KIT Scenarist Screenplay Software - Impressions

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  • KIT Scenarist Screenplay Software - Impressions

    SEE CORRECTIONS BECAUSE OF MISTAKES.

    Originally this was going to be a review, then a feature-by-feature comparison with Fade In Pro, then a feature-by-feature comparison with Fade In Pro and Trelby. But I kept getting bogged down in details. My biggest problem is that I don't use a GUI screenplay for writing screenplays anymore. I often use Trelby to touch up screenplays that I write in Jstar and import via Fountain format and it works well for that. Both KIT Scenarist and Fade In Pro are "overkill" for me. If I was writing professionally or trying to write professionally, I would probably be using either or both KIT Scenarist and Fade In Pro.

    As it is, my main criteria is how well do they import, format and exchange files. I'm happy to report that KIT Scenarist does this well, with some quirks (which I'll get to, eventually).

    My impressions. Of the three, KIT Scenarist renders fonts best. It looks really good. That might be because it defaults to Courier Prime, but that wouldn't explain why KIT Scenarist handles the Dark Theme better than Fade In Pro. So, for appearance alone, I rate KIT Scenarist slightly better.

    That said, there is no Zoom feature in KIT Scenarist, (NOT true, as Dimka Novikov mentions in a post (below), you zoom using Ctrl plus the minus or plus key, or you can also use the mouse or trackpad, see Dimka Novikov's post below) so the font size display you start with is what you're going to get (happens to be about right on my computers) — Fade In Pro uses Zoom levels like most GUI word processors (which tend to "mush" fonts when they get too small). You can "sort of" work around this in KIT Scenarist by setting up a template based on a smaller or larger font — choosing it for writing — and then, when you're ready to print to PDF, changing the template back to the standard template. KIT Scenarist, as well as Fade In Pro, print PDFs as they see them on the page, they don't default to standard screenplay format. I actually like Trelby's solution here better. It provides an option to change the size and face of display fonts. When you print, or export, it exports in the the standard screenplay format, using the Courier font.

    KIT Scenarist has four modules, a Research Module, A Card/Corkboard Module (which looks nice), the Script Module (what I use) and the Reports Module. All but the Research Module are also available in Fade In Pro (I don't think Fade In Pro has a research module, ComicBent may correct me here) and Trelby (I don't use these features, so this is all I'm going to say about them).

    All three are extremely flexible. You can adjust all elements' spaces, margins, etc., to your liking. You cam also change where the TAB and ENTER keys take you when entering text, depending on your taste. So all three basically the same here and all good. (Better than the Final Draft version I last tried.)

    Unlike Fade In Pro and Trelby, KIT Scenarist does not allow you to use CONT'D and CONTINUED, etc. (CORRECTION: CONT'Ds and Continueds HAVE been implemented in the newer betas, see Dimka Novikov's post below). This is not a big deal to me because I don't like CONT'Ds, but the option is simply not there if you DO want to use them (Not True). Apparently, in Russia, and maybe all of Europe, this feature is not used, as the publisher (Dimka Novikov) specifically mentioned that this feature seems to be important to "the world," but not to Russians. In his first software announcement on Done Deal Pro he wrote ... "In the near future I plan to implement many things that are very important in the world, but not in great demand in Russia, such as corkboard, automatic text corrections on the page breaks (CONT'D), fixing pages and scenes numbers and many other things." (Since the feature has been implemented, all my assumptions are incorrect here.)

    I think all the features except the CONT'Ds have been implemented by this time. Apparently this is the least important feature to Dimka Novikov and those in the KIT Scenarist project (and I happen to agree with them here). (Again, not correct.)

    One quirk that is a bit bothersome for me, is that — in page mode — KIT Scenarist breaks up elements. A scene heading can be orphaned at the bottom of the page, or a Character's Name will be separated from his dialogue. At first I thought this was a "deal breaker" until I found that, when exporting to PDF, you can check "Check Page Breaks" and KIT Scenarist fixes this format issue. But it is a bit quirky (from my point of view) and something else you have to be aware of. Also, to get to the form where you can change this, you have to click on "Additional (Numbering, Title Page, etc.)" or you won't see these options. Also a bit quirky.

