Out with the old, in with the… Trelby?
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
When I got out of high school nine years ago and decided to make movies, I was clueless. I knew I needed some software to format a script, but couldn’t afford anything, much less find one that would run on my Windows 98 laptop. I did some poking and found a Macro Template for Microsoft Word called “Drama Dog”. Being free (remember when things were free?) I grew rather fond of it quickly. After writing countless shorts and my first feature (“Wulf”) in it, I decided It was high time to upgrade four years later. During my time with Drama Dog, I experimented off and on with Celtx, but didn’t understand that you needed to “typeset” the script before you could print it, so I kept going back to Drama Dog. When I did decided to upgrade for real, I went for the “industry standard” (if there is such a thing), Final Draft. I wrote two screenplays in Final Draft (“Wulf II: The Feeding Continues” “Cryptid”) and kept looking over at Celtx. The more I looked, the more I understood and eventually I abandoned Final Draft because I wanted the scheduling features of Celtx. By then I understood “typeset” and was willing to put up with it because the benefits of Celtx were great. It was free, regularly update, and available of Mac, PC and Linux, so it didn’t matter what computer I owned, I was set.
I wrote three movies in Celtx- “Leap”, “Leap: Rise of the Beast” and “Derek”. While a Celtx user, I predominately used Linux, and got to watch a small unknown piece of software go through many upgrades. I was one of the first to purchase their writers pack add-ons that gave you fullscreen mode and the ability to change colors of your writing environment. I figured I was a Celtx user for life and started writing “Leap: Revelation” in it.
You know that saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side”? Well, recently my grass was starting to look a little brown. How I wished I could get an accurate page count in Celtx. I also missed the simpler interface of Final Draft. But I’m a filmmaker first, writer second. I need the features that Celtx has. Today, I started poking around on Google looking for “Ubuntu Screenwriting Software”. Wouldn’t you know it? A name popped up I’ve never heard before: Trelby
On their site, I was instantly drawn to the clean interface. It reminded me so much of Final Draft. Even more exciting was when I saw that it was available for free (remember when things were free?) for PC/Linux AND it could import Celtx scripts! I downloaded the .deb package and installed. Trelby has a wonderfully small footprint of only 2.2 MB gotta love that. First thing I did was import my half completed Celtx script for Leap: Revelation. Not a single issue with the import. Just find your .celtx file and hit OK.
Once my script was up, I started poking around the settings. I saw I could change my interface colors (I prefer writing with a black background and baby blue text), so that was nice. I also noticed right away that I had a true and accurate page count right inside the software! Next I decided to write once scene to try it out. The keyboard shortcuts were mostly the same as my beloved Celtx, there was only one or two differences, which are easy to adapt to. Celtx was starting to look a little browner. Seeing that this software was strictly for writing, I knew I’d have to be able to get my script back into Celtx somehow.
I’m not a fan of importing in Celtx, things usually get screwed up and you spend a few hours re-formatting everything. Under the “Edit” menu in Trelby, I found a copy option that said it preserved formatting, so I clicked it. Back in Celtx, I pasted it and EVERYTHING transferred over perfectly! The cleaner interface of Trelby with proper count and formatting has won my heart. And the ease of integration with Celtx means I can still handle my pre-pro business on a Linux laptop. For the Mac users out there, sorry, but Trelby isn’t currently available on your system, but they are working on it. When it does come out, I highly suggest you look into it. It’s so clean, so fast, so perfect.
If I have one feature suggestion though, it’s this- A scene list that can be brought up and allows you to move scenes around when you’re reworking a story. Oh, and I’d like to be able to zoom out a bit of my page while I’m writing too. View it at closer to real size.
Turns out all you have to do in order to “zoom out” is pick a smaller display font size. I found 10 works great for me. Changing the size shrinks the pages with it, essentially just zooming out. Since writing this, I’ve also installed the Final Draft Courier font, so it’s as close to a free Final Draft as I can get =)
For more information, visit trelby.org