Fade-in review | PCMag


The best writing apps take into account the needs of your work. For example, if you’re writing film and television scripts, you need a tool that will help you format your work appropriately and keep track of all the details like locations, character names and scene numbers. Fade In is an affordable, competitive screenwriting app that helps scriptwriters stay efficient and organized. Fade In costs less than half as much as the competitor’s Final Draft (an industry standard), but still comes close to its features. If you’re not ready to pay the premium cost of Final Draft, Fade In is an excellent alternative.

How much does the display cost?

Fade In is charging $ 79.95 for its desktop app, which is available for macOS, Windows, and Linux. You can use the same license to install the software on as many personal devices you own, regardless of the desktop platform. Once you have paid for the software, you will also receive free upgrades to all new versions. Fade In’s Android and iOS apps have an additional one-time fee of $ 4.99.

Compared to other script programs, Fade In is inexpensive. For example, Final Draft costs $ 249.99 and requires you to pay for some updates. Script Studio charges $ 199.95 and limits you to installing the software on two devices at the same time.

Scrivener costs less at $ 49, but is better suited for writing novels, long-form works, and other non-script formats. Ulysses is similar to Scrivener; it costs $ 49 a year.

Fade In is professional script software with a tidy interface.

Fade in basics

Like other script writing software, Fade In includes tools to automatically format your script to industry standards. It also helps you organize your work and stay consistent with character names, scene locations, etc.

The reason screenwriters need tools for formatting and consistency is because everyone on the team needs to know how to distinguish a line of dialogue, an action, or a camera shot when a script goes into preproduction and production. Everyone needs to know how many locations are used for filming and what they are. Every actor needs to be able to easily identify his lines.

For example, the speaker’s name is centered in front of a dialog line and displayed in capital letters. When you type your script with Fade In, you can specify what text relates to a character or line of dialogue, for example, and then format the line correctly. Once Fade In captures a character’s name, it can anticipate new lines of dialogue; If you type the character’s name in uppercase, Fade centers on the name. The software also compiles metadata about scripts, such as the number of places and characters.

Final Draft does all of this too, although it’s a little smarter. Once Final Draft knows your characters’ names, it will offer to auto-complete them when you type the first letter or two. This writing app does the same for other elements that may repeat, e.g. B. Locations.

Fade In also provides tools for planning, writing, and editing scripts. With virtual index cards you can, for example, plan, display and edit the order of your scenes on cards. If you change the order of the cards, the scenes will automatically rearrange themselves on the page. A navigator tool works similarly and shows you a preview of your scenes at the edge of your pages in a separate window. You can drag and drop scenes from the Navigator to rearrange them.

Show Alt dialog
Fade In has a tool for adding alternate lines of dialog.

Another tool in Fade In allows you to save alternative dialog options. The number of options is shown at the edge of the line and you can switch between them with an arrow key. I would prefer to uncover all the options on top of each other so that they can be more easily compared.

One feature that Fade In doesn’t have that Final Draft does is a Beat Board. In Final Draft, the Beat Board is another flashcard-like view that lets you map the beats of your script onto color-coded cards. You can then place these cards in a timeline view that appears at the top of your page to roughly see when a particular action or plot should take place in the script. For example, if you want to make sure there is a chase in the first 10 minutes of the script, or there is a twist in the plot at the end of the second act, you can bookmark those moments to keep track of things. Fade In doesn’t offer anything like that yet.

Additional functions

Fade In has a few other unique features that are worth mentioning. The Dialogue Tuner, for example, calls up all dialog lines for a specific character. It’s a nice way to quickly ensure that a character is speaking the same way, style, and tone throughout the script. There is also a function for reading virtual tables (Final Draft has this too). You can choose voices for any character and narrator, although they are all computerized and have flat intonation. At the very least, you’ll have the opportunity to listen to a voice other than yours reading your work aloud. Fade In also includes a write timer tool.

Show table reading function
Fade In includes a digital spreadsheet reader so you can hear your script read aloud by computerized voices.

A feature in both Fade In and Final Draft is the ability to upload PDFs of scripts and convert them to editable text in script format by the app. I tested this feature in Final Draft and Fade In using the same script (Black Swan). The feature worked in both apps, but the result in Final Draft required less cleanup. Fade In uploaded the entire script twice so I had to remove half of the resulting file. There were other minor marks on the script, such as additional numbering and comments, that misinterpreted both Fade In and Final Draft.

In addition to importing PDFs, you can also work with file formats such as CELTX, CXSCRIPT, FDX, FDR, TXT, Fountain, Highland, HTML, RTF, SCRIV and XML. You can export to TXT EPUB, FDX, Fountain, HTML, XML and RTF.

Unhide supports a long list of keyboard shortcuts. This may sound like a trivial function, but it’s important for people who care about it from a productivity or accessibility perspective.

One small complaint about Fade In has to do with the autosave options. You have to manually save your work with Fade In by default, which in the age of cloud-based apps and services feels like an outdated requirement. If you don’t want to hit the save keyboard shortcut every few minutes, you can turn on auto save and set the app to save your work every two minutes. To be fair, Final Draft suffers from the same problem, except that it can only auto-save your work every three minutes. I would prefer to see Autosave enabled by default. It’s all too easy to imagine that people don’t discover they need to turn on autosave until they lose hours of work.

Show automatic saving
Fade In has an automatic save option that saves your work every two minutes at best.

Fade In allows you to collaborate with others to write or edit a script similar to Final Draft. You need to generate some code and share it with your co-workers, who must all have a copy of Fade In. Real-time co-authoring and editing. You and your staff can make changes at the same time, while a chat window allows everyone to contribute to appropriate discussions.

Once you have reached the last few pages of your script, you can track changes to your script with the revision function. Revisions differ from a standard feature of tracking changes you might find in regular Office apps in that there is no easy way to review them and accept or reject them. Rather, revisions are intended for changes that occur once the script is in production. A changed page changes to a new color, while an asterisk on the side of the script indicates where the change occurred. In addition, the processing is displayed in a new color. You can customize and choose the colors you want to display in the different stages of production.

An excellent, affordable script writing app

Fade In is a powerful alternative to Final Draft that costs less than half the price. As professional screenwriting software, it is more than adequate, even if it lacks some of the features of Final Draft. Final Draft remains our Pro Editors’ Choice winner, but folks looking to get into the field can save a lot of money with Fade In and get a tool almost as good.


  • Feature rich, including real-time collaboration

  • Competitive price as a one-time fee with free upgrades

  • Supports industry standard formatting conventions

The bottom line

Fade In is a powerful screenwriting app with most of the features a screenwriter needs. The low one-time cost should appeal to anyone who wants to produce professionally formatted scripts on a budget.

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