    Also, different from most screenplay formatters (I think), KIT Scenarist defaults to scene numbering. That's easy to shut off but you need to aware of it. Also different is that the spell checker doesn't load by default — you have to choose it. Just something else to be aware of.

    KIT Scenarist imports from Final Draft and Final Draft template (.fdx and fdxt), Trelby (.trelby), Office Open XML (.doc and .docx), OpenOffice (.odt), Fountain (.fountain) and Celtx (.celtx) formats. So pretty complete (not as complete as Fade In Pro — no PDF format import — and it misses some of the Text import features of Trelby and Fade In Pro). Still, it's not hard to make a Fountain format file. KIT Scenarist exports to DOCX, PDF, FDX and Fountain. So you should be able to share files easily.

    One last "oddity" (quirk). I use the pdftotext utility to convert PDFs to formatted text (for posting on Done Deal Pro, etc.). It works well with PDFs made with Screenplain, 'Aftewriting, Trelby and Fade In Pro — but files exported to PDF in KIT Scenarist adds tabs to the text file. It's easy to remove the tabs, but it also doesn't separate multiple paragraphs in action scenes. So my workaround for this is to export to Fountain, run Screenplain to make the PDF file and then use the pdftotext to create the formatted text file. Since this is a feature that only a few would use it's probably not a big deal. But Fade In Pro and Trelby handle formatted text files very well.

    Well, that's about it. There's much, much more to KIT Scenarist, but the subject is too big for me, especially since I really don't use the application (except for testing it). I've installed this on both Windows 8.1 and various flavors of Linux — no issues. I haven't tried the iOS or Android applications (as I don't have an Android or an iPhone or either brand's tablet).

    What I do like about KIT Scenarist is its clean page view in the Script Module. I get rid of the Scene Heading panel (I like a simple page) but the Outline toggle let's you see all the scenes and navigate to them. Toggle again, and you're at your new location in full script mode. It has a review panel, and a Fast Text (that I don't understand) and quick access to your Export/Import, Save/Save As, New (etc.) Menu. They also have a Compact Mode, which I use. So, in short a nice, impressive and professional interface.

    KIT Scenarist is free to use, but if you want to collaborate, there are two levels of paid support for online storage and collaboration that cost 300 rubles (about $5.50, for under 10 scripts/projects) and 999 rubles (about $17.50, for over 10 projects) a month. If you don't need these features you can buy KIT Scenarist shirts/gifts, etc., or donate via PayPal.

    This is good screenplay formatting software. It's well worth a look and a test run.
    Last edited by Centos; 04-10-2018, 03:14 PM.
    STANDARD DISCLAIMER: I'm a wannabe, take whatever I write with a huge grain of salt.

  • #2
    Re: KIT Scenarist Screenplay Software - Impressions

    No, Fade In does not have a research module. What I recommend for anyone who is using Fade In or Final Draft (or any writing program) is to download the free Treepad Lite program. It is lightweight and easy to use. And free, as I said. The current version for Windows is 4.3.

    -----

    A few points about this really nice little program:

    It is available for Windows and for Linux. My comments below are based on the Windows version.

    It has two panels, one on the left, one on the right.

    The left panel is an Explorer-like tree. The right panel is the "notes" area, where you can write extensive notes or text of any kind.

    Each tree item can have a sub-item with its own text in the right panel. And then the sub-item can have a sub-item, etc.

    You can put all of your research into a Treepad file and keep it minimized as you work in your screenwriting progam. Anytime you want to access something from your research, you can pop up the Treepad file.

    You can also use the tree and the notes area to write a scene or a chapter or whatever. Each note for each node in the tree can store up to almost 64K of text. I ran a test once and got 63,944 characters (10,712 words) in the notes panel for one node. Obviously, you can use Treepad nodes to sketch or even write out the scenes for a script.

