Script Studio is a writing app that best suits professional screenplay and teleplay writers (script is in its name, after all), but you can also use it to compose novels and other works. Script Studio’s standout feature is its inclusion of popular movie scripts you can use as models for your own creations. The app has a decent set of features for helping you draft, plot, organize, and write your works too, but top-rated competitors simply offer more capabilities, including collaboration tools, mobile apps, and a beat board.
Our Editors’ Choice winners in this category are Final Draft for professional screenwriters, Scrivener for cross-platform use (and particularly for writing long-form works, such as non-fiction books and novels), and Ulysses for a more minimalist experience on macOS devices.
Script Studio is an app for Windows and macOS with tools for creating screenplays and other written works.
How Much Does Script Studio Cost?
Script Studio charges a one-time fee of $199.95. You buy the software once and then own it indefinitely. That price gets you all minor updates to the app, but if you want major point release upgrades every few years, you must to pay an additional fee each time (currently, the upgrade cost for registered users is less than the product’s full cost). You can try out a demo version of Script Studio for free, but that version has major restrictions—you can’t export or print your work, for example.
One Script Studio license is good for two installations on Windows or macOS computers. The software is virtually identical on both operating systems. If you ever need to transfer the license to a new computer, just make sure you deactivate the program on your old machine before trying to activate the license somewhere else. Script Studio lacks mobile apps.
How Do Script Studio’s Prices Compare?
Script Studio’s $199.95 price is on the high end if you compare it with most other writing software, but among scriptwriting apps, it’s about average. Fade In ($79.95) is the cheapest option in this subcategory. Final Draft ($249) is much more expensive, though you can sometimes get it at a discount. Celtx—which we haven’t reviewed—charges $180 per year and requires you to you buy a minimum of 10 licenses.
If you compare Script Studio with writing apps that support more types of writing, such as novels, graphic novels, and nonfiction books, the price is high. Those apps typically cost around $50–$60 or $50–$60 per year when sold as a subscription. A few examples are Scrivener ($49), Ulysses ($49.99 per year), Storyist ($59.99), and Novelize ($65 per year).
Distraction-free writing apps are usually inexpensive (anywhere between $10 and $30 each) because they include fewer features by design. iA Writer ($29.99) and Byword ($10.99) are two examples. Those apps are better for short-form blog posts, memos, and articles rather than lengthy manuscripts or screenplays.
Like other screenwriting software, Script Studio suggests names of characters before lines of dialogue to keep them consistent and help you manage your writing.
The Script Studio Experience
Script Studio’s design is attractive and professional, with a clear interface—you’ll find helpful features and resources throughout. The app offers a Night Mode option, as well as a Custom Mode that lets you mix and match elements from the Day (the default light-themed interface) and Night Modes.
The writing window sits at the center and every edge is used for menus or navigation. A menu bar lives at the top, right where you expect it. A collapsible left-hand rail lets you move quickly between your script, the title page, reference material, and other pages. A collapsible right-hand rail contains a library-like view of your scenes. Click on a scene to jump to it or drag and drop it to change its order. Along the bottom are a few tools, including those for zooming in and out and applying the right formatting to dialogue, action, character names, and other page elements.
When you start a new file, you can designate the type of work you intend to write: document, musical, novel, screenplay, stage play, or TV script. Studio presents the appropriate writing tools based on your selection. You can also skip this panel and simply start with a blank slate if you prefer.
Script Studio’s Writing Features
Some of Script Studio’s core features work fine, but aren’t very slick. For example, there’s an autocomplete option (most screenwriting apps include something similar) that guesses whether your next line should be formatted for action, a character name, dialogue, and so on. In competing software like Final Draft and Fade In, the autocomplete is fast and reasonably accurate.
When I tested Script Studio’s autocomplete feature, I found that it was slow and defaulted to action most of the time. The tool also took a long time to pull up suggested character names when it didn’t guess the right one the first time around. If you want to manually change the type of line you’re writing and how it’s formatted, the selection tool is at the bottom of the window rather than at the top or in right-click menu, where I expected it to be.
