Movie Outline is a relative newcomer to the screenwriting software world dominated by the “industry standard” programs Final Draft and Movie Magic Screenwriter — both of which I’ve used for years — but Movie Outline 3.1 has some key features I really like, which also makes this a great intro into screenwriting software if you have yet to invest.
In the early days of my writing I tended to write dialogue first and then piece the story together as I wrote, but now I’m much more of a structure and outline freak, and Movie Outline 3.1 was designed specifically with the structure-and-outline approach in mind.
Sure, Final Draft and Movie Magic Screenwriter have incorporated those outlining features — and Movie Magic Screenwriter 6.0 has an appealing outline view I like — but Movie Outline 3.1‘s user interface emphasizes the outline approach, complete with drag-and-drop functionality so you can easily move scenes around.
Movie Outline 3.1 also has an interesting character profile wizard feature that includes key questions to help you define your characters and how they relate to one another, and you also can specify characters’ objectives within a given scene or outline step.
The key to getting the most out of this program is to take an outline-first approach, using one of Movie Outline 3.1‘s default screenplay templates or to customize a template to match your outlining process. I’m currently working on a script in which I’m outlining a sequence at a time, so I customized a template to match this sequence outline approach.
Another interesting feature of Movie Outline 3.1 is its “FeelFactor” graph that allows you to visually track the mood of a given scene or step for its “gore,” “action,” “tearjerk” and other factors. For reference, the software includes a library of successful films you can analyze from a “FeelFactor” or outline perspective.
Movie Outline 3.1 allows you to export in Final Draft’s .fdx format, as well as .pdf and other ubiquitous formats. For me, it’s a convenient program that allows me to quickly outline and start writing scenes.