FAQ on Celtx

March 2011


Celtx: Open Source Screenwriting Beginner's Guide

Celtx: Open Source Screenwriting Beginner's Guide

Write and market Hollywood-perfect movie scripts the free way!

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(For more resources on Celtx, see here.)

Q: What is Celtx?

A: Celtx developers describe this software package as "the world's first all-in-one media pre-production system." (http://celtx.com/overview. html) We are told that Celtx:

  1. Can be used for the complete production process
  2. Lets you write scripts, storyboard scenes, and sketch setups
  3. Develop characters, breakdown and tag elements
  4. Schedule productions plus generate useful reports

Celtx is powerful software yet simple to use. It can be used in writing the various types of scripts already mentioned, including everything independent film makers and media creators of all types need. This includes writing, planning, scheduling, and generating reports during the various stages of all sorts of productions. The following screenshot is an example of a Celtx report screen:

Q: What does the acronym, Celtx, stand for?

A: The name Celtx is an acronym for Crew, Equipment, Location, Talent, and XML.

Q: How far reaching is the impact of Celtx?

A: The Celtx website says that more than 500,000 media creators in 160 countries use Celtx in 33 different languages. Independent filmmakers and studio professionals, and students in over 1,800 universities and film schools have adopted Celtx for teaching and class work submission.

Celtx is supported by the Celtx community of volunteer developers and a Canadian company, Greyfirst Corp. in St. John's, Newfoundland.

A major reason Celtx can be an open source program is that it is built on non-proprietary standards, such as HTML and XML (basic web mark-up languages) and uses other open source programs (specifically Mozilla's engine, the same used in the Firefox browser) for basic operations.

Q: What sets Celtx apart from other free screenwriting software that is available?

A: An important concept of Celtx's power is that it's a client-server application. This means only part of Celtx is in that download installed on your computer. The rest is out there in the cloud (the latest buzz term for servers on the Internet). Cloud computing (using remote servers to do part of the work) allows Celtx to have much more sophisticated features, in formatting and collaboration especially, than is normally found in a relatively small free piece of software. It's rather awesome actually.

Celtx, by the way, has you covered for PC, Mac, all kinds of Linux, and even eeePC Netbooks.

Q: Does Celtx qualify as a web application?

A: Celtx is really a web application. We have the advantage of big computers on the web doing stuff for us instead of having to depend on the much more limited resources of our local machine. This also means that improvements in script formats (as final formatting is done out on the web somewhere for you) are yours even if you haven't updated your local software.

Q: Can we write movies with Celtx?

A: With Celtx we can outline and write an entertainment industry standard feature movie script, short film, or animation—all properly formatted and ready to market.

Q: Can we do other audio-visual projects with Celtx?

A: Celtx's integral Audio-Visual editor is perfect for documentaries, commercials, public service spots, video tutorials, slide shows, light shows, or just about any other combination of visual and other content (not just sound).

Q: Is Celtx equipped for audio plays and podcast?

A: Celtx's Audio Play editor makes writing radio or other audio plays a breeze. It's perfect also for radio commercials or spots, and absolutely more than perfect for podcasts. Podcasts are easy to write, require minimal knowledge to produce, and are a snap to put on the Internet.

        Read more about this book      

(For more resources on Celtx, see here.)

Q: How does Celtx aid in writing?

A: Celtx has all the features that aid in writing, such as the various editing formats, using the electronic index cards, templates, the typeset feature, and more ways. Celtx helps free you up to create, by taking a lot of the drudgery out. The index cards, for example (see the following screenshot), are great for plot notes, keeping track of characters, and so on:

Celtx also aids in writing comic books, graphic novels, comic strips, or any other mode of this widely popular method of storytelling.

Q: How does Celtx aid in visualizing productions ahead of time?

A: With Celtx we can use the built-in storyboarding techniques, attach media files (pictures to describe costumes for example, or an audio file showing how a bit of dialog should really sound), and all the other pre-production visualization techniques. Storyboarding lets us actually draw a representation of what the setup for a scene looks like (like the following scene setup)—a great aid in planning production:



Q: Does Celtx aid in organizing?

A: We can schedule production activities and generate reports based on your scripts using the scheduling features in Celtx. We also have the ability to move documents between projects, and create or add custom tools.

Q: How does Celtx improve the presentation?

A: In writing scripts, getting it in the industry standard format is critically important, especially if you're trying to sell scripts to producers or getting an agent interested in representing your work.

Celtx generates your finished scripts as a PDF file (automatically sending your script out on the web, converting it to PDF in the proper format for whichever type of project you are writing, and back to your computer very quickly indeed). We then have a nice finished product like the one shown in the following screenshot:

Scene heading, action, character names, dialog—Celtx puts it all in exactly the right format for you!


This article highlighted the important features og Celtx that set it apart from other Screenwriting free writing software like the client-server configuration which enables cloud computing without any need for upgradatiom of the clent upgragation.

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