Screenplay writing

I’ve seen Scrivener mentioned on several lists as viable screenplay software. I’m taking a screenwriting course soon and wondering how Scrivener fares among others, such as Final Draft, Fade-In, Celtx, and others.
I’ve been very happy with Scrivener 3 for Windows and really haven’t time to learn new software in addition to new writing formats.
Can someone offer some advice?
Thanks in advance.

Hi JimC49. In the Scrivener 3 manual, Chapter 19 discusses using Scrivener for scriptwriting.

You might also check the forum for other scriptwriting posts to see other users’ suggestions.

If you search the forum, please keep in mind that Scrivener 3 for Windows was released in March 2021, so older Windows posts are about Scrivener 1.

Also, some of the macOS posts might be useful to review for general tips.

Finally, Scrivener is designed for the early stages of researching and writing your script. You might find you need to compile to a format that can be used with Final Draft or another industry-standard program to ensure that your formatting all matches the requirements correctly.

Thank-you, RuthS. I appreciate your input.

I have done some research on available formatting software packages and Final Draft always comes in a the head of the list of respected possible choices. While Scrivener can export to Final Draft, Final Draft cannot import Scrivener files, but Fade-In does (for less money). Not that I have written anything more than a collection of unrelated scenes for several different projects, they represent a significant investment in time.

The comparisons between Fade-In and Final Draft are very close - depending on the reviewer’s natural bias. It appears I still have more research to do. Meanwhile, I’ll be reviewing my up-till-now short story creations for possible homework submission in Screenplay formatting.

There is still time before classes convene. Perhaps the instructor will offer some suggestions as he is a professional TV screenwriter.

I have worked with Final Draft and Fade In.

Fade In is mroe than up to the task.

Thanks for your welcomed input. As a wannabe writer, I’d like to hit the ground running and not have to have a lot of false starts with either equipment or software. I’d like to be an informed consumer of the right tools and not waste time with retraining on either. I just want to tell my stories.

In light of things, I’ve tried Scrivener’s Screenplay option and have found it perfectly adequate for my upcoming screenwriting course. It’s easier to use than I imagined although sans the bells and whistles of other software. I didn’t realize what a bargain Scrivener really is.

That said, I’ve decided that when the situation warrants more inclusive solutions, I’ll be using Fade-In, partially on your recommendation and a plethora of pro/con YouTube videos on the subject.

Thanks for helping me decide. I never realized the marketplace could be so crowded for such a highly specialized tool.

Good luck with your writing.

Scrivener can compile your script or play to .fdx, which is Final Draft’s file type. It can also compile your manuscript to .fountain, which is a Markdown-based screenplay format.

§23.5.1 in the manual has a bit more information on the compile formats available to you.

Thank-you, RuthS. After our discussion yesterday, reading the manual (should have been my Step 1), and a few more YouTube videos, I’ve learned that these types of conversions become necessary only it one shares his work with a collaborator. I’ve also learned that people interested in looking at a script prefer either printed pages or a .pdf - neither of which have tell-tale appearances of being crafted in any type of software.

I’m satisfied as a solo writer and not part of a team, per se, that for the purposes of my class, I’m sure Scrivener will perform satisfactorily for that need. After paying tuition, this gives me the additional bonus that I don’t have to buy any new software at this time.

I’ve resurrected a couple of short story ideas and am converting them to short screenplays in Scrivener as practice for my class. The only thing that I see missing is that the Scene Numbers - usually displayed near the right-hand margin, are missing. I’ve searched, but I don’t think that it’s an option in Scrivener. So I’ve gone back and added a number before each Scene Header manually.

I’m so happy to have this forum available. Thank-you.


I still have not decided, as with anything, opinions vary widely. I’m taking input from various places.

Sorry, at a slight tangent, but might be helpful to the OP.

I started writing a UK stage play in Scrivener, but trying to export it out to UK stage play in either WriterDuet or FadeIn Pro was a mess (via pdf, fdx, fountain etc.)
Also, I found that Scrivener didn’t handle the dialogue continuation across page breaks cleanly.
The upshot is I’m using writerduet for stage plays now because you can use it for free, and scrivener for other writing.


Thanks for your input and timely advice. I’ve used Scrivener for only one short (25 minute) screenplay experiment. As this was my first experience, I thought the formatting looked clean. I used the page skip to begin each scene on a new page, but I never noticed the dialogue continuation situation. I shall check my script.

I don’t mind paying for the best software I think I need, but there are as many opinions as there are writers.

Additionally, I have yet to decide on the Mac vs. Windows PC hardware issue. Which is the best tool for the job? I’m using Windows now - as I have for many years. I’ve heard that many writers use MacBook computers, but many of the old issues between them have been overcome in recent years.

One never knows which reviewers slant their reviews toward a participating sponsor. Obviously, one can over-pay for unneeded software features, but I’ve often found, the more we use it, the more uses we can find for the extra features provided.

As a complete neophyte of the realm, I want to make a good beginning and be able to communicate with others on the same page.

I certainly appreciate your input and thank you for it. It’s early in the research process and a buying decision is pending. There are always budgetary constraints, but I can skip dinner out a few times for the software I want or need. When I believe my work is marketable, I want it to appear as professional as possible. I’m sure any excuse to deny a script is at the forefront of a producer’s mind.

I wish you more success in your stagecraft. I would love to see some of your work on stage.

Thanks again.

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