The CeltX screenwriting app disappeared from the CeltX website long ago, as they’ve been pushing their users towards their cloud-based service, which is paid, but has a free option.
Now, I know exactly three rich screenwriters. The rest I know are scraping by, and living, as how Louis CK described documentary filmmakers at the recent Oscar telecast, “in their shitty apartments.” So when it comes down to “How much can I spend on screenwriting software?” the answer for most screenwriters goes a little something like this:
“What’s the best of the cheapest or free screenwriting software?”
The answer to that question can come in many colors, depending on who you ask, but one particular screenwriting suite that was the savior of many a wealth-challenged screenwriter within the last decade was the aforementioned CeltX, a desktop app/suite that, as I mentioned, has recently gone the way of the “cloud,” phasing out their desktop/downloadable/installable version.
CeltX has been called “a flexible “full-fledged preproduction software package,” and includes writing templates for film, tv, and virtually any other format you can think of. As a piece of desktop software, it spanned the gap between new screenwriters having to use clunky Microsoft Word templates or forking over $250+ for Final Draft or a similar “big name” screenwriting program.
When they stopped developing and supporting the desktop versions, as well as ceased offering them for download (and, indeed, insisting the same of many third-party download sites that once offered the software for download), there was a fairly large outcry from a contingent of CeltX users who really loathed the idea of shifting all of their screenwriting to the cloud. And their loathing was for good reason. In April of last year, cloud-based screenwriting solution Scripped shut down after experiencing a huge technical error which resulted in the loss of its servers, its backup servers, and all of its users’ screenplays.
The event sealed the deal for many screenwriters who were on the fence about entrusting their screenplays, and the hours, weeks, and sometimes years of work they put into them – to the nebulous, relatively new “cloud” concept. I couldn’t blame them. Even with a strong background in computer technology and having been around in web development since the very first websites, I wasn’t too keen myself on trusting the web to keep my screenplays safe.
So when CeltX flipped the switch for good – as they put it “concluded development, support and distribution of the Celtx desktop software, add-ons, and Celtx Plus” – there were a lot of folks left in the cold.
Yet most screenwriters’ alternatives remained the same:
(a) Pay the big software boys some money for one of the big “pro” screenwriting apps, or
(b) Pay CeltX or similar to use their cloud-based screenwriting app (or sign up for a severely crippled free cloud-based version).
Sure, a third way existed: trying out Slugline, or FadeIn, or Trelby, or one of the many less-publicized, less-marketed screenwriting apps out there. But all of those apps, no matter how well-made or well-supported, seemed to find themselves competing for “oxygen” when it came to market share. As a result, many screenwriters still don’t know about them.
I run a script coverage company, and I’m a screenwriter. So it’s paramount that I own, and am fluent in, all of the available screenwriting apps, because I need to be able to open and edit screenplay files of all varieties and flavors. And while I believe that not every screenwriter needs to have every bell and whistle available across the panoply of available script software, I also firmly believe that no screenwriter should ever have to write a screenplay using Microsoft Word or a Microsoft Word template.
Diving into a screenplay with Microsoft Word, no matter how great the template, has always been, at least for me, a hair-pulling, teeth-grinding experience. My motto is: “Writer friends don’t let writer friends write scripts in Word.”
But if dropping $200 for Final Draft or Movie Magic is too rich for your screenwriting blood, and $49 for FadeIn is beyond your budget, or the measly $30 John August is asking for Highland will break the bank, the fact is, you’re pretty much limited to either Trelby or CeltX. I take a closer look at Trelby and a couple other alternatives here. (It’s worth noting, however, that Trelby is only available for the PC and Linux at the time this article is being written.)
So you might imagine I was pretty bummed to find the desktop version of CeltX was pretty much gone from the internet, with relative few exceptions. It’s not the greatest screenwriting app ever, but it was free, and it was decent. And now it’s pretty much gone.
But recently I decided, as a screenwriter and an artist, that that simply wasn’t acceptable. Yes, there will always be the writers who stick to their legal pads, or bang out their stories on a typewriter, but the vast majority of us are using computers. I feel that every time a screenwriting app morphs from free into paid or cloud-based, a small light goes out in the screenwriting universe, making it harder and harder for new screenwriters to get a foothold in a very, very competitive industry.
So in response, I’ve made the old, non-supported, no-longer-developed CeltX desktop versions freely available below for download. Both PC and Mac. As far as I can tell, they’re the latest builds of the software before CeltX took them off nearly every nook and cranny of the net. Let me know if you’ve found something newer, or if you feel an older build is better.
For the record, I know you can still find CeltX desktop versions out there in a few places, but I don’t know for how much longer, so I really just wanted to preserve the legacy of the desktop CeltX here, just in case those links go away someday. You know, for posterity. And for every screenwriter looking to jump in and start writing, without having to fork over cash for a monthly plan, or some big, bloated screenwriting suite they don’t need.
Let me know if you have any trouble with the software. Naturally, I can’t support it, as I’m not CeltX, so I won’t be responding to tech support questions, but I can certainly try to help where I can. You should find it super easy to figure out and get started with.