Celtx is one of the most known free writing software packages around. So, what does it offer?
Until a few years ago celtx was a desktop application for you to download and install on your hard drive. Not anymore. Celtx now is 100% integrated in your web browser. The desktop version of the program is no longer produced or distributed.
The advantage is you can access your scripts from anywhere, given you have an internet connection.
The disadvantage is: if you don’t have an internet connection there is (no more) free way to edit your scripts (see below for paid options)
Yes, it is. It doesn’t cost you a penny. If you want to use it for writing that is. Celtx offers a bunch of other features if you want to use it for production purposes as well (see below for paid options).
If you only use it for writing it costs nada.
Like any other screenwriting software it formats you screenplay properly while you write it. The only difference is – like in the “old” desktop version – celtx makes all you scene headlines grey. It needs a bit of getting used to if you ask me.
You can jump through the different format styles like in any other screenwriting software with TAB and ENTER. No surprises here.
You also get a revision mode if you want to colour your changes. The colours are preselected and you can choose between blue, pink, yellow, green, goldenrod, salmon and cherry.
Since it’s an online application you are able to share your screenplays with others. You enter an e-mail address and define if the person you are sharing with is a writer or a reader for your screenplay. “Reader” gives view-only permissions whereas “writer” also gives permission to edit the script.
It is also possible for two people to work on the same script simultaneously. But there is a caution: You may not both work at the end of the script at the same time, or within the same paragraph (dialogue, action line, …). If you do that and one hits the save-button the other person’s changes will be overwritten.
To see the script changes of your writing partner I had to reload the script (click on the “celtx” logo in the upper left corner and then select your screenplay project again). It didn’t update automatically. I don’t know if it would have updated if I had waited longer. Maybe I was impatient.
If you start a new project in celtx these are the formats you can choose from:
– AV Script
– Audio Play
– Comic Book
Choose between scene heading, action, character, dialogue, parenthetical, transition, shot, and text.
Gives you acts, scenes, stage direction, character, dialogue, parenthetical, transition, and text.
Pre-formatted paragraphs for: scene heading, shot, character, dialogue, and parenthetical.
Note: if you export or print an AV script it will be formatted in two columns whereas the edit view you write your script in is all in one flow.
You get formatting for scene headings, production notes, character, dialogue, parenthetical, sound, voice, and music.
Use formats for: page, panel, caption, character, balloon, balloon type.
Note: exporting or printing gives you a two-column view for “description” and “dialogue”.
This doesn’t give you any formatting except a “chapter” button that you can hit every time you need a new headline.
Choose between cast, dialogue, action, writers, and title and cast.
You can print and pdf your project. That’s pretty much it.
As mentioned, the writing part is free, but there are other features that you have to pay for on a monthly basis. You can also pay yearly with a little discount.
For $9.99 a month you get the writing part, plus free mobile apps, index cards, script revision history, storyboarding & shot-blocking, budgeting, scheduling & reports, scene breakdown, and a shot list.
$19.99 a month gives you the same as above plus in-session live support.
If you want to edit your screenplays offline you need the “Script for OS X” application, which has limited capabilities. You have no index cards or storyboard for instance. And it’s going to cost you. At the time of writing you get it from the Mac App Store for $19.99.
If you are satisfied with the writing part alone, celtx gives you an easy-to-use and free solution with all the elements you need. The online collaboration is really useful if that is something you want to do.
Would I recommend it?
Absolutely. If you’re looking for a free solution, go for it. It’s one of the best (if not THE best) around.
Are there drawbacks?
Absolutely. I for my part miss two things in particular.
– Writing offline without paying extra
– Exporting. You can only export to pdf, not to a text file or any other screenwriting software
What are your experiences with celtx? Do you use it? Have you used it?
I’m happy about your comments below…