Whenever you want to see statistics about your work, such as word count and time on project, you can pull up a detailed table. The app does not, however, let you set a daily writing goal and track whether you meet it consistently. Most other apps have this capability.
One unique feature in Script Studio is being able to chart the ups and downs of emotions, such as tension and comedy, throughout your writing.
A bonus with Script Studio is that it includes a Reference Library with resources based on professional works, including Die Hard, Good Will Hunting, and There’s Something About Mary. It’s helpful to look at these samples not just for pointers on formatting, but also to get an idea of what works and sells. Note that the samples are not the full scripts, but rather scene-by-scene outlines and analyses, along with some other data.
Additionally, the app has a screenwriting glossary for assistance. Say someone gives you a note about your story’s MacGuffin. Rather than turn to the internet for help, where you might get sucked down a rabbit hole, you can stay in Script Studio and pull up the definition from the glossary.
The Name Wizard tool generates names based on sex, initials, meaning, and heritage. Scene Cards let you map out a story on virtual index cards, as screenwriters and novel writers often tend to do.
One unique feature in Script Studio is called FeelFactor. It’s a series of charts where you estimate the strength of a feeling, such as tension, conflict, and romance. The idea is that you drag color-coded bars that correspond to emotions or actions to show how much of each you want to see in a given scene. For example, you wouldn’t want too many high-action scenes back-to-back or too much tension without conflict or comedy to break it up. I can’t say I completely understand how you check the final writing against your intentions, but the tools are there if you find them helpful. You can also open a split view to compare your script’s changing levels of emotion to that of a released feature film from Script Studio’s bank of resources.
Script Studio has a dark mode, as well as tools for keeping detailed notes about your characters.
File and Saving Options
You can import the following file types: Final Draft (the industry standard), Fountain Markdown, PDF, RTF, and TXT. Script Studio can also open Movie Outline, Movie Outline Reference File, Movie Outline Structure Template, Script It!, and Script Studio files. Script Studio can export to Final Draft, Fountain Markdown, HTML, PDF, RTF, Scheduling Format, Script Studio Reference File, and TXT formats.
By default, Script Studio saves versions of your work locally, but you can change the save location in the Preferences. You can also configure the Auto-Save feature to run as frequently as every five minutes. That’s good but not great compared with cloud-based apps that save your work automatically with every keystroke. If you stick with the default save location, you can find your files by going to Documents/My Documents > Script Studio Documents > Projects. In the Script Studio Documents folder, there’s another important subfolder called Backups, which houses older versions of your files, should you need to restore one.
What’s Missing in Script Studio?
Script Studio lacks collaboration features, so co-authoring and editing aren’t possible. Final Draft, Fade In, and WriterDuet all let you co-author and edit documents with others in real time.
Another feature in Final Draft that you don’t get from Script Studio is a beat board. In Final Draft, you can write out your beats and view them in a little timeline above your script, noting approximately where they should occur. For example, if you want to make sure there’s a plot twist by page 25, you can do that and see a reminder at the top of your window while you’re writing. Script Studio doesn’t have anything like that, though it does give you scene cards for mapping out and rearranging your scenes.
Script Studio’s lack of mobile apps means you can’t make notes or edit your work whenever an idea strikes you. Many of the other writing apps I’ve tested have at least an iOS app.
One other strange limitation with Script Studio is that you can’t have multiple works open simultaneously. So, if you’re adapting a novel into a screenplay, need to reference Part One of a movie while writing Part Two, or want to have two versions of your script open and save them independently, you can’t. You’d need to open one of your files in another app.
Great Resources, Few Bonus Features
Script Studio is a mostly compelling writing app for professional screenwriters. The app’s interface impresses, and we like its many unique resources. However, Script Studio lacks a few features you might expect, such as collaboration tools, a beat board, and the ability to set writing goals. It simply doesn’t work as smoothly as Final Draft, either.
Our Editors’ Choice-winning writing apps remain Scrivener for long-form writing, Ulysses for a more pared-down experience, and Final Draft for screenwriting.
The Bottom Line
If you write screenplays, teleplays, or novels, you should consider Script Studio. This writing app offers sample screenplays to help you structure your work plus some genuinely unique features, but it doesn’t support collaboration and can’t track your writing goals.