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Celtx Edge – Review

July 4, 2012

In my last post, I reviewed Celtx Free, the fully in-the-cloud script composition and editing tool (usable for novels and comic books as well).

In summarizing the post, I suggested that Celtx Free worked very well for casual scriptwriters and novice novelists, in addition to users prevented from doing any kind of software installs (which is fairly typical in governmental, educational, institutional and corporate environments).

Implied was that more experienced or entrepreneurial users might still prefer using a locally installed desktop client or mobile app.

The “Premium Cloud” – Celtx Edge

That divide becomes a little less clear-cut once we factor in Celtx Edge, Celtx’s new “premium cloud service for script & novel writing and media pre-production.”

“Premium” means “subscription,” of course — and the question is whether you’ll discover value in the subscription. But to find that out, go to (or establish) your celtx.com account, where you’ll see a selectable button encouraging you to try Celtx Edge free for 30 days (so what do you have to lose?). And only you can decide if the features justify the modest monthly cost.

Features

Here is a summary of the additional compositional elements so far added in Edge:

  • Storyboard viewing in your browser
  • Dual Dialog for script writing (see Figure 1)
  • Double-spacing for novel writing
  • Indent support for novel writing
  • Better print support for novel writing
  • Ability to customize font and background colors for script or novel writing (see Figure 1) (Note that script and novel writers really shouldn’t customize font and background colors when submitting professionally)
  • Zoom text (50%-200%) for script or novel writing (see Figure 1)

    Celtx Edge Editing Screen

    Figure 1 – Celtx Edge Editing Screen

Edge Project File Navigation Menu

Figure 2 – Project File Navigation Menu in Edge

In addition, Celtx Edge allows the user to upload and view all pre-production library items created in desktop Celtx: storyboards, catalogs, sketches, schedules, bookmarks and story development forms. Celtx Edge makes it easy to manage project files via a Google Docs-like navigation menu (see Figure 2) as well as sorting project files by name, type or date, and by displaying them in either a list or grid view (see Figure 3).

Edge sorting options

Figure 3 – Sorting and layout option buttons in Edge

Edge subscribers can share project files with up to 20 other users, and also maintain buddy lists for chat purposes. Personal storage space is also increased from Celtx Free’s 2Gb to 5Gb.

Figure 4 (click to magnify) shows the contents of a sample folder in Celtx Edge, where you can see a storyboard, shot list, SFX list and other materials:

Celtx Edge Folder Contents

Figure 4 – a sample folder in Celtx Edge

Would it make sense for a producer or project manager to subscribe to Celtx Edge, while other project participants stick with Celtx Free? I think very possibly, although if storyboard or schedule collaboration is needed, then multiple project participants may need the monthly Edge subscription.

A comparative checklist of Celtx Free and Celtx Edge features can be found here.

If you’ve been using Celtx Studios, you’ll need to migrate to Celtx Edge sooner rather than later. Legacy studios will be accessible through the end of the year, but Celtx Edge is the new cloud-based project management system for new users (see Figure 2), and it’s clear Celtx would like to close out its legacy studios (one can only imagine how much new code base has been developed for Celtx Free and Celtx Edge).

Users can subscribe to Celtx Edge on an as-needed basis, e.g., you’re working on a project for 2 months requiring Edge features with a team, then abandon the subscription until the next time you need Edge project management.

Note that all your data (storyboards, schedules, etc.) will remain within your account, regardless of whether you’re a Free or Edge user. But total “in the cloud” access to your pre-production workflow will require the Edge subscription.

The Bottom Line

It’s really too early to fully evaluate Celtx Edge and its value to a user. Will the reports we take for granted in desktop Celtx become available in Celtx Edge? Will navigation and search tools become even more robust? What new features will be released?

As both a working screenwriter and as a college professor, I see pros and cons to the fully in-the-cloud solution, and every user has to weigh his or her own needs and requirements.

This Fall, I’ll be working with Celtx Free (and probably Celtx Edge) in the classroom, and as the tools proceed to evolve, this Mastering Celtx book blog will continue to comment on the entirety of the Celtx-verse.

As already noted, this fully in-the-cloud solution is ideal for anyone prevented from doing software installations in their home or workplace, or anyone sharing a computer (or mobile device) with others.

