A few weeks ago, I wrote about screenwriting applications for Linux. Celtx was one of the applications reviewed in the article. I had not planned on writing about Celtx again so soon, but the latest release merits it.
Celtx, now at version 0.995, has been enhanced with index cards, dual dialogue, typesetting controls, greater stage play capabilities, an audio-visual editor, project templates, new splash screen quick-start options, snapshots (a type of versioning), and several more features. I will concentrate on the features that directly assists in the process of screenwriting. Let’s delve in…
Perhaps the best feature is the addition of index cards. Many writers use index cards to map out scenes. The information on the index cards can contain as much or as little detail as the author needs to remind himself or herself of the scene’s setting, characters and action.
In Celtx, the index cards are titled with the scene headings and populate the scene headings of the script. As you are writing the script, if you decide to insert a new scene on the fly, then an index card gets created in the background to match the new scene’s heading. You can also reorder your scenes by dragging and dropping the index cards into a different order. Plot lines can also be color coded to help keep track of the driving scenes in the script’s plot and subplots. If you need the portability of physical index cards, then print them. Celtx will print to Avery index card stock or on plain paper or card stock with the outline of the index cards to allow for them to be cut apart.
If you are using Celtx for screenwriting, the index card feature is likely to become your best friend. I have written over 90 pages of a screenplay in Celtx and have been carrying around a stack of index cards held together with a rubberband. I opened the screenplay and clicked on the “Index Card” subtab to see that Celtx had already populated the scene headings on each card. Now it is up to me to type in the specifics of each scene.
The dual dialogue feature allows you to highlight the characters and dialogue that you want displayed as dual dialogue. You then click on an icon to finish the process. Dual dialogue allows you to represent two (or more) people talking simultaneously within the script. The format places dual dialogue side by side.
Celtx accomplishes this by using typesetting controls to pass additional information to the LaTeX backend on the Celtx server that generates the PDF of a script.
The developers also addressed another user request by adding a versioning feature called Snapshots. What versioning allows is saving your screenplay at different stages in its development. This comes in handy when rewriting or overhauling your script. Say you do not like the rewrite, then you can revert to the version you desire. The Snapshots feature also helps when collaborating on a script.
It’s not quite a wrap…
At version 0.995, Celtx is already a blockbuster. It will leave you anxiously anticipating the sequel. When Celtx reaches version 1.0, it will have many server-side features. As it is already, it is a very productive application that will help any aspiring or established screenwriter or filmmaker. If you are of the aspiring category, then you may find Screenwriting.info helpful in explaining screenplay formating.