WriterDuet is a free online screenwriting tool that allows you to write scripts on the cloud. It’s no-frills but functional. In terms of ease of use, it’s easily my favorite free tool out there, it’s like CeltX minus the bloat. That’s enough to recommend it right there, but it’s got one killer feature.
WriterDuet was built to do one thing: effortlessly collaborate in real time. Final Draft technically has the ability to do the same thing, but Final Draft is a) clunky and bloated, and b) doesn’t easily connect to the internet. I have dozens of writer friends, and only one has actually used Collaborwrite. He says, “You have to fuck with your network settings, which basically means it doesn’t work.”
This is a feature that’s so brilliant that people will miss the point of it. So let me evangelize. This is a killer feature for three reasons.
When I was 8, I had a girlfriend named Emily, an artist, with black hair and blue eyes, and she was 9, which made her the exotic older woman. We would create storybooks together, and I vividly remember the thrill of drawing on the same piece of paper at the same time. The connection was electric, immediate, it was like sharing an imagined world with another person.
No collaboration in my adult life has ever come close. Until now. I’ve written with other writers in Google documents, but it just didn’t feel real. It didn’t look like a screenplay, so my primitive reptile brain didn’t treat it like screenwriting. It was a barrier to letting my imagination free.
Then WriterDuet came along. By removing the barriers to collaboration, it’s that much easier to slip into that hypnotic state, to feel like you’re sharing a universe with another person. I can only imagine what that’s like high.
This is me dating myself, but does anyone remember AOL chat rooms? Back in those early days, imaginative nerds used it for freeform roleplaying.
DRJim132: I am a barbarian.
DRJim132: :::Takes beer from table.
ANNEDAX: Hey that’s my beer!
ANNEDAX: :::: Attacks DrJim with sword.
People instinctively wanted a way to separate dialogue from action, hence the colons. WriterDuet makes that effortless, which makes play that much easier. You can collaborate and pitch lines as easily as you IM, and you get useable script pages as a byproduct.
WriterDuet is a tool that makes collaboration easier, and makes my job as a story coach both more fun and more useful, as it allows me to show people script fixes in real time. By standardizing the WAY we collaborate, we begin to standardize the language we use to collaborate, and that is how communities are formed. Just as swing dancers use steps to dance together, and improv artists use techniques to play together, WriterDuet allows for the creation of new language and new communities that will make it easier for people to write together.
Just try the damn software. It’s free. You’ll be glad you did.