    Treepad with Fade In: You can copy the text in a Treepad note and then paste it as Fountain within Fade In. I had never tried this until just now. It worked fine. I deliberately included some non-keyboard characters like curly quotes and em-dashes in the Treepad text. When I pasted this into Fade In, the characters carried over to Fade In just fine.

    The interface is customizable by using EDIT > OPTIONS.

    Maybe Centos can check out the Linux version for us and report back. But no big deal, one way or the other.

    IMPORTANT for those who try Treepad: There is a minor quirk when you start a new Treepad file. Do the following:
    • Open the program.
    • Click FILE > NEW (or use Ctrl+N).
    You now have a main node displaying in the left panel. But because of a bug or whatever, you cannot do anything with it until you click in the right panel. After you click there, you will be able to create your sub-nodes. This quirk only happens when you open a new file. You do not have to deal with it for the new sub-nodes that you create.

    I do not remember that this quirk was there in older versions of the program (back in the 2.x era). It may be that changes in the sucky Windows operating systems screwed something up.

    "The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." - ComicBent.

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    • #3
      Re: KIT Scenarist Screenplay Software - Impressions

      Hello Centos.

      Thanks a lot for your review. It's very valuable for me and has a lot of things which I need to rethink about.

      Two points I want to add:
      1. The app allows you to scale content (script, cards, mind maps) the way you actually do it in other software. On Windows and Linux systems via ctrl and plus/minus, or via ctrl and wheel. On Mac OS X via cmd and plus/minus, or via pinch and pinch out gestures on the trackpad.
      2. Support for CONT'D and CONTINUED implemented in the last beta.

      And one question - did you try zen mode which we added in the last beta (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGpRvqI79u0)?
      Developer of the Free and Open Source screenwriting software KIT Scenarist

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      • #4
        Re: KIT Scenarist Screenplay Software - Impressions

        Originally posted by dimkanovikov View Post
        Hello Centos.

        Thanks a lot for your review. It's very valuable for me and has a lot of things which I need to rethink about.
        I wouldn't rethink a lot because of what I wrote. Obviously I'm not that good of an observer.

        Originally posted by dimkanovikov View Post
        Two points I want to add:
        1. The app allows you to scale content (script, cards, mind maps) the way you actually do it in other software. On Windows and Linux systems via ctrl and plus/minus, or via ctrl and wheel. On Mac OS X via cmd and plus/minus, or via pinch and pinch out gestures on the trackpad.
        Very nice. I've corrected my post to take this into account.

        Originally posted by dimkanovikov View Post
        2. Support for CONT'D and CONTINUED implemented in the last beta.
        Okay, I believe you and I've corrected my post on this — but now I'm trying to find how to implement this feature and am coming up blank. What am I missing? – or are you talking about a beta that hasn't been released yet?

        Originally posted by dimkanovikov View Post
        And one question - did you try zen mode which we added in the last beta (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGpRvqI79u0)?
        By "Zen" do you mean full screen with the typewriter sound turned on?

        There may be a need to write an English manual for KIT Scenarist (for idiots like me).

        Meant to mention in the "review" that I like the way the scroll bars get out of the way (are narrow) until you move over them and they grow wider. A nice touch. I don't know if I've ever seen this before.
        STANDARD DISCLAIMER: I'm a wannabe, take whatever I write with a huge grain of salt.

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        • #5
          Re: KIT Scenarist Screenplay Software - Impressions

          Originally posted by Centos View Post
          I wouldn't rethink a lot because of what I wrote. Obviously I'm not that good of an observer.
          Every feedback leads interesting thoughts for me. Thanks for that.

          Originally posted by Centos View Post
          Okay, I believe you and I've corrected my post on this - but now I'm trying to find how to implement this feature and am coming up blank. What am I missing? - or are you talking about a beta that hasn't been released yet?
          No no. It should work in the KIT Scenarist 0.7.2 beta 6. You can check this option here: Settings - Script Editor - Editing - Text corrections: Automatically corrections on page breaks.

          Originally posted by Centos View Post
          By "Zen" do you mean full screen with the typewriter sound turned on?
          Yes.

