Category Archives: Screenwriting

Announcing WriterDuet Premium!

WriterDuet Premium is the ultimate package for your fully integrated screenwriting experience. In addition to all of the amazing features of WriterDuet Pro–limitless collaboration, mobility and revision tracking supported by powerful security and analysis–Premium benefits include these awesome enhancements and plugins:


Premium Support
With a direct line to WriterDuet’s development team, your questions, thoughts and ideas will be heard and dealt with as quickly as possible.

AutoTranslate
Translate your script into any language in a matter of seconds,
and then edit each script separately to perfect it. View as separate scripts or side-by-side.

ReadThrough
Bring your script to life by sharing it with voice actors, or by listening instantly with text-to-speech performance from a full cast of computer voices.

MultiColumn
Compose audio and video in side-by-side chronology, write scenes in parallel, or even write in our Virtual Reality template!

Subscribe to Premium here for the full power of all things WD.

And then get back to writing 😉

Sincerely,
The WriterDuet Team

P.S. If you’re more interested in our standalone plugins, each is also available for separate purchase. Just click on their links to learn more.

Austin Film Festival 2016

The WD team had a blast at this year’s Austin Film Festival. We shared some of our best and newest features, introduced WriterDuet Premium (coming November 1st!), flirted about some upcoming concepts, and most importantly, we spread the word about the world’s greatest screenwriting software through good conversation, good looks, and tee shirts (let us know if you want one)!

THE TAKEAWAY

While the panels were profound and diverse, there was a common message within them. From sitcom writers to professors to directors, all advice about developing tone, networking, or finding success fell back into a familiar central theme: work hard, and all else will follow.

But what does it mean to work hard? Here is what we perceived:

1. Write constantly
Literally don’t stop, unless it’s a question of health. Especially don’t stop writing when the going gets tough–nor when the tough gets going–because that’s when you are improving most rapidly.

2. Read constantly
Somehow, you should also read scripts constantly. Multiple very successful writers, such as Paul Feig, Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber, and Christina Hodson were script-readers early in their careers. Luckily, you can find innumerable high-quality scripts online and follow in their footsteps immediately. Here is a great article to start. Beyond scripts, there is magic to be summoned from myriad books, short stories, and plays.

3. Don’t get distracted
Put WD in Full Screen mode and leave your phone in the bathroom (unless you write on your phone, or in the bathroom). It is important to inspire yourself and build an education from sources like Screencraft and the Scriptnotes podcast; however, only do this as a supplement to the act of doing a whole lot of writing. For more tips on that, see #1.

The whole team is a lot smarter after this year’s Austin Film Festival, and unbelievably inspired. More than anything, our takeaway this year is the clear truth that WriterDuet is the right choice for writers around the world. The best way to spread the word: Just. Keep. Writing.

Because passion is contagious. Like whooping cough!

Sincerely,
The WriterDuet Team

WriterDuet reports

Unlike other screenwriting programs, WriterDuet Pro’s new report system shows and lets you edit specific parts of a script. For example:

When you’re cleaning up a draft, it’s often important that your characters speak consistently throughout the script. WriterDuet’s dialogue report lets you pick any character(s) to view, edit, and print/PDF just their dialogue. Or if you want to review only the scenes wither certain characters in them, same thing: it’ll show you those scenes and hide everything else. (That’s how you generate actor sides, by the way.)

Another report the other guys seem to be missing is one that prints script notes inline with the rest of your script. Final Draft lets you print just the notes, but without context that seems useless.

Another report WriterDuet offers is the ability to view & edit just the script’s non-dialogue (e.g. Action), plus a Shot list for when you’re writing a production draft. And the most entertaining report of all: WriterDuet’s time lapse feature lets you watch your script get written from start to finish, with custom colors for each writer.

WriterDuet reports are a great way to review and edit portions of your script, as well as sit back and watch the work you’ve done fly by.

