Want to learn the art of writing a screenplay? Check out Trelby, open source screenwriting software you can try right now if you’re a Linux or Windows user.
Whether you’re an aspiring writer or a planning on becoming a YouTube star, knowing how to write a script is an essential skill. It’s possible, of course, to write a screenplay using Microsoft Word, but using software built for screenplays saves a lot of time. Formatting for screenplays is very specific, so why waste time imitating it? It will just frustrate you, distracting you from your writing.
Screenwriting software can be expensive, however: Final Draft, an industry standard, costs $249. This isn’t a problem for established writers, of course, but is a significant sum if you’re waiting tables while also waiting for your big break.
Don’t resort to piracy. Trelby is completely open source, meaning you can download it and start writing right now, free of charge. It works on Windows and Linux computers, and a Mac version could be released soon. Even better: it’s easy to use, and works great. It even supports Final Draft files, to a certain degree.
Like most screenwriting software, Trelby is about one thing: writing. The software may seem confusing at first, especially if you’ve never used screenplay software, so check out the Trelby getting started guide. It will outline a few concepts, which I’ll get into briefly.
Basically, you start writing. You can use the Tab and Enter keys to change the kind of copy you’re writing, or “elements”.
Different elements of a script, such as action, dialogue, character names and parentheticals, are automatically detected based on where you are in the script. You can see what element the current line is, and which keys to press to change that, at the top-right of the screen.
Play around with this and you’ll get the hang of it. If you plan on writing screenplays regularly it will all become second nature, but you will need to know the basics of screenplay writing to really take advantage of this software. Be sure to read the Trelby manual to learn even more, or check out this site to learn the basics of writing a good screenplay.
Need a distraction-free environment? Switch to fullscreen mode.
Thinking of printing your masterpiece and sending it to Spielberg? Don’t forget to make a titlepage first.
Just so you know: Neither I nor MakeUseOf are responsible if Spielberg doesn’t write back to you. You should have sent the script to someone more powerful.
Want to try this out and get started writing your screenplay? Head to the Trelby download page. You’ll find .deb packages for Ubuntu and Debian users, source code for other Linux users and an installer for Windows users. Sorry Mac users: there’s currently no Mac version to download, though there might be soon – Trelby is looking for volunteers to make a port.
I’m not an expert when it comes to writing screenplays, but I plan on using this software for upcoming YouTube-related projects. I’ll let you guys know if any of them turn out well.
Will you be using Trelby? Let me know in the comments below, along with links to your cinematic masterpieces.