Black Mana Studios managed to find a worthwhile niche where no app currently existed and deliver a solid first offering in Screenplay. As the name suggests, Screenplay allows you to edit screenplays on your iPhone/iPod.

A writer on the go could simply jot down notes with the built-in notes app. If they have the new 3.0 software, they can also record voice memos. So where does this app fit in?

Screenplay allows you to properly format your screenplays easily, auto-complete character names, reorder scenes easily, and email your work.

Why would you buy a screen-writing app on your iPhone? Each writer is very different in how and where they write. Some write anywhere and everywhere with whatever tools are handy. Some want to jot down ideas the moment they pop in their heads. Some just want the easiest tool to properly format their script.

There are plenty of dedicated screenplay apps you can get on your computer, but few can compete with the price of this mobile app. Few are as convenient, as you don’t have to lug around your laptop, or boot it up to jot down a line of dialog.

The interface is very simplistic and intuitive. Once I insert a character name and hit return, it knows I’m going to be following it up with dialog for that character. If I want to insert something other than dialog, an insert button allows me to easily add in Action, Characters, Dialog, Transitions, Parentheticals, and New Scene Headers.

When I’ve written screenplays in the past, I’ve created style rules in Word and switched between them. I eventually moved to a template for OpenOffice (I’m a big fan of open-source software). Either way, I spend time at each step worrying about switching to the proper formating for what I’m doing. It makes it hard to write in a nice flow, especially dialog. I found adding dialog in Screenplay to be very easy.

In the scene header, I hit N, and it inserts Night. I type one letter of a character’s name, and it goes right for the auto-complete. I start the app up from my dash, and it zips back to the script and scene I left off on. The app may be spartan when it comes to features, but it doesn’t get in the way either. It just wants to enable you to write quickly.

Would I personally use this as my main writing tool? No, because I type so much slower on my iPhone. That being said, to each their own. Others may value the portable convenience and quick interface over the lack of a full-sized keyboard.

It would be nice if Black Mana Studios could integrate a voice memo feature. I’d like to record my thoughts and/or dialog, and then play it back as I type it out. I find it is crucial to speak dialog aloud. I can also write dialog more naturally if I’m simply speaking as opposed to hammering away at a keyboard (though I do spend a lot of time hammering away at a keyboard, if my review pace hasn’t made that abundantly clear).

Perhaps a text-to-voice feature that automatically reads dialog back to you might be nice, but I prefer to read my own dialog. If I can’t deliver it with the inflections I want, how will an actor be able to deliver it?

At $2.99, Screenplay costs less than your average mocha. If it allows you to preserve your brilliant thoughts in the mocha line, then the investment is well worth it. I’m not sure it is ready for everyday use as your main writing tool, but then again I wouldn’t be shocked to hear Diablo Cody is sitting down at said proverbial coffee shop cranking out her next screenplay on her iPhone.

18 Responses to “Screenplay”

  1. T.J. Brumfield Says:

    I have to head out the door. I may not get all 5 up immediately, but I have two more coming soon!

    But while you wait, here are 3 free promo codes!


    Grab them before Diablo Cody does!

  2. BryceD Says:

    Took TLFJNK6LEA6M…thanks!

  3. Steve Says:

    R6RKAFXRF6N9 Thanks…..

  4. Adam Says:

    I grabbed 7FR444YTYW69. Thanks!

  5. Yardyy Says:

    Hi, Please could you post some codes for the UK store, i have tried several times to redeem some and they are all for the US Store.

    Many Thanks

  6. T.J. Brumfield Says:

    That is something we should certainly discuss and look into.

  7. Yardyy Says:

    Thanks looking forward to it very soon.

  8. Greg Says:

    I purchased the product yesterday and have already started writing a screenplay I had in mind. Very easy to use. I was laying in bed writing away in the dark at 1am in the morning. I haven’t tried the export feature yet but will soon. Great idea and great first start! Looking forward to the updates with the importing feature :-)

  9. T. J. Brumfield Says:

    I asked a European developer, and apparently Apple only issues US promo codes I’m sorry to report.

    You can certainly contact Apple and ask them to reconsider this policy however.

  10. Michael (Admin) Says:

    Yeah it’s too bad Apple only does promo codes for U.S. (yet another reason for the world to hate us!!) but I think it’s only a matter of time before the system spreads to other countries.

    Ideally promo codes would be global, but Apple must have had some reason to not go that route already. There’s probably some international software licensing limitation that none of us knows anything about.

  11. Yardyy Says:

    Thanks for your all your info, maybe Apple will change thier policy soon.
    I wonder if it could be that in the UK its still a growing market and they dont want to discount further.

  12. pete Says:

    TJ – what file type does this app use? Can you export or convert the screenplay files to PDFs, Final Draft, or Rich Text? This seems crucial for people who’d be using this app in conjunction with their projects on their desktop/laptop.

  13. Pat Says:

    Pete, I have the App. It exports as a text file which you then email to yourself. I use Final Draft on my desktop and by opening the text file within Final Draft it retains all the formatting, no problems.


  14. Ashton Says:

    Well, I downloaded this, and it’s neat, but it really lacks polish. The fact that it doesn’t use the autocomplete dictionary makes it slower to use than notepad for typing up ideas.

    The inability to delete a character, even if that character no longer has any lines, was annoying, especially since it’s easy to accidentally create a character.

    The shake to undo feature pops up, but doesn’t seem to actually undo formatting changes.

    Overall, I’d say it has potential, but it’s got a fair ways to go before being something I’d use regularly.

  15. Johnmonk66 Says:

    I don’t take the reviews of serious screenwriters seriously, I look to my fellow wannabe’s. I paid 300 dollars back in the day for Final Draft and never regretted it. This Iphone app is the closest thing to FD I have seen, and its on my phone!!!
    Sure lots of people say you can’t write a whole screenplay on it, but I say, “why not”? If you write more than 5 good pages a day you are doing well, and I can fill 5 pages on my phone in an hour when I am rough writing.
    I find this to be the best iphone app ever, and if a new version came out that could import current works, and if the developer wanted 50 bucks for it, I would gladly pay it.
    Yes everyone, a properly formatted screenplay writing program for three dollars, it’s the best thing ever….for me.

  16. MacF Says:

    Nice. Final Draft should have made this. Or at least buy them!

    so… Does in also IMPORT final draft docs? .fdr/.fdx?

    So if I’m working on a script; can I switch between FD and Screenplay without ANY loss of lay-out?

    That would really be the best selling point for me.


    Thanks in advance.

  17. Nick Says:

    any more codes left?

  18. Stewart McKie Says:

    This will be a great app for the Apple Tablet. While I’m not sure I want to write a full screenplay on my phone I think it’s a great tool for scenewriting as opposed to screenwriting.

    My suggestion for the way to develop this further is to concentrate on sharing and feedback. If I write a quick scene draft in Starbucks, it would be good to have a quick way to share it with a mate who could view it on their phone and easily respond with some ‘first-take’ feedback. Tis feedback is winged back to me and attached to my scene.

    What would be really cool is if this feedback was recorded as a verbal note rather than requiring my mate to type it. This way I can ‘crowdsource’ my new scene quickly and easily and take better advantage of the connectivity and verbal paradigm of the iphone.

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