WriterDuet is better than Final Draft

I know the title sounds like hubris, so I want to start by giving my competitor some credit: Final Draft has historically been very valuable to the world of screenwriting. I used Celtx for a couple years (sigh), and upgrading to Final Draft was a relief. It was the best… back then.

But it seems to me like the people behind Final Draft thought they’d “solved” screenwriting software some years ago, and basically stopped improving it. Four years after Final Draft 8, I believe version 9 was an extremely minor update. And they’re missing incredibly valuable features writers want.

WriterDuet does almost everything* Final Draft does, and so much more. Below is a list of the top ways WriterDuet is better than Final Draft, in my opinion/knowledge. You probably won’t care about every single one, but virtually all screenwriters can benefit from a lot of them.

  • Formatting. Here we’re basically identical, but I should mention it first since so many others fail here. WriterDuet’s default page count will be exactly the same as Final Draft’s in the vast majority of cases. We have the same default line lengths and split action, dialogue, etc. across pages virtually identically to FD.
  1. Real-time collaboration. Any number of writers can video/audio/text chat, outline, and write simultaneously. Conversation-style notes help you discuss lines with writers/readers.
  2. Infinite revision tracking. View changes by date, writer, tagged revisions, tracked edits, and individual lines. Asterisks for printing/PDF, plus you can see the exact added/removed text, and can revert lines to previous versions. Mark/unmark changes, retroactively mark revisions by date/time/writer, track multiple revisions at once, put revision information in headers/footers, lock pages, and much more. You can even search the infinite revision history to find a line you deleted, and the full script as it was at the time that line existed!
  3. Price. Even WriterDuet’s free version does everything most people need to write screenplays in industry-standard format. And our Pro version is significantly less expensive than Final Draft, and include future updates at no additional cost!
  4. Ease of use. WriterDuet is consistently described as intuitive and seamless. A plethora of shortcuts and mouseover instructions guide the simple interface, and subtle features make the core task of writing more fluid. WriterDuet is meticulously fine-tuned.
  5. Compatibility. WriterDuet imports & exports Final Draft, Celtx, Fountain, and PDF files. It even imports/exports notes from the first 3 file types, and is by far the best program at converting PDFs into editable screenplay format.
  6. Cross-platform. WriterDuet works on Mac, Windows, Linux, Chromebooks, iOS, and Android. It gives identical page counts on all devices, and PDFs.
  7. Pasting from other sources. WriterDuet lets you copy text written in Fountain, or other screenwriting programs (Final Draft, Celtx, etc.) and paste it directly into WriterDuet with the correct formatting most of the time (impossible to be perfect).
  8. An amazing outliner. WriterDuet’s outliner lets you organize scene cards into acts and sequences, add (multiple) colors, tag characters (with optional colors/icons to identify them), set emoticons on each scene, and resize/reorder cards. All real-time collaborative.
  9. View & edit specific portions. Select characters to view & edit only their dialogue within the script, or just the scenes they’re in. Select the non-dialogue report to view & edit Action, etc. or the Shots report for a production-shortened version.
  10. Unicode support. Write in Chinese, Cyrillic, Hindi, etc.
  11. Distraction-free full-screen mode. Full-screen works across platforms and is script-centric by default, helping you focus on writing. You can customize other items to be displayed, and make the normal view distraction-free as well.
  12. 2 or 3-wide scripts. View prior pages to the left, and pages after to the right. Scroll these pages independently to look up/down without changing the position you’re editing, or scroll them together to read 3x as much.
  13. Grammar checking. WriterDuet will tell you when you likely screwed up it’s vs. its, your vs. you’re, affect vs. effect, etc., along with its regular spell checker. Available in many different languages.
  14. Automatic backups. WriterDuet instantly saves your changes online, so no lost work in the event of a power outage or crash. There are auto-save options for Dropbox and Google Drive, plus your computer, to complement WriterDuet’s cloud storage.
  15. Format checking. Finds 9 (optional) common problems in scripts, including typo’d character names, missing character/dialogue lines, () in dialogue, similarly named characters, action lines greater than 4 lines, extra spacing, etc.
  16. Script shortening. Finds orphaned words wrapping onto the next line, lines which can be shortened by removing a few letters, and places where it can cheat a margin to save lines. All with customizable thresholds.
  17. Hide scenes you’re not working on. Select a scene or range of scenes, and all others disappear from your view.
  18. Editable dual dialogue. To edit dual dialogue in Final Draft you must convert it back to sequential dialogue, make your change, then go back to the first character’s name (not their dialogue) and convert it to dual again. With WriterDuet, just edit and move on.
  19. Notes in PDF report. Put notes inline with the rest of the script, including customizable colors (by type and writer) and content (name & time).
  20. Typewriter mode. Keep your cursor vertically centered, so your eyes don’t have to follow the cursor up/down while you write and scroll. A speed-reading trick, for speed-writing.
  21. Screen mirroring. Automatically follow a partner or reviewer’s position in the script.
  22. Embedded multimedia. Directly link in images, audio/video files, YouTube videos, and SoundCloud audio on individual script lines. They’re hidden by default, with an icon to expand in the margin.
  23. Music player. Many genres preloaded, no need to switch programs or tabs to get your tunes.
  24. Dictation. Using Google technology to add words by sound and context, speak your lines with voice commands to move to the next line and set its type.
  25. Time-lapse viewer. Watch a sped-up version of your script being written, with custom colors for each writer. You can also select any section of the script (or the entire thing) to look back in time and export a prior version.

