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A FLICK CHICK: Screenwriting Resources - Update Your Toolbox by Using the RIGHT Tools

Paula Landry gives tips to update your screenwriting resources by adding the right tools, programs and apps to increase your productivity and turbo charge your work.

Paula Landry, MBA, is a writer/producer and consultant helping writers create strategies for INSPIRation, MOTIVATion & ACTivation to excel, improve storytelling, fusing business & creativity. Landry creates media business plans, marketing plans, movie budgets, coaching artists and teaching film business classes at NYU, SVA, Wagner College and MCNY. She’s co-authored This Business of FILM; and Sell Your Screenplay; and is the author of Scheduling and Budgeting Your Film. Connect via LinkedIn, @paulalandry on Twitter, email: or Facebook #filmdreamers #mediaentrepreneurs #aflickchick

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How do you know is you are you using the right tools? Sometimes we use one tool for everything (confession, I have used a screwdriver as a hammer, and it is not the same). In writing, we often use just one tool for everything. Perhaps a different program could help us outline our screenplay, or visualize our script, then we could write it in another program. Therefore, it is a good idea to update your toolbox by trying new screenwriting resources.

Screenwriting Resources that put the Cart Before The Horse

First of all, do your current screenwriting resources put the cart before the horse, or after it? While some writers have a process; a writing routine, while others work in a random fashion, it is a good idea to identify and define which you do, so you know what you may need.

Mixing Up Your Routine so it’s Less of a Routine

Therefore, if we collaborate, maybe we take notes in a writing app, then transcribe or re-work them in our cloud-based program where our collaboration takes place. Ultimately, I’m suggesting you take a look at your tools, try some new ones to get a new perspective. Here is a Sample of a Screenwriting Process.

  1. Notes, drawing
  2. Outline, mindmap
  3. Create and Structure story more thoroughly
  4. Develop characters
  5. Notate key scenes
  6. Write treatment
  7. Write first draft of screenplay

Is it possible that you are putting the cart before the horse by jumping from idea right into your screenwriting program, rather than using an intermittent step. This additional step might include a different program, app, or process to help you improve your material. Suggestions include outlining, drawing, note taking, or the creation of a mind map. As a result, try to think about that before you get started with a new screenwriting resource. Either way, try something new, the effectiveness of a new tool may surprise you.

I listed several new tools and additional screenwriting resources in a recent post. Here is a new bunch. The point is to shake up the routine. While the purpose of utilizing a new program may be to work faster, you might discover that you work deeper, or more intuitively, or differently..

Be Bold, Try New Things, like new screenwriting resources

MORE New Screenwriting Tools and Programs

Movie Magic Screenwriter: Screenwriting software with a variety of views such as outlining, notes and panels, and page count reduction tools. Designed to integrate with the Movie Magic production software.

Montage and Contour Screenwriting Software: Montage is a screenwriting software with formatting and outlining tools as well as a query and synopsis feature. There is also a distraction-free mode to help focus. Partner software includes the mobile screenwriting program Contour for tablets and phones; and a character development software, Persona.

StoryO: Screenwriting software compatible with the Jungle Software scheduling and budget products, StoryO offers outlining, timeline, character creation tools, an index card and visualization function for pitching. Exports to several formats.

WriterDuet: Real time writer collaboration software in and off the cloud, multiple outlining tools, easy pdf import. Imports/exports multiple formats, offers infinite revision tracking, encryption, Google Drive and Dropbox backup, script statistics and reports.

Trelby: A free screenwriting program with multiple views, name database, multiple reports, comparison tools. Imports and exports to a variety of formats.

Slugline: A Mac-based app for screenwriting, contains outlining tools based on Fountain screenplay format. Infers formatting and can copy/paste into the program for automatic formatting.

Scrivener: Screenwriting and novel writing software to outline, structure, research, write with a project management function. Tools include the ability to easily restore earlier version, keep reference materials visible, and collaboration tools.

Save the Cat: Screenwriting and structuring software for Window/Mac based on screenwriter and author Blake Synder’s method. Program helps writers develop logline, title and genre, and hit story beats. Multiple views, fonts and color coding for editing.

Afterwriting: A web-based screenwriting software to write, edit, and preview and convert scripts.

Storyist: Mac-based novel and screenwriting app for use on computers, smartphones and tablets, offering plot, characters, and settings tools.

MyScreenplays (Amazon) Non-linear film screenwriting software for Android mobile devices. Import/export multiple formats, edit non-linearly, offers treatment editor, auto-formatting functions. Cloud-based google docs integration.

As you incorporate a new tool into your process, think about organization, so your work does not get derailed.

Organize your workflow


Once you decide to dabble some of these new apps and software, be sure to organize your work flow so that you know several things:

  • Where your latest draft lives
  • How you can back up your work
  • What the process is so you don’t lose information
  • Is there a specific order to your workflow

In conclusion, it's important to note, no matter which screenwriting resources you try, or do not try - that whatever you are doing, it's right! Most of all, that you're writing is right - just feel free to stand on your head and shake up your method by trying new programs.

Free Giveaway

Thanks to everyone who entered the free contests, it was overwhelming! I am now writing coverage on a wonderful drama and spec-ing out a budget for a TV pilot, good times and fun projects and look forward to collaborating with more of you!

This week, the free give-away consists of marketing components for your project – send me your synopsis and I’ll give you 3 comps (comparable films) and 3 versions of a logline to find out which is the best pitching approach. It’s a lottery from the first 20 people to respond a week from this blog posting date. Can’t wait to read your work!

Thanks for stopping by - remember:
Today is your day. now is your moment.
Rock your writing, Paula

Final Draft 10 is here!