Now You Can Plan Your Scripts for Free on the Cloud with Amazon Studios Storybuilder
One of the best ways to get your screenplay under control and nicely organized is to outline it, and there are literally endless methods, tools, and materials that can get it done. One that might interest you is the just-launched Amazon Storybuilder (currently still in beta). This cloud-based digital corkboard was developed by Amazon Studios to help users virtually plan out and tack up notecards for their scripts for free. Continue on to find out more.
Now, if you're using Celtx, Final Draft, Scrivener (or any other screenwriting program), you're probably already utilizing their story outline tools, though technically Scrivener is the only one that provides the corkboard aesthetic. However, if that look really appeals to you, and you don't have the time to figure out Scrivener (which has quite the learning curve), then you may want to check out Storybuilder.
There are some pretty useful features that other programs either don't have, or haven't fully developed. For one, it's free. Second, it's solely a notecard application, making it very simple. You can make and label cards with ease, swap them out, reorder them, and even add images. You can also organize them by group, so if you're wanting to get your first act plotted, all you have to do is label your group and arrange your cards in that column. (You can drag and drop cards into other groups, too.) Storybuilder also allows you to invite collaborators to work on the corkboard with you, though they must have an Amazon Studios account. However, collaborators can't edit or add notecards directly.
It's also a browser-based app, which means it can be accessed not only from your computer, but also from your smartphone or tablet via your browser. Celtx and Final Draft both can be accessed on your phone/tablet via through their respective apps, but Celtx's will cost you roughly $5 a pop for each, while Final Draft only offers a reader.
The one thing that might irk users about this program right off the bat is that they'll need to sign up for an Amazon Studios account to get started, and you'll also need to be connected to the internet to use it. Also, exporting is almost non-existent in that Amazon doesn't provide a way in-app to export your finished corkboard -- the only work-around is to print it, or save the PDF of the print version.
Having played with it for a while, I can say that it's pretty good for a free app. The corkboard aesthetic is fun, you can add, edit, and move the notecards around easily, and you can access your projects on-the-go. That being said, it doesn't provide much more than the program I use to do the same work -- and that same program also allows me to write my screenplay, develop my character backgrounds, and so much more. Storybuilder seems like overkill if you already use a screenwriting app that has a notecard feature, unless it's important for you to be able to access your projects on your phone. But try it out for yourself and let us know your first impressions! And remember, it's still in beta, so we might be seeing a host of new features later.
Link: Amazon Storybuilder
[via Filmmaker Magazine]