Getting the most out of Celtx
By dduckett, Associative Movie Productions, Virginia Tech
This tutorial will focus on CeltX as a tool rather than the writing of scripts. Although both go together hand in hand we'll look at CeltX as a separate entity. When I first opened CeltX after hearing about it I wondered what it could do for me besides just add a quick feature to share scripts with others. After using it for a couple of months it's easy to see how wrong I was! Some features were briefly shown in the CeltX interface videos, but I'd like to explore them with you and show how you can use them to their full potential. Let's talk about them in no particular order. Some of these are self-explanatory, but I'll explain them anyways.
NOTE: If you don't see the Script option at the top of your window it's because you don't have your script open in the window!
This feature is normally turned off when you begin scripts, but don't forget it's there! Whenever you want a rough estimate of how much you've written you should enable it.
What's it used for? Well so you know how many pages are going to print out! Many professional script writers would use this feature because of the timing in a movie. For example, one page equals one minute. Without this feature it would be hard to keep track of what page you were on!
Access: Script menu -> Generate Report
Not extremely useful for those of us writing for entertainment, but if you're planning on filming, use this! It's difficult when you're filming a movie and someone forgot to bring a prop, causing you to lose time filming! Generate a report because by printing that report you can save time. If you feel bad about using up the paper then go plant a tree (I encourage it!) Generating a report will help you find which characters are needed for acting, props, the location, and effects involved in the scene.
Access: Tools -> Check Spelling
Great feature! Word does this too, but will never give you as clean a format as CeltX or the organization abilities. I'm pointing out this feature for a reason though. Don't abuse this! Re-read your script! Not only will you fix rough dialouge (I'll definitely be posting a tutorial on this), but Check Spelling doesn't catch everything. Please re-read--you'll find a lot of errors are fixed by reading over your scripts.
Access: File->Add Item ->Text
You'd be surprised what caught my attention when using CeltX, and it was this feature. You might ask "What's so great about adding text? Shouldn't you be more worried about the script?" Sure, you should focus on your script, but having this text item is WONDERFUL! I use it to create my storyline, scene order, and random ideas. Now when I write the script, I can switch back and forth, easily following my ideas, and editing the storyline as I go. If you don't already, take advantage of this feature! You won't believe the precision in organization CeltX allows you to achieve. Which reminds me... see those folders and items in the top left corner? Put those in some kind of order! It makes it even easier to get around the program!
Whenever you begin a script which you plan on filming you've usually got a budget in mind. For example, when AMP creates movies we don't have much of a budget. So we're probably not going to need Animal Handlers... especially if there aren't animals in the script! I'm discussing this because if you access your sidebar (Script --> Sidebar) you're going to see the CeltX creator's massive detail. For you, though, this can be clutter; that's why they've made a way to change the categories! Don't be daunted when you use the sidebar because if you want to generate a good report as we discussed earlier you HAVE to label props. Use Categories to remove categories you're not going to be using--that'll make it much easier when it comes time to label props/ secondary characters. In case you don't know how to label certain parts of the script, here's how:
- Make sure you have your sidebar open (Script -->Sidebar)
- Highlight the word of the prop, character name, or effect.
- Now while the word is highlighted, choose the category you want on the sidebar. For example, let's say there are doughnuts in the script, so we'd put them under props.
- Now under the Item part of the sidebar choose New... you should see under Name what you've highlighted!
- Click in the description box, and type a brief description then click tag.
That's all! Now unhighlight the item, and it should be purple (for props). Now if you ever need to view a prop just open the sidebar, and double-click the colored text. Congratulations! It's now under your report, and easy to view!
VIEW ICONS AND TEXT
Access: View -> Toolbars -> Icons and Text
When we first get something new, it's human nature to sit down and fool with it. Sometimes we can cause errors which make the program harder to use! Or perhaps you're having problems getting around the program because you're not familiar with the quick buttons. Well, here's your solution: just change the program so you can view 'icons and text'! Now you know what the buttons at the top mean, and can navigate around the program much quicker.
CREATING A NEW PROJECT
Access: Open the CeltX program --> start a new project
When I first started writing scripts with CeltX I figured it was too good to be true. "You'll only be able to save four scripts" I thought to myself. This is a myth. You can write scripts until your heart's content. Why can you only see four? Well, old projects are saved in folders (usually in My Documents), meaning your new projects don't write over the old ones. Older projects are not used often so they're not put on the "Recent Projects".
That's all for now. Most of this is common sense, and not anything amazing to CeltX veterans. I'll be getting back to focusing on scripts soon.