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Maximizing Productivity With Scriptwriting and Pre-Production Software

Scriptwriting Software
Scriptwriting and Pre-Production Software

How you choose to run your video production is up to you. Some organizations embrace new technologies like scriptwriting software to provide their crew with tools like script editors for film and TV. Others may delay their investment in a modern scriptwriting or pre-production technology and maintain the status quo – if it isn’t broken, why fix it? Well, one good reason is to ensure that your crew’s productivity doesn’t end up on the cutting room floor! 

According to a recent poll, manual processes cost organizations more than a third of their productive output. Luckily, there are more options than ever before to streamline your pre-production using screenwriting software. But as we’ll discuss, not all options are made equal. 

To better understand the software landscape, and how it can help increase the efficiency of your video production, let’s start by reviewing a few definitions.

What is Scriptwriting Software?

At a basic level, scriptwriting software (or screenwriting software) is a word processor that is specifically designed for script formatting, and editing screenplays. However, even some of the best free scriptwriting software on the market will not necessarily provide functionality that you and your production team need to effectively carry out other phases of pre-production. 

Beyond supporting the editing and formatting of a script for film and TV, production managers need a way to digitize other phases of production to maximize productivity. This is where pre-production software (also called film production software, or film production management software) enters the picture.

What is Pre-Production Software?

Pre-production software provides tools that production managers and their creative teams require to plan and execute the video production process. It includes modules to support location scouting, equipment catalogs, management tools for cast and crew, and shot lists – all of which automate routine tasks to increase the efficiency of your production. While the features that you’ll find in scriptwriting and pre-production software aren’t mutually exclusive, it’s a good idea to ensure that you consider adopting a software solution that covers both bases. As an example, Celtx offers both scriptwriting and pre-production features in a single cloud-based application. It takes the concept of scriptwriting software further by integrating pre-production software features for a comprehensive solution from script to shoot.

Effectively Managing Video Production 

Production managers wear a lot of different hats, from planning production schedules to making sure a project is carried out within budget and delivered on time. As you consider how the adoption of scriptwriting and pre-production software can help reduce inefficiency, consider the big picture. 

How well you stand to improve efficiency of video content production through the adoption of technology will depend upon three factors: the software’s ability to support closer collaboration between the team, how tightly it integrates phases of production together, and the degree of control its reporting and administrative tools provide you with, as a production manager. 

Let’s examine the importance of each attribute found in a quality scriptwriting and pre-production application in greater detail.

Collaboration is Key

Filmmaking is a collaborative process. By fostering teamwork you instill trust in each member to rely on each other for specific tasks using their specialized skills. But challenges arise when teams use tools not specifically designed for pre-production environments. Tools like email, Slack, or Google Sheets, can often lead to miscommunication, lost time, and more costs.

Collaborative editing gives creatives the ability to work off the same script in real-time, even with remote crew members. So while it might not be the job of your screenwriter to prescribe the camera angles for an upcoming shoot, having a shared system in place has advantages. Now, the director, cinematographer, and screenwriter can work at the same time making it easy to edit, change, and revise creative decisions in real-time – all without slowing down production. 

Celtx, for example, offers a Shot List feature so your team can annotate scripts with camera shots. These features are then compiled into a daily shot list for the director and camera team on set.

One Platform to Rule Them All

It’s not uncommon for a production team to make use of multiple tools and applications to carry out their specific tasks in each phase of production. However, the caveat with ad hoc software adoption is that over time it can result in silos between one department and the next, because these applications don’t necessarily connect with each other. With a myriad of tools, it’s difficult for a production manager to obtain visibility into the production’s progress across each phase.

Adopting a comprehensive scriptwriting and pre-production software solution means that you can consolidate the tools needed to run your production through a centralized hub. A shorter technology stack is more affordable and manageable than using multiple applications to achieve the same production goals. But that’s just the beginning.

By replacing multiple applications with a single cloud-based scriptwriting and pre-production software solution, you remove silos that make one department’s work not fully accessible by your team or with external stakeholders to the production. The production bottlenecks that result from sharing inaccurate, outdated scripts and other documents become a thing of the past. 

Modern, cloud-based applications have become a standard model for scriptwriting and pre-production software by providing an added layer of security over your IP, and enabling your team to easily manage permission-based access to documents. As your production team expands, cloud applications are quite scalable, giving you the option to pay only for the features that you need at each stage of growth.

A Snapshot of Your Production Status

When shooting film and TV or other video projects, perspective is everything. The same is true when it comes to effective management of the pre-production process. In a busy and expansive video production environment, you’ll need reporting and administrative controls to stay on top of your production’s progress to prevent budget overruns. 

Scriptwriting and pre-production software can help you regain control by automating routine administrative tasks that would otherwise slow down your production. By pulling in critical information into view from across your departments, you can get a snapshot of your production and make adjustments as necessary.

Celtx, for example, enables you to easily oversee your production budget by linking the financial details about your production assets from your catalog to your budget – helping you to prevent budget overruns before they even happen. You can also easily manage production expenses, generate cost reports, and track actuals against estimates using industry-standard or specialized American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) budget templates.

In Summary

If you’re looking to control costs and stay within your video production budget, investing in scriptwriting and pre-production technology is an affordable and effective approach for video production studios or in-house teams. 

When evaluating lists of best screenwriting software, keep in mind that screenwriting is just the first step of your video pre-production process. Consider the importance of choosing an application that addresses not only functionality for your scriptwriters, but other phases of pre-production as well. 

A solution that fosters collaboration, integrates pre-production phase functionality, and provides administrative controls has the greatest potential to reduce costly inefficiencies. With the right software, even the smallest of creative teams can produce big wins.

See Scriptwriting And Pre-Production Software in Action

Celtx offers more than a typical scriptwriting and pre-production software. Whether you’re new to Celtx scriptwriting and pre-production software, or have already taken advantage of our free scriptwriting software trial, Celtx offers collaborative productivity software for creatives that can help you reduce inefficiencies in your production processes. 

Learn more about the features of scriptwriting and pre-production software today.


  • Matthew Melay is a technology enthusiast and contributing writer for Celtx. His articles cover transformative technologies for film & TV and interactive media industries, including script writing, media production, and narrative design software.

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