Writing screenplays on android tablets

The widgets

First things first.

I have not done a comprehensive review of all the screenwriting widgets available on net. In fact, I have not tried any screenplay widget which is not free. What I believe is that if you can’t find a free widget for doing something, probably that function is not either relevant or important. I don’t want to buy things that I don’t really need.

But if it is any consolation (to myself included), all the screenwriting widgets I have not tried mostly have very poor rating. So the untested ones are screenwriter, celtx, fade in (paid version).

And my vote is for MyScreenplays free version.

MyScreenplays has a very different format which needs a little getting used to. It is different from other screenplay programs that we use routinely. It treats every segment of dialogue or action as a different unit. You have to open these separate units individually and edit. But after some use, you get used to the structure.

Its biggest strength is import and export. MyScreenplays is one of those few android screenwriting programs that get this one right.

It can import and export to celtx and final draft. Export function has been smooth. But my experience with importing has not been that good.

The only difference between free and paid version is absence of ads. I am seriously thinking of buying the paid version for honoring their decision not to restrict certain functions in the free version.

Fade In free which is very good in other aspects lost out here. I couldn’t export my work in any meaningful way. It is possible that this problem with Fade In Free is very tablet specific (I have a samsung 750 (10.1)) and it would work well in other tablets.

The weakness of MyScreenplays is definitely its unconventional structure and interface. But I assure you, it will grow on you. It needs some getting used to.

I should also mention dubscript here which is a final draft reader. It is a useful widget to read all those finished final draft scripts.

The experience

As I have mentioned earlier, I bought a tablet for productive rather than recreational purposes. Writing screenplay on a tablet is not going to be as smooth as in a desktop, but you can do almost as good as a job once you get used to the keyboard on a tablet. Having a bigger tablet definitely helps for smoother typing.

I thought I would be doing more outlining than actual script writing on tablet. But I was wrong. I found it difficult to outline on tablet. Outlining is the heavy lifting part of the writing and I found the tablet and the interface too distracting. Nothing beats pen and paper for jotting down random incoherent ideas while you are trying to solve a specific problem.

Ice cream sandwich update for Samsung tablet 750 (10.1)

Finally, Honeycomb driven Samsung 750 gets an Ice cream sandwich update. It did some really good things to my tablet. I had a bug after installing a crappy widget. Now with the update, it is gone. Also it is much more smoother and quicker in responding to touch. Not sure about this, but I think the battery performance has improved. And there are lot many more options. The option I love the most is in the browser which inverts the colour combinations. As someone suffering from migraine for some time now, I like my screen black wherever possible.

Samsung galaxy tablet 750 (10.1) vs Ipad2: notes of a tech-illiterate workaholic

First of all, for a geek, there are thousands of articles out there which delve on the technical comparisons. Here I would stress more on the issues which were important for me while I tried to choose between these two. In the last two months I have been going through a lot of articles, discussion threads, agony statements regarding these two before I bought one and I thought I should share it because the information may be useful to some one out there who has the same profile as me (which is an antithesis of a tech literate multimedia consumer with altogether different priorities). And any comparison between these two is not complete without the profile of the user. So here it goes.

What do I want from a tablet?

Tablets are supposed to be meant for consumption, not productivity. It is typically for some one who is interested in lots of gaming, surfing net on the go, watching movies etc. But for me, when I thought about buying a tablet, it was only about improving my productivity. With my current postings in work, I will have to  travel for at least for 2.5 hours a day. Also at home, I have realised that I can work more pretty much every where else than sitting religiously in front of my desk top. Why can’t I buy a net book which is cheaper and provides option of faster typing than a tablet? The answer is that during travelling or at home, the ease, mobility and convenience that tablet offers is more than that of a net book.

First of all, why Ipad2? Ipad2 obviously is a bench marker for tablets right now. And why Samsung 750? There are some other android tablets available out there like Motorola Xoom, Acer Iconia transformer, Blackberry Playbook etc. But right now, Samsung 750 gives some real competition to Ipad2 in terms of compactness, screen resolution, specific features etc. Also it is the thinnest tablet out there.

For each domain I have tried to give a comparative scoring  which highly reflects my personal needs.

Display Ipad2-7/10, Samsung 750-7/10

Samsung’s display is supposed to be a slightly better. But I don’t think there is a difference to really matter. Especially for the common day to day use that I have in mind. Continue reading