Celtx update 0.9.7

In February I wrote about Celtx, an open-source screenwriting and pre-production application for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux. A new version (0.9.7) has just been released, and it appears to be a winner. In my February notes, I was critical of the application’s lack of “more”/”continued” support; that’s been added. I also had problems importing scripts originally written in Final Draft. So far, this seems to work like a charm. These improvements, though, appear to be just the beginning.

You can read about the revisions here. Or you can watch a video about the changes here. Taken together, all of the changes, additions, and fixes make this a major upgrade.

If I do have a quibble it’s that I think that Celtx’s developers are premature in calling Celtx “a new platform for the Pre-Production of Media.” At the moment the application has neither a stripboarding, nor a budgeting, feature.

Until it has these things applications like EP Scheduling and Budgeting, Company Move, and even Gorilla will maintain their dominance over Celtx as pre-production applications.

Maybe that’s okay. Personally, instead of seeing Celtx’s developers add on feature after feature to the application, I would prefer to see a kind of “sequel” to Celtx for pre-production, which would integrate seamlessly with Celtx’s development ideas and script tools.

From a software development standpoint this could help keep the application from becoming bloated (as often happens) and it could allow the applications develop at their own pace. (As a point of comparison, Firefox and Thunderbird work much better as stand-alone apps than the so-called “Mozilla suite” does. At least that’s been my experience on a Macintosh.)

Anyway, this is all speculative and/or wishful thinking. Celtx is not even at its 1.0 release, and the bottom line is that it excels at providing a one-stop dumping ground for all of the ideas, notes, and documents associated with a film, up to and including the screenplay. I look forward to seeing where its developers take it next.

One Response to “Celtx update 0.9.7”

  1. Mark Says:

    Hi Paul

    Thanks for the review. We really appreciate it.

    I agree with many of your comments here, including the one about calling Celtx a ‘Platform’.. I guess we’re using ‘Platform’ in the same sense as ‘System’ or ‘Integrated Environment’.

    In the end though it really doesn’t matter what we call it, since any ‘Platform’ or ‘System’ or ‘Environment’ isn’t a ‘Platform’ or ‘System’ or ’Environment’ unless and until enough people adopt it to make it so.

    We think Celtx can become the System people use to complete the pre-production of a film etc. based on the fact that 1. it uses open standards 2. it provides the means for people to easily share data 3. it allows any sort of document to be added to the project and 4. it supplies many of the pieces missing in the current pre-pro environment (what, props people or art directors don’t also use computers?)

    We are also unaware of any other application used in the film business that is as international in scope (16 languages, 90 countries). For instance, this past week, about 20% of our new registered users are from France. We have thousands of users in Italy and Germany and Belgium. And Australia and New Zealand. And Canada. But the good old U. S. of A. is still number one ;)

    Be all that as it may, at this point in our development we think it makes more sense to provide the means for people to easily share their existing Budgeting and Scheduling files as part of a Celtx Project, as opposed to requiring them to use an entirely new application to create their schedules and budgets. Storyboards are another matter ;)

    The collaboration features are about to also undergo a major change to allow for asynchronous sharing of project data. We’ve already completed the plumbing for this capability, just a matter of developing a sensible interface for people. It should be in the next version (098).

    In the meantime, we’re working hard to squash a couple of stubborn bugs so we can officially release the 097 build. Looks like this week.

    Thanks again.

    Mark