          Originally posted by Centos View Post
          There may be a need to write an English manual for KIT Scenarist (for idiots like me).
          Yep. Manual is a big headache for me... Will try to do it as soon as possible.
          Developer of the Free and Open Source screenwriting software KIT Scenarist

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: KIT Scenarist Screenplay Software - Impressions

            Originally posted by ComicBent View Post
            Treepad with Fade In: You can copy the text in a Treepad note and then paste it as Fountain within Fade In. I had never tried this until just now. It worked fine. I deliberately included some non-keyboard characters like curly quotes and em-dashes in the Treepad text. When I pasted this into Fade In, the characters carried over to Fade In just fine.

            The interface is customizable by using EDIT > OPTIONS.

            Maybe Centos can check out the Linux version for us and report back. But no big deal, one way or the other.
            I'll check it out, but the way I usually take notes is just hit F12 (for my Guake Terminal), then type jsnote, which is a Bash script that opens Jstar in the Notes subdirectory under Documents. I hit F12 and the terminal rolls up out of the way, F12 again, and I'm back at my note. I used to use a very similar program to TreePad Lite – called KeyNote – when I used Windows. But I really never got the hang of it. It looked useful, but I was never disciplined enough to really use it. In the Linux world (in addition to TreePad Lite), there's also KeepNote (also available for Windows and Mac — http://keepnote.org/). I've installed both and will try them out. There's still no Linux version of KeyNote, but its successor Keynote NF is still available for Windows.

            That said, I don't think a separate application is quite the same as a Research Module that saves files within an application's project file. There's something to be said for the portability of saving one file (project file) and all the research, script (itself), settings, etc., go with it. I think that's why folks like Scrivener and Celtx(?) (specifically for their integrated research capabilities). It's probably why I don't really like Scrivener and why I haven't really tried KIT Scenarist Research Module.

            EDIT: I just realized I may be wrong about all the files following KIT Scenarist in the project file. They may just be linked but stored on the local computer, which might be one incentive to go to one of the cloud plans.
            Last edited by Centos; 04-09-2018, 01:03 PM.
            STANDARD DISCLAIMER: I'm a wannabe, take whatever I write with a huge grain of salt.

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            • #7
              Re: KIT Scenarist Screenplay Software - Impressions

              Originally posted by dimkanovikov View Post
              No no. It should work in the KIT Scenarist 0.7.2 beta 6. You can check this option here: Settings - Script Editor - Editing - Text corrections: Automatically corrections on page breaks.
              Okay, tested it and it works. One thing I – personally – would like to see is a way to correct page breaks but NOT print MOREs and CONTD's (like the older versions) – I know, I'm a pain in the neck.

              EDIT: I just rechecked KIT Scenarist 0.7.1 rc11 and it also has the MOREs and CONT'Ds when you choose Page Correction at the Export dialogue – I just didn't have anything in my scripts that would cause this feature to be triggered. Since that's the case, the above paragraph is inaccurate (like so much I've written here). Also, since it seems it would not effect (or hardly effect me) I don't, personally, see any reason for page correction without MOREs and CONTD's.

              Originally posted by dimkanovikov View Post
              Yep. Manual is a big headache for me... Will try to do it as soon as possible.
              Do you have a Russian manual? If so, I might be able to turn it into an English one – or at least try (it would be better to keep the format the same). I would volunteer to write the English manual, but (as you can see) I tend to get bogged down into non-essential details.
              Last edited by Centos; 04-09-2018, 01:32 PM.
              STANDARD DISCLAIMER: I'm a wannabe, take whatever I write with a huge grain of salt.

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              • #8
                Re: KIT Scenarist Screenplay Software - Impressions

                RE: (1) Treepad and (2) Keynote NF.

                Interesting that you mentioned Keynote NF (the NF stands for "New Format").

                It is actually Keynote NF that I use nearly all the time. It is the same kind of thing as Treepad. I regard Keynote NF as a truly indispensable program.

