Tuesday, July 1, 2008

CeltX 1.0

I've recently started scripting the pilot episode to an animated project I've been wanting to do for a few months now. In the past, I've used Final Draft or Montage for my screenwriting. Both are great programs, but I'm one of those guys who has a hard as hell time just opening up a blank screen and hitting the keys.

Enter CeltX, a free open-source screenwriting program that also handles a lot of preproduction paperwork. (It had me at Hello.) Not only can you write your script on this thing, CeltX will also:

  • Keep info on attached cast & crew
  • Breakdown your scripts
  • Keep a list of needed props, effects, sets, locations, music, etc.
  • Provide shoot scheduling features
  • Create call sheets
  • Let you put together a full storyboard
  • Reformat your script to AV style and back
  • Collaborate with others via the web

Since I'm writing my pilot episode right now, I'm digging the development features that CeltX provides. For every character, you can use a contained form for description and motivations of the character. If you have an actor already cast for the role, you can link up that actor's information. For every scene, there's a provided section where you detail the nature and conflict of the scene as well as the opposing characters' wants and plans to achieve that want.

For the screenwriter that likes to use the Index Card method of plotting the story, CeltX lets you organize your scenes with virtual index cards. You can name the scene and add a description on one side, and on the reverse you can have the slug line with the first few lines of the scene. You can also drag and drop the index cards around to change the scene order and CeltX will update your script to match. Awesome!

One thing I'd like to see on future releases is the ability to import/export your script for other screenwriting programs. The best you can do right now is exporting as either a PDF or a text file.

Finally, as a nice touch, you can add different media files for whatever reason. In my current project, I included a short mp3 that I thought set the mood of the piece. Who knows, it could be used for the theme.

Did I mention that CeltX is totally free? Download it at CeltX.com.

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