Here are some apps that provide useful ways to collaborate online on writing scripts for anything from short promotional corporate videos to full-length motion pictures. Sure, there are many ways to accomplish this task, such as sharing a document using Google Docs or Zoho Write, but these three apps focus specifically on the task of writing scripts, along with the formatting that requires. They each include the ability to invite other writers to join your project and maintain a centralized copy of the material for each contributor to view and update.
Adobe Labs is currently featuring Adobe Story in preview mode, which means you can create an account and start using it for free (for now, anyway). You can create projects that can include as many scripts as you want. These projects can also include charactor biographies and links to external resources, like blogs or relevant web sites. The user interface is slick and rather intuitive. There’s also an Adobe AIR desktop app (of course) that conveniently allows you and all collaborators to work in offline mode, synchronizing all changes whenever you’re connected again.
Here’s the home page for a fictitious project I’ve created called “The Revenge of The Blog,” which is basically a remake of the classic campy horror film “The Blob.” There’s also a character biography page for Robert Scoble, who will reprise the Steve McQueen role from the original movie (I said it was fictitious!)
Plotbot is a web-based script-writing app that also allows you to collaborate with other writers. The good news is that the web app functions very well just like a desktop app, and automatically formats the scripts as you write it — you just have to come up with the ideas. It’s pretty good at determining what you’re trying to type, such as a scene heading or character dialogue.
There are also some handy tools, such as the notebook area where you can track thoughts and information about the story as well as a forum area to brainstorm with others. You can upload a screenplay if you already have one available. Plotbot is free.
Celtx is a little different than the other apps in this collection. It covers a far wider variety of scripts for more types of projects besides film, such as scripts for video, documentary, theatre, comics, advertising, video games, music video, radio, podcasts, videocasts, and much more. It provide a free desktop application that you can download and install, but collaborating with others via the online service (called Celtx Studio) is not free. It provides collaboration for up to five users for only about $5 per month, which isn’t bad.
The Celtx app offers the most features that I’ve seen in this type of tool. Not only can you add dialogue to scripts, it has other functionality such as a sketch tool to draw objects, a catalog to track all props and objects, index cards to arrange scenes and a cool storyboarding tool. Check out Sam’s post on the app for a full review.
So there you go, three different ways to collaborate with others on scripts, whether it’s for an entertainment project such as a movie or a corporate instructional video. These apps make it extremely easy to maintain all related information and help save you time and effort with the medium’s formatting, so you and your team can focus on the creative aspect of writing.
What tools do you use for collaborating with others on scripts?
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