September 29, 2011

Upstart Screenwriting Application Movie Draft Looks Promising

First of all, industry standard screenwriting software Final Draft is $70 off until Sept 30. But thanks to @navesink on Twitter, I found out about a new screenwriting program that brings some appealing changes to the table. Movie Draft SE is available through the Mac App Store for just $30 ("for a limited time," though I don't know how limited of a time we're talking) with some very promising features. It's also available for Windows and Linux. Chiefly I'm interested in the modularity of the scenes and the navigation sidebar, as demonstrated in this video:

I downloaded it and, thanks to backwards compatibility with Final Draft, I'm planning on taking a stab at my next draft of Man-child with Movie Draft. One other feature I'm looking for: the ability to add script notes in line and print them right alongside the screenplay. In Final Draft, you can create a separate "script note report," but it lives separately from the screenplay pages, and it's quite frankly a pain in the ass if you want to write notes to yourself (as a writer/director, I want to leave myself notes in the writing stage to refer to during the directing stage -- which may be a year or more down the road). Also, Final Draft doesn't use the system dictionary, instead opting for its own spell-checker, which has the vocabulary of a middle schooler. Anyone have any firsthand experience with Movie Draft? Also, why the "SE," will there be another version?

I'll be back with a full review if I end up using the program for a full draft.

Link: Movie Draft SE

Your Comment


What - no windows version? That totally sucks since Celtx's bugs are irritating the heck out of me so I'd like to move on.

"I want to leave myself notes in the writing stage to refer to during the directing stage" - Haha. I do the exact same thing!

September 29, 2011 at 8:32AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Switch to Mac bro

September 29, 2011 at 5:58PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I haven't taken advantage of all it's features, but it has proven keep me from buying Final Draft. If a person is half way familiar with the formatting rules, combined with it's auto-color layout, and keyboard shortcuts, you can make your thoughts look like they're ready to shoot.

If you happen to find anything you have qualms about it, love to hear. As of now it's shoot'n %1000 for me.

And congrats on the film, man. Always good to see a fellow artist make the progress they envisioned.

September 29, 2011 at 9:38AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I will definitely be buying this because Final Draft interface personally sucks for me

September 29, 2011 at 9:38AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I quite like Scrivener: . It has very useful outlining, notes, custom metadata etc. It was developed for mac but there is a windows beta version that works.

September 29, 2011 at 10:34AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I have Scrivener and actually outlined 'Man-child' using it. I also have Mori, Evernote, WriteRoom, and I've tried Storymill, Movie Magic Screenwriter, Celtx, and a few others I can't remember. I personally found Scrivener to be a bit too complex for outlining (it's built first and foremost for novel writing). But it's a very thoughtful (and deep -- too deep, some would say) app.

September 29, 2011 at 10:40AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Ryan Koo

Let us know if you find something that works. I currently use Movie Magic Screenwriter, but it hasn't been updated in years and don't seem like they ever plan to. I've tried the others you mentioned, but I use Windows, so Scrivener isn't quite there yet. I've always wanted to try Movie Outline, but it's a bit expensive at $199

September 29, 2011 at 11:01AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Final Draft just went live in Mac App Store, go check it out

September 29, 2011 at 11:05AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I bought this app about a 2 weeks ago and It works very well for my needs. I'm writing in it right now. For the price, you can't beat it. Very easy to use, simple and clean. Did I also mention the price is great too?

September 29, 2011 at 1:16PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I can't live without Celtx. It's so much more than just screenwriting software, it allows you to bundle all kinds of rich media with the script. And best yet: IT'S FREE. Not only is it free as in free beer, but it's F/OSS. The file bundle format is completely documented, and it uses XML and HTML to keep things formatted the right way. If for some reason Celtx dies, you won't be locked out of your files. All of you using Movie Magic Screenwriter might wind up with a whole lotta nothin' if it ever goes under.

It spanks Final Draft so many ways it's not funny. Sure, it's got quirks, but as you work with it you learn to deal. Celtx Plus costs $15 normally, it's $10 for a limited time, but you don't have to go that route if you don't want to. The free version is not crippleware. I used this all through film school.

