If you write screenplays with a writing partner, you have most likely run into the difficulties of collaborating on the same screenplay in real-time in a screenwriting application. This is something that the industry standard Final Draft has never done well.
So a little less than a year ago, we here at No Film School were excited to share a post about WriterDuet, an online collaborative screenwriting app that lets multiple users edit a screenplay online in real-time, plus video chat simultaneously and outline their scripts intuitively with virtual notecards among many other things -- all for free. But what if you want to go offline and write solo on that same collaborative script without an internet connection? Sure, you can export and import that script every time, but that's laborious. Guy Goldstein, creator of WriterDuet, has been working on a desktop version to solve this problem, plus adding many new cool features based on user feedback. In fact, Guy doesn't want WriterDuet to be just your collaborative screenwriting app. He wants WriterDuet to be your one-and-only screenwriting app. Now, for a one-time price of $45 (all future updates included), you can get WriterDuet Pro to keep writing that collaborative screenplay offline and much, much more.
With the introduction of WriterDuet Pro, screenwriters that use WriterDuet can now transition seamlessly from online to offline mode. WriterDuet's code and your screenplays are cached so you can continue to write without an internet connection. WriterDuet syncs automatically the next time you go online. The offline mode of WriterDuet Pro is supported on Mac, Windows, Linux, and Chromebooks, and the application works with Chrome (recommended), Firefox, and IE 10+ browsers.
Additional features of WriterDuet Pro that differentiate it from the free online version of WriterDuet include the abilities to:
- save screenplays to your hard drive
- automatically backup scripts to Dropbox, Google Drive, or your browser file system (Chrome only)
- use tools to find ways to shorten script, check for errors, and analyze your script
- customize margins for page height, screenplay element, or a specific line
- use Typewriter mode to center cursor vertically on the screen — for speed writers who don’t like to follow their cursor down the screen as they type
- protect PDFs with watermarking, passwords, text to image conversion, printing/copying prevention, and invisible tagging
- drop pins to move quickly to specific sections of your script, plus easily cycle through pins to jump to specific script locations as you write
If you have used Final Draft for years as your main screenwriting application (like I have because it was the only thing available way, way back), you know the company has not been very responsive with version updates. And, every update comes with the added fee to move to the next version. Final Draft is still operating in the old software development model, and their prices and sluggish development cycle times reflect the old ways of making software. For production purposes, Final Draft has some great tools for revisions, reporting, and exporting to other production tools. But Final Draft's biggest advantage right now is inertia among screenwriters who already use their software. With responsive developers like Guy working to make better screenwriting apps available for free or reasonable prices and moving more nimbly than Final Draft, the next wave of screenwriters won't bother with the so-called industry standard.
To underscore this point, Guy has come up with 25 reasons why WriterDuet is better than Final Draft. I should note these are Guy's reasons, not mine, but I certainly agree with many of them, especially these particular reasons that really stand out for me:
- Real-time collaboration: This is the whole reason why Guy created WriterDuet in the first place. The ability to have multiple users edit a screenplay in real time using an application designed to write screenplays (not merely Google Docs) is something that makes common sense -- and something I haven't seen done well in any other screenwriting app.
- Ease of use: WriterDuet uses several intuitive icons, each of which has mouseover instructions to help you get familiar with the application
- Grammar checking: This may not sound like a big deal, but you do not want to submit a screenplay to an agent, manager or producer to have them discover that you erroneously used "it's" instead of "its" and "your" instead of "you're". Plus, grammar checking is available in multiple languages.
- Script shortening: This is genius. WriterDuet has a tool that finds orphaned words sitting by themselves on a line, lines that can be shortened if a few letters are removed, and lines where a small, individual line margin cheat will save a line break.
- Automatic backups to cloud storage: Beyond saving your script in WriterDuet's cloud storage, WriterDuet Pro allows you to schedule automatic backups to Dropbox, Google Drive and your own computer hard drive
- Undo find/replace globally: Thankfully, I have not run into this yet in Final Draft, but apparently once you launch a find and replace throughout an entire Final Draft screenplay, the only way to undo it is to undo every single instance of the find/replace manually. Yikes! WriterDuet Pro will undo that find/replace globally.
- Embedded multimedia: As someone who has linked to songs in a playlist, this is a feature I like and hope will expand. WriterDuet Pro lets you embed links to images, YouTube videos and Soundcloud pages to augment the reader's experience as you tell your story on the page.
- Grooveshark music player embedded in application: Once you start writing, you usually don't want to leave an app for fear of losing momentum or getting distracted. If you like to write with music playing in the background, WriterDuet Pro has Grooveshark embedded in the app along with some pre-programmed channels for your music needs without ever leaving the app.
You can still use the online-only version of WriterDuet for free. If you like what you get with WriterDuet online and want to take advantage of WriterDuet Pro's expanded offerings, including the ability to continue working on your screenplay offline, you can purchase access to the desktop app for $45.
What do you think about collaborative screenwriting app WriterDuet Pro's new features? Is this the new screenwriting app you have been looking for?
Check this out on NoFilmSchool.com