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Celtx: Powerful Free App for Script Writing, Pre-Production, and Collaboration

celtx - Integrated Media Pre-Production

QPR - CryingStore - "Cold Tulips" by merlinmann (Celtx - Project Central)

I've recently returned to using the Open Source (MPL-based CePL license) Celtx app for all the script-ish stuff I write. But it does a lot more than just collect and format drafts (which, unlike a text file or MS Word, Celtx does in a way that lets you focus solely on writing, rather than fiddly formatting). It's also an amazingly flexible and robust app for managing all the pre-production materials for screenplays, comics, audio plays, or what have you. And, again: it's totally free.

Celtx reminds me favorably of Scrivener, in that it takes into account that there may be much more to a very large writing project than just typing; that your final draft only serves as the jumping-off point for another, more giant thing that you will need to make out of all your words.

To this end, you can choose to let Celtx handle as little or as much of the process as you need — anything from storyboarding and conceptualization through shooting schedules, prop management -- even animal handling! (Memo to self: write more things that require animal handling.)

One neat feature I've just barely started playing with is the app's ability to seamlessly share versioned drafts of your script via Celtx's web-based Project Central. Looks like you can flip a bit to make it public v. private v. members-only. And, I still haven't touched the coolest online feature of all, which allows you to solicit criticism and notes from other users and even collaborate with colleagues, co-writers, and production staff -- kinda like "SVN for Screenplays," I'll dub it, in a way that will probably infuriate everyone who uses either of those.

Anyhow, here's the script for my recent public radio "CryingStore" parody as an example. Powerful app, and very flexible and fun to use. And at $200+ less than the commercial gorilla, FinalDraft, it's most definitely worth the free-as-in-everything download.

Celtx - FREE - Open Source - Application for Script Writing and "Integrated Media Pre-Production"

Celtx Links:

About Merlin

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Merlin Mann is an independent writer, speaker, and broadcaster. He’s best known for being the guy who created the website you’re reading right now. He lives in San Francisco, does lots of public speaking, and helps make cool things like You Look Nice Today, Back to Work, and Kung Fu Grippe. Also? He’s writing this book, he lives with this face, he suffers from this hair, he answers these questions, and he’s had this life. So far.

Merlin’s favorite thing he’s written in the past few years is an essay entitled, “Cranking.”




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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