It is Windows? You're covered. Got Mac? You're covered. On Linux? Yes! It works on Linux!!! You can storyboard, you can do rudimentary scheduling, you don't just get screenplay format, you get A/V format, Radio Play format, Comic Book script format, Theatrical Play format, and even do your novelization in it! And you can (more or less) convert every format to just about every other format. There's an app for that too: Celtx Script costs $5 and is available in the Apple Store.

I don't work for Celtx. I just love it.

September 29, 2011 at 1:32PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Got to second your post. I have used Celtx since I gave up on FD a couple of years ago. I used a trial version of FD. It wasn't bad, but FD7 was being destroyed in reviews and I didn't feel like dealing with the anti-piracy nonsense they were being spanked for. Tried Celtx and never looked back. I have written a full length screenplay and a few shorts with Celtx and I don't need to look further.

September 29, 2011 at 3:11PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Oh Wow! I just got wind of Cetix. Just downloaded it about 2 minutes ago. Seems Nice!

September 29, 2011 at 3:34PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Seriously, I'd be a lot happier using Celtx if they just pulled up their socks and fixed the program's bugs. I've reported bugs on the Celtx forums a ton of times already and they acknowledge that they exist but yet they sill release versions with the exact same unfixed bugs still in place along with new ones for us to enjoy. I understand that's it's free and so new releases may have bugs, but honestly - if someone reports them, fix them! Very disappointing...

September 30, 2011 at 1:36AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Celtx is a nice program but since it's free, that also means the developers can't be making much money. And if they're not making much money, then they're hardly going to be spending lots of times and resources making it better. I've used lots of these free apps and programs that seem promising at the start; and then they die a long lingering death because they never get upgraded. I'd rather give a developer $50 so he can feed his or her family and actually improve the product. Like most things in life, you get what you pay for.

October 6, 2011 at 6:42AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Well, I for one often have wished Celtx developers would pick a real, sustainable business model and produce actual bug-free software. I'd happily pay for Celtx if it worked right and didn't feel like so hacked-together and have so many very frustrating, focus-breaking bugs. I finally bit the bullet and got Final Draft and have been very very happy with it. I used Celtx for four years but finally just abandoned it because it became clear they were never going to address the many, very long-standing bugs. Good riddance.

I tried a demo of Movie Draft and found the font rendering to be so abysmally bad that I couldn't even consider using it. Maybe they've fixed that.

October 30, 2011 at 10:03PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I'm still holding on, desperatly, to Sophocles. It allowed FULL outlining, not just 'index cards' but allowed scenes to be built into sequences and handled as a unit. It's fantastic.

The guy disappeared off the face of the Interent though :( which had the entire Sophocles user community worried, but I think most people have moved onto other things.

I've used Celtx but the inabilty for it to do basic pagination just irritated me. If I get to frustrated with some of the small bugs in Sophocles I may upgrade to FD, but these others you guys mentioned sound interesting.

I'm a software developer and I have to say I've been tempted to write my own, but my scripts aren't getting written now, and it's a crowded playing field.

== John ==

September 29, 2011 at 1:46PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

John Gwinner

I've been having fun with Adobe Story lately... takes a little getting used to and isn't as robust as other dedicated software- but that's what I like about it. Does what it does well, and nothing else :)

Plus- they probably have big plans for integrating it more deeply into the entire Adobe workflow, so if anyone is Premiere/AE based... might be worth checking into.

Lastly it's Cloud/Collaborative... so for teams or working from multiple workstations, might be helpful (haven't used it in that context myself)

October 1, 2011 at 11:22PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

David Komer

Hi Ryan, Mark here, Movie Draft's creator. Thanks for the post. To answer your question, the SE tag simply denotes "Store Edition" as it's available on the Mac App Store. It just makes it easier for me to differentiate things now that it is also available for sale from my website (

@Kyle - you'll be pleased to know that a Windows version is now available from the website, and if you previously bought a copy from the Mac App Store it's a free cross-grade to the website version (Mac OR Windows) from my website.

Please feel free to contact me - either on here or through the community part of my website - should you have any questions.

February 29, 2012 at 12:22PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I have just written my script on Movie Draft, really enjoyed it and then I emailed it to myself before I sent it off to who I wanted to and it came out in one big page, all the lines running together. How do I get the side bar with the scenes and scene numbers onto the script and how do I get the script in the proper shape to email it so that it looks like a script. HELP Katherine

January 16, 2013 at 8:04PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM