A few weeks ago, I reviewed writing program Script Studio (long story short, it’s functional and educational).
When its creator, Dan Bronzite, reached out to me about the possibility of a review, he also mentioned how he’d come up with the software thanks to his own experiences with screenwriting.
I was in intrigued to find out more about the story behind Script Studio (formerly called Movie Outline), so I sent him some questions. Here’s what he had to say.
How did you get into screenwriting?
I started out in graphic design and computer graphics because I thought that was what I wanted to do, but had actually been writing stories since my earliest school years. I had always been a big film fan but had never really put the two together until I saw Reservoir Dogs and Cameron Crowe’s Singles in 1992.
For some reason both movies appealed to me on a different level than I had experienced up until that point. I think a lot of it was the interesting, witty and snappy dialogue, the characterisations, the cinematic styles and of course the cool music which I had also always been into.
Not long after that I got an idea for a movie script, wrote it, somehow managed to get it to a British director and before I knew it, I had an agent at ICM in the States, an agent in the UK, and the script optioned by a producer. I then went to the New York Film Academy in 1995 for a course in directing and haven’t looked back.
What’s your favourite film and why?
That’s a tough one because I like so many for so many different reasons. My film taste is pretty eclectic like my taste in music. It all depends on my mood.
I am a big fan of Hitchcock and the music of Bernard Herrmann so in answering your question I am torn between North By Northwest and Rear Window. I love Cary Grant and James Stewart in these movies, the fun of North By Northwest (which for me was the first ever action movie that inspired all the rest) and the darkness of Rear Window…and when I was younger I had a huge crush on Grace Kelly…who wouldn’t, right?
What advice would you give to your younger self?
That was my big mistake when I first started out in film.
Writing is a typically solitary profession and I enjoy the writing process, but the problem with that is that no matter how good a writer you are and how good your spec script is, most of a screenwriter’s success in this business is down to connections. It’s really a sad truth but hey, it is what it is.
What led you to create Script Studio?
It was Christmas 2003 and I had just got back from a long stint in LA and was ready to start my next spec project.
I never used to outline my scripts but had gotten into the habit a few years back and found it was a much better way of doing it and saving time in future rewrites.
I looked around on the internet for programs to do this and there wasn’t any.
I had Final Draft but that was only good for (and is still only good for) script formatting.
Then I thought about maybe writing my own basic movie outliner.
This wasn’t such a stretch because I had studied computer programming in high school so had some basic knowledge.
I found some software to help me do the task and created Movie Outline Version 1. Interesting ‘fun fact’ is that I then used that to outline my teen horror spec Do or Die which a few months later was picked up by Michael Kuhn’s Qwerty Films in the UK and was later nominated on the UK Brit List.
Movie Outline then evolved into script formatting and story structuring and has gradually increased its feature-set even more and has now been rebranded as Script Studio.
What made you decide to expand Script Studio into novel writing?
Many of our customers are novel writers who in Script Studio’s previous incarnations have ‘made it work’ for them and it did a pretty good job, but I felt they deserved a more specific toolset and so decided to include a dedicated Novel Mode in the latest release.
What’s your favourite Script Studio feature?
For me personally it’s the Scratch Pad because it’s so handy to be able to collate all your thoughts in one place as you write. It also helps you NOT to procrastinate and keep up the creative flow if you’re in the middle of writing a scene. I also use PowerView a great deal when designing my story structure and character arcs.
How did you decide which films to include in the Reference Library?
Easy. They’re some of my favourite movies!
But also all of them are great examples of excellent characterisation and structure within their respective genre, so they are perfect to reference as a learning tool as you write or if you get stuck.
What’s next for Script Studio?
Well there’s so much planned it’s exciting but next on the list is the iOS version.
We are also super-lucky to have a very enthusiastic and supportive user-base and are constantly in communication with them to see what features they would like to be added.