Software Beat: Between The Lines

In my previous griping about the state of screenwriting software, I said I wanted a native Mac OS X program that was cheap, and saved in an open-sourced, or at least human readable format. Today I stumbled across an obscure program called Between the Lines, currently at version 1.0, that seems to fit the bill. Does it? I hope to answer that, and more, on the first installment of SOFTWARE BEAT.


Icons I found a reference to the program somewhere online--hey--screenwriting software I'd never heard of! And for OS X alone! Whoo-hoo!

I downloaded the demo, which seems to be created by, which has the distinction of being one of the worst designed websites I've ever visited. The graphics are illegible, the layout and feel cheesy, and the overall effect busy and hard to find what you're looking for. If they were a client of mine, I'd remind them of the golden rule of websites: user experience is your brand. I'll bet they could quadruple their business by hiring a good design team.

But I digress. Somewhere on their site, you can download Between the Lines, an awkwardly named OS X application. At least, ostensibly you can. Despite the fact that the "purchase this software" link in BTL links to, I couldn't actually find anywhere on the site to buy and/or download the software. A Google search reveals this spot, which is where I grabbed it.

First impressions: Oh man, you guys need a new icon! OS X (and, now Windows and Linux as well) apps are often judged by the coolness of your icon. Yours: fugly. And not in the cool way. But, I'm game. I click on it and open the program.

Re:[2] The State of the Software

Okay--let's go with Celtx as our engine. Hear that Celtx? We pick you!

I have to confess I'm rather curmudgeonly about software. I wish I was a true hacker so that I could craft these marvelous things out of thin air, typed commands and lots of { } brackets. A good piece of software is an amazing thing to behold, and a marvelous thing to use.

Re: The State of the Software

Actually, I don't have any problem with using Celtx for Spitball!, and I think it might be fun to try. Regardless, tho, the next thing I write, I'm gonna take a shot and try and write the whole thing in Celtx. There are still some issues that make it weaker than FD (the "stay at the bottom of the page" thing, and the Tabbing isn't as intuitive as FD), but I like where they're going with the latest release (the character and scene notes section is nifty).

I am curious about this Montage thing, however. What does "create your script as a live outline" mean, exactly?

(If you know Burley and me, you know that we salivate like huskies with a gland condition at the mention of "outline" and "software" in the same sentence.)

The State of the Software

A few months ago I was so mad at Final Draft, that I started writing a spec for a screenwriting software for Macintosh. In my mind, it would by a Carbon or Cocoa app, and write to an open, human readable format that--should someone stop using the software--they could open with another program. Ideally, that format would be open sourced, and any other program that wanted to write to it could. The program would retail around $30-$40, in the range of a lot of other cool software that I use almost daily.

I was sparked on this quest by an exchange with the Final Draft tech support. I asked them about how I could go about exchanging my disk. I use Final Draft 6, not having found in the newest version any compelling--or, really any--reason to upgrade. I bought Final Draft with version 5, and updated to six only to get OS X support (Both Urban and I are Mac users), since it really lacked any other revolutionary feature additions. When I bought my upgrade it came on a CD-R, which, as anybody can tell you, is a cheaper and softer substrate. Much more prone to scratches than a manufactured CD.

And see, I have this problem that I have to haul the disk everywhere. I have a desktop and a laptop, but I do most of my writing on my desktop. Final Draft kindly allows you to install the program on two computers, but not-so-kindly insists that you boot the program on the second computer with the CD in the drive. This, after the serial number, and having the program "authenticated" by remote connection to the Final Draft headquarters. So, I had to chose: either put the disk in every damn time I start the program on my desktop, which is quite often when we're deep at work and authenticate my laptop which I rarely use, or do the opposite and carry the stupid disk with me. Which I do. Everywhere. So, if I'm inspired, I won't have to open the program in "demo" mode. Which has happened to me. More than once. And I couldn't write.