Software Won’t Make a Difference

There are plenty of fine screenwriting word processors on the market such as Final Draft and Fade In Professional. While these programs can make the process of writing a screenplay easier, you still have to know how to use them properly.

Look at any construction site and you’ll see a variety of different tools. If you don’t know how to use each tool properly, they won’t do you a bit of good. The same holds true with any screenwriting or story organizing software. The best screenwriter can write a great screenplay using a pencil and a notepad than someone with a top of the line computer running the latest copy of screenwriting software.

So before you start investing in screenwriting or story organizing software, stop for a moment and make sure you focus on learning the basics of screenwriting and story telling first. To do this, you can use an ordinary word processor.

In Hollywood, nobody reads screenplays. Instead, they read treatments, which are summaries of the story that often includes actual dialogue to give readers a feel for the tone of the story. If people are intrigued by the treatment, then they’ll ask to read the actual screenplay.

Reading a 120-page screenplay is tedious and time-consuming. Reading a treatment that may be a dozen pages is much quicker. If you can tell your story in paragraph form, chances are good the technical process of writing a screenplay will be trivial. If you can’t tell your story in an intriguing and interesting manner in paragraph form, no amount of screenwriting software will help you.

So start with the basic idea and flesh that out into a complete story. Rewriting and rethinking a treatment is far easier than rewriting a screenplay because the less you write, the easier it is to edit or dump it altogether if necessary. Focus on treatments rather than screenplays initially. When you can tell a compelling story as text, then you’ll be ready to transfer your ideas to a screenplay and that’s where software can help.

Software is a tool to get you to an end, but if you don’t know what that end is, then all the best software in the world won’t help you. Save your money. Start by telling your story in paragraph form and refine that story until other people find it interesting. When total strangers like your story, then you’ll know it’s ready to be turned into an actual script.

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