

But, like many fields, the barriers to entry into the field of Screenwriting for the uninitiated have felt prohibitive. For years now I have been looking for a free alternative to the expensive commercial Screenwriting software packages. And since I am not confident about correct screenplay formatting and style, I wanted a program with a little bit of hand-holding for newbies.

No such program appeared to be available…until now.

I have just discovered the Celtx project .

Celtx is an open source “pre-production program for film, video, theatre, and animation” based on the same mozilla framework that Firefox is developed from. It includes story development tools for creating “detailed backgrounds for scenes and characters” and for writing “properly formatted script that can be annotated with any type of media, including notes, photos, sound files, and video clips.” It also includes scheduling and collaboration tools for team writing. There are versions for Microsoft Windows 95, 98, NT, ME, 2000, XP, Mac OS X, and Linux.

When writing a script with Celtx, you simply use the tab key to rotate through the different formatting block types (heading, action, character, dialog, parenthetical, transition, shot, and text) and it automatically sets the correct formating in the script.

Celtx also comes with a short example script for a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

With increasingly cheap digital video production tools we are already seeing an explosion in alternative media production and with free software like Celtx, we may, in the not so distant future, be able to provide a viable alternative to Hollywood.

So if you have been sitting around day-dreaming about writing a good movie screenplay, download Celtx and check it out.

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