And I’m just listing the big ones, there are plenty more. You certainly don’t have to use every feature to be an effective writer, but any of these could save you minutes, hours, days, or even weeks. And when you add them all together, along with all the features WriterDuet has in common with Final Draft, you’re left with one thing:

A superior product, at jut over half the cost.

The world of screenwriting software has changed. Final Draft is still the industry standard, but that’s largely because of inertia, not because they have the best product.

So if you’re looking for software to improve your screenwriting process, I highly recommend you try WriterDuet: the next industry standard.

 


*There are a few things I know of which Final Draft does better than WriterDuet, and there may be others. Please let me know, so I can add them! There used to be more missing features in WriterDuet, but I constantly add features as routine (free) updates, so that list is shrinking. Here are two kind of important ones where they still have the edge:

  1. Additional templates. WriterDuet only has screenplay, half hour sitcom, and stageplay. Final Draft has dozens more, and I’ll likely add to my list in the future. But because WriterDuet has customizable margins and line formatting, you can make what you want. And we import the Final Draft template files, if you have them handy.

Why I created WriterDuet

Once upon a time, there was no good way to collaborate with your screenwriting partners. Several screenwriting programs advertised collaboration, but they were extremely limited. I wanted something that let any number of people seamlessly write at any time, instantly seeing each other’s changes.

It took me a few months to build a simple beta, and that’s when I realized there was a bigger opportunity. Plenty of things had annoyed me about existing screenwriting software, and I set out to do things right. I wanted to create the best screenwriting program ever.

I designed WriterDuet to be intuitive and powerful, so it would be loved by professionals and first-timers alike. I made sure it could do almost everything (important) that the main competitor did, including matching their default line lengths and page breaking, and I added dozens of features that they don’t do. These features range from ground-breaking (real-time collaboration) to time-saving (automatic infinite revision tracking) to super-convenient (importing/exporting Final Draft, Celtx, Fountain, and PDF files). All fit in with the overarching mission of WriterDuet: to make the process of screenwriting simpler and more enjoyable.

And to give credit where credit’s due, what’s made this possible is the immense amount of feedback I’ve received from writers, for which I am extremely grateful. WriterDuet is developed by a writer, for writers, with input from writers.

I think you’ll love WriterDuet, and please e-mail me (guy@writerduet.com) if you have questions or suggestions!