Scriptwriting Tool Excitement

Yes, I named this post in case surfers searched for "tool excitement". All hits are good hits.

But tiptoeing swiftly to the point, I'm rather excited about Scripped. I first read about it in Shooting People's Screenwriters' Network e-bulletin, which in turn was alerted to it by the wonderfully omnipresent Robin Kelly, who also blogged about it here.

Scripped allows you to write scripts on any computer, by logging in with your username and password. While you may feel slight unease at the idea of your scripts being hosted online, the Scripped folk assure us that it's perfectly secure and backed-up. And you can easily export the script as a pdf. You can also import existing Final Draft or Microsoft Word scripts.

It just strikes me as an incredibly useful idea, especially when you're travelling about or, ahem, on an office machine. Script-collaboration will be well-served too, I'd imagine. Earlier, I wrote a sample scene and loved the simplicity of it all. It's at Beta stage, so there are bound to be problems, but what's new?

Thoughts? Anyone used it? Issues? And what do we make of Zhura, which I haven't test-run yet? It seems to offer a similar service, but also feels less welcoming...


Lucy said...

Hello hunnybunch, I see you returned without greeting your blog wife, damn your hide.

Don't use Scripped or any other online tool... Not because I don't see how useful they are but I need an excuse to NOT write and "I don't have my laptop or work with me" is the perfect one.

Jason Arnopp said...

What can I say, blog-wife? I am a bad man. But you knew that when we blog-wed.

See, I feel the burning need to spend the rest of this year writing like a demon. I'm considering having a laptop welded to my forearms.

Oli said...

I've used Zhura, and it's super handy. I don't go in for any of Zoetrope esque public aspects, but as a tool it works just fine. Very handy, as I can write during my lunch break at work without having to trudge my laptop in.

One note of caution; exporting back to Final Draft takes a little bit of work as it doesn't deal well with multiple paragraphs of description, not that that should come up to often.

Incidentally, I had this same idea a few years ago, started programming it, and abandoned it, thinking nobody would ever use it. I am, in short, a twat.

Jason Arnopp said...

Oli: So do you prefer Zhura to Scripped?

Oli said...

Haven't tried Scripped yet, so shall give a test drive today and let you know.

Jason Arnopp said...

Thank you, sir. Would be especially good to compare things like export options.

Oli said...

And the winner is... Zhura.

Dull as dishwater to look at, Scripped has it hands down in the style factor, but when it comes to features Zhura comes out on top.

It has a 'smart type' feature similar to Final Draft which automatically remembers and suggests character and location names, feels more natural when typing, and can export to text as well as PDF, which is handy if you need to take it back to Final Draft.

Pains in Zhura? It's ugly, thinks every time you hit save counts as a 'revision', and the title page resets to the the default every time you reload. Import function works better though.

Ultimately, I don't see me swapping over full time from Final Draft to either of these, but I shall be using Zhura as a handy tool frequently. I'd be happy to use Scripped if they had a better feature set.

Also, I've only had a very quick dash about it, so if Scripped has all the features I've said it's missing, discount this review and send their lawyers my way.

Jason Arnopp said...

Lord Jeffery, I thank you for this report. Interesting stuff.

Jason Arnopp said...

Hmmm. Just had a go on Zhura. I didn't like the way I seemingly had to fill in the 'Idea' information before starting the script. Or the way it didn't let me use the handy 'Tab' key to scroll through script elements.

But these are no doubt things that will be ironed out, following feedback. I'm sure Scripped will allow text export some time soon, for instance. These two will be like VHS and Betamax, Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. But the best thing is, choosing between them isn't a big, stressful choice: they're both free. Splendid.

William Gallagher said...

I'm still wary - but chiefly because my internet connection wobbles a lot. Otherwise, the idea of being able to start something here in my office, carry on with it on my iPhone and then pick it up on a PC at Radio Times is appealing.

And I would like to see how these work with collaboration; file-locking and such forth as much as the usability of it all. But I doubt I'll ever co-write, so.

Interesting that Google is working on a half-online, half-not version of Google Docs, though: I wonder if they're responding to issues they've found or to luddites like me with Sky Broadband?

Good luck with the writing frenzy, too; may it prove fantastically successful,

Oli said...

Oh, yeah, I had forgotten about that. That is a bit rubbish. Perhaps we can convince the two of them to combine and give us the best of both worlds, like a screenwriting Voltron.

Elver said...

Er. What about Celtx? It's online as well, you can collaborate and write from anywhere with an internet collection and I've been using it for over a year. PLUS it offers the ability to save to hard drive instead of online.


Have signed up for Scripped, haven't used it properly yet, but it seemed ok when I did a quick try out. At the mo' I use my pc and save to stick andd hard drive.


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