For users who are frequently (or even infrequently) without Internet access, the new cloud services are probably not the direction you want to head in — and for professional users, it’ll be intriguing to hear if you can commit fully to an in-the-cloud preproduction system.

Kudos to Celtx for continuing to think way beyond the 20th-century digital solutions that Final Draft and Movie Magic Screenwriter offered (which were still tied to paper delivery methods and to the more industrial media-making model of the last century) — and if you’ve got observations or further thoughts to add in the Comments section of this post, please do!

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12 Comments
  1. I can currently save everything to my own drive. Will that continue to be the case with Celtx Edge

    • As Edge currently stands, you can do this but in a slightly inelegant way. You’d have to open your Celtx script file using desktop Celtx, then save to your local drive. (Note that there are no indications that desktop Celtx will be going away.)

      My guess is that a download or export option will be added to Edge, similar to what Google Docs has. In Google Docs, I can work in the cloud but can always download to a local drive.

  2. D.K. Parnell permalink

    The inability to do script breakdowns in Celtx Edge is a stumbling block for my team being able to collaborate on the final stages of the script and pre-production for our film. We’ll have to go back to the desktop version and then save the master file into Dropbox.

    • No argument from me. As I return to teaching undergraduate screenwriting this Fall, I believe we’ll still be relying on the desktop version of Celtx — certainly in the arena of script breakdowns. For Celtx Edge to fully succeed, it’ll need to become at least as robust as desktop Celtx is in generating and managing breakdowns. I suspect that’s the longterm plan!

      • D.K. Parnell permalink

        Looks like they’re leaning toward a Google Docs type of commenting system with Celtx Edge also, which would be great. It’s not there yet though. I’m looking forward to what Celtx comes up with I definitely think they’re headed in the right direction.

      • Agreed, and as media professionals it’s both challenging and frustrating to be on the bleeding edge of evolving technology solutions.

  3. I really appreciate this resource. I also teach an undergraduate screenwriting class and can really see the potential in that forum – the biggest stumbling block I see at the moment is that (am I missing something here?) you cam make a comment on the document but you can’t specify which portion of the document you are referring to or navigate from one comment to the next to speed the review process. It’s also odd that the most recent comments are on top vs. following the narrative order of the comments…you read from beginning to end but the notes seem to be posted from the end to the beginning – in the order of post vs. script order….

    • No question the commenting feature is still pretty rudimentary in Celtx Free and Celtx Edge; it requires embedding a thorough breadcrumb trail so you can track what each comment refers to.

      Currently, I think any significant annotating needs to be done in desktop Celtx. The annotator can then save to Celtx, and the writer (who has shared the script) can then save the file to desktop Celtx to review the comments.

      It is, admittedly, a little clunky … and your comment here prompts me to test this back&forth between desktop and cloud Celtx a little further to see if any glitches arise… Stay tuned for results!

  4. Andy Idris permalink

    Thank u for welcoming comments for thoughts which makes it easier for me to ask something which might be discussed somewhere here which I have yet to discover. I’ ve been working on creating websites with wordpress templates and now have come across plugins. I am creating a portfolio website of scripts and although I have yet to try the simple cut and paste method to publish scripts through wordpress, im wondering and currently searching for a celtx plugin for wordpress. May I seek ur expertise with regards to this? Or probably a solution to getting a script in its original format with minimal re-formatting to be published on a website? Thank u for ur thoughts.

    • Probably a better question for Celtx’s Tumbler blog (celtx.tumblr.com), but here’re my quick comments:

      • Celtx is probably too specialized for WordPress to develop a plug-in; I can’t see that happening in the foreseeable future.
      • Celtx can export a script to HTML (pull down the Script menu, and choose Export). You can then paste the HTML file directly into a post or page. You might need to massage the HTML slightly, but this should preserve standard script formatting.
      • An alternate solution is to export to text, then bracket with TT HTML tags — but this is inelegant and semantically incorrect for HTML.

      Good luck!

      • andyidris permalink

        Thank you so much for the prompt response. Your words of advise will save me valuable time. I will try the suggested methods and will update here on latest development. Many Thanks.

  5. Celtx is really awesome and i use it on most of my productions 😉

    For really fast storyboard and animatic creation I high recommend checking out Action Pro

    http://www.Action-Pro.tv

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