Whenever someone asks me about screenwriting books, Your Screenplay Sucks!: 100 Ways to Make It Great by William Akers is always on the list of must-haves. Yesterday, over on his equally-valuable blog, Akers made a short post about printing to proofread.
As I read the article this morning, a wave of guilt washed over me.
Oh, not because I don’t print to proofread as Akers suggests. For me, it’s a necessity — physically editing with a pen in hand opens my eyes to things I simply don’t see on the computer screen.
The reason I
felt guilty was because I hadn’t written an article about the best sawbuck I ever spent:
App: iAnnotate PDF
Price: $9.99 (iTunes)
In short, this iPad app allows me to proofread and markup .PDF scripts as if I were writing on paper (with or without a stylus). And that’s just the beginning. The care that has gone in to making this a solid app is really astounding. Having been in the technology business for over 15 years, I’ve spent a lot of money on software — iAnnotate PDF is hands-down the best value I’ve ever gotten for my money.
Following are some features/examples of how this app has revolutionized my writing:
- Edit any .PDF document.
- Size is close to a printed page.
- Dropbox Support!
- Don’t want to print 100+ pages when you review another writer’s script? Now you can send them a flattened .PDF with your notes and edits (extremely valuable for professionals and aspiring writers active in screenwriting groups).
- Text Box Notes (copy and paste into your screenwriting software of choice).
- Oops! Didn’t mean to cross that out! No problem… delete and redo.
- Non-Intrusive Toolbars/Menus.
- Stock and Custom Stamps.
- Read produced scripts from your favorite online archives and keep a library with notes.
- Insert pages into any .PDF document.
- Stops Killing Trees!
- Customize and Add Toolbars.
- … and the list goes on!
At first, I was concerned that using a stylus on a tablet wouldn’t be an adequate substitution for putting red pen to paper. Within the first few minutes, I actually found it better.
My wife and I just spent a week in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico (the Nuevo/Puerto Vallarta area is awesome!). Each morning, I would head down to the pool with my cup of coffee, iPad, and stylus, and have a couple/few hours of solitude before everyone else showed up. I edited over 90% of the script on the trip. And with WiFi and Dropbox support, I was able to back up everything whenever I wanted.
Following is an app screenshot (I use the highlighter tool to mark words that should be capitalized):
Who would have thought that sitting by a pool in Mexico I would find peace in crossing out chunks of words I had toiled over. Long before using this app, I knew I was becoming a better writer when I was more excited about deleting than adding. Irony, anyone?
Since there doesn’t seem to be a full-featured screenwriting app for the iPad coming any time soon, I find iAnnotate PDF makes the iPad a great screenwriting tool.