                The important differences between Treepad and Keynote are two things:

                (1) There is a Linux version of Treepad.
                I do not know how well it works, but I would expect it to work fine. I think that the Linux version is fairly new. My recollection of the program fifteen years ago is that it could only run in Linux under Wine. The new version is supposed to be specifically for Linux, if I have understood everything correctly.
                (2) Number of tabs.
                Treepad and Keynote NF are both "tabbed" notebooks. The tabs are at the top of the window. Each tab has an Explorer-like tree of nodes below it in the left panel, and a corresponding note for each node, subnode, and sub-subnode, etc., in the panel at the right.

                However, Treepad allows only one tab (with as many nodes and subnodes as you want). Keynote NF allows multiple tabs at the top, with nodes and subnodes, etc., below each tab.

                Nearly all the time, I use Keynote NF. So why did I not talk about it instead of Treepad?

                (a) The Linux availability of Treepad was a minor factor.

                (b) The one tab of Treepad is adequate for most people.

                (c) The most important reason that I recommend Treepad instead of Keynote NF to people is that the acquisition and installation of Keynote NF is more difficult. You have to go to that goddamned Github and wade through things there to find the most up-to-date version. And, for some reason, the programmer of Keynote NF has only updated the .exe file (which is not an installer) through the years and not the other files. The most recent beta .exe is here. It will probably work by itself.
                If you want the other files (which are probably not necessary to run the program), files like the HELP, you have to find an old version of the program and install it first and then copy the updated .exe to the appropriate folder. I tried just now to find an older version and could not immediately do so.

                However, I have an older version with the updated .exe. I will try over the next couple of weeks to package the whole thing for copying or installing and put it onto my website. The program is open source.

                "The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." - ComicBent.

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                • #9
                  Re: KIT Scenarist Screenplay Software - Impressions

                  KIT Scenarist probably deserves a real review. Maybe someone who doesn't get bogged down in (mostly) irrelevant details can do one. Maybe I can try again — later — but I'll have to use it more (and maybe ask some questions before posting) when/if I attempt this again. Now that I've found out about the "Zoom" feature via Ctrl plus + or -, I'm even more impressed with the user interface.

                  ComicBent. I'll take a look at Treepad and Keepnote, maybe start another thread comparing them. I might also load these (along with KeyNote NF) on my Windows partition so I can compare all three. Meanwhile you might want to look at the Research Module in KIT Scenarist, it's actually pretty impressive.
                  STANDARD DISCLAIMER: I'm a wannabe, take whatever I write with a huge grain of salt.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: KIT Scenarist Screenplay Software - Impressions

                    Originally posted by Centos View Post
                    Do you have a Russian manual? If so, I might be able to turn it into an English one – or at least try (it would be better to keep the format the same). I would volunteer to write the English manual, but (as you can see) I tend to get bogged down into non-essential details.
                    We have 4 little manuals here https://kitscenarist.ru/en/help/ and it's all. I don't rush to make manual because the app is changing yet, and thoughts about double work are frustrating me.

                    Originally posted by Centos View Post
                    KIT Scenarist probably deserves a real review. Maybe someone who doesn't get bogged down in (mostly) irrelevant details can do one. Maybe I can try again — later — but I'll have to use it more (and maybe ask some questions before posting) when/if I attempt this again. Now that I've found out about the "Zoom" feature via Ctrl plus + or -, I'm even more impressed with the user interface.
                    Feel free to ask, if you will need clarifications of some behavior or functions of the app.
                    Developer of the Free and Open Source screenwriting software KIT Scenarist

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: KIT Scenarist Screenplay Software - Impressions

                      Originally posted by dimkanovikov View Post
                      We have 4 little manuals here https://kitscenarist.ru/en/help/ and it's all. I don't rush to make manual because the app is changing yet, and thoughts about double work are frustrating me.
                      It's probably not necessary. Not everyone is as dense as I am. But I'll check out the help files.

                      Originally posted by dimkanovikov View Post
                      Feel free to ask, if you will need clarifications of some behavior or functions of the app.
                      I probably will. Thanks.
                      STANDARD DISCLAIMER: I'm a wannabe, take whatever I write with a huge grain of salt.

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