Friday, February 17, 2012

Celtx forever

Hello peeps. It's been a while since my last major onslaught in this here locale.

As you may, or may not, know I write scripts using Celtx. It's a lovely bit of kit, and free. It's been around for years and is looked after by a friendly bunch of Canadians (is that a tautology?) so is totally solid as a product.

But I'm not trying to sell you Celtx. Well, perhaps I am because I can't see why anyone would want to spend any money on a screenwriting program when they don't have to.

Except there was a reason - but it's just been eliminated.

There was one, and only one, reason to use Final Draft to my mind, and that was if I was suddenly recognised as a great scriptwriter and had to work with organisations too hide-bound and bureaucratic to think that they could use anything else, I'd have to switch.

Because there's no practical way of converting from Celtx to FD and back again.

Or, at least there wasn't.

Enter, stage right, John August screenwriter and tech-savvy person with clout in the industry.

Last week he launched Fountain. All Fountain is is a way of writing scripts using just a text processor (you could use NotePad on Windows). You have to follow a certain style but if you do then it can be understood by another computer program and converted into a PDF or FDX (Final Draft's latest format).

I thought this was jolly good. Though I'd still prefer to use something that formats on screen.

But this week John released the killer Highland which is an application that can convert between FDX, Fountain and PDFs. Yup. John has an application that can take a PDF and turn them into Fountain, and from Fountain you can go to FDX (or PDF).

Which means I no longer need to think about changing to FD.

All that's needed now is for the Celtx team to modify their text importer to recognise Fountain and we're set.

Some people are bound to whine about potential script theft being made easier. Well John does have something to say about that in the blog. I'm not going to discuss it since I agree with him completely.

But what it means for me is that I can go on using Celtx forever.

And that makes me happy.

What's on the turntable? Unfortunately nothing but recently I have mostly been listening to Nathalie Nordnes.