Using Celtx 101 - Script Writing for Movies




Introduction: Using Celtx 101 - Script Writing for Movies

About: HS Student that is going into Nuclear engineering next year.

This is a step by step tutorial on how to use Celtx. This tutorial will show you how to write a screenplay, draw a storyboard, create a shot list and properly write a master catalog. For this tutorial you will need a computer with keyboard and mouse, along with a copy of the free version of Celtx. 

Step 1: Downloading Celtx

Before we start, we must first download Celtx. If you already have downloaded Celtx please continue to the next step. 

- Once you have proceeded to the main web page, you will need to sign up for Celtx (providing an e-mail and selecting a password) in the spot provided. 

- After entering your email address and password, click on the link in the confirmation email that  Celtx has sent you to your registered email. 

Step 2: The UI (User-Interface)

When you first open Celtx a small box in the center of your screen will appear. The right ​ column will allow you to select previously saved Celtx films.  The Left will allow to open a new project, whether it be a script, storyboard or master catalog. 

For the purpose of this Inscrutable, we are going to select the Film Template in the left column.  

Pay close attention to the second image and become familiar with the Celtx UI. It is essential to know where the headings and quick switch bars are located because it will save you time when navigating. 

Also take note that the uppermost left-hand side of the window has all the standard options, that all word processors have.

Step 3: Starting to Write Your Script

When first loading up Celtx you may become frustrated because you don't know what to do. Don't worry in this section I explain all the text tools and how to properly write your script.  

Text Options/Tools:

Like most word processors, Celtx has buttons for, Bold, Italics, underlining, copy, paste and cutting. You can also find a spell check, and dual dialog (explain later) buttons along the bar. The three major text tools (Bold, Italics, underlining) are extremely useful when writing your script, if you would like to draw attention to key names, places, characters or words. 

Project Options: 

In the Project Option bar you can open new, or previously saved projects. You also can save to Celtx Online (PRO-Feature) or to your computer. In this bar it also allows you to add project components such as; screen play, script, storyboard, master catalog and audio log. 

Writing Sections:

This may be the most important section of this step, because depending on what section you are writing in, it will determine whether you are writing, setting, location, character or dialog. You can change writing sections by either selecting the scroll tab, or  hitting Tab and Enter.

Step 4: Scene Headings

When you first load up Celtx and select the Film Template you are taken directly to the script. You will notice a grey bar running across the top of the page. This grey bar indicate the scene heading. 

Rules of Scene Headings:

The standard form for a scene heading is: "(EXT or INT). Location - Time" 

Scene headings are used to break down the script and screen play  to make it easier to film a movie and read. 

For every new scene, it is required to have a Scene Heading.

Scene Headings should be used when the location or time has changed.

Celtx Scene Headings:

In Celtx when you are done typing your scene heading you will hit enter to change the writing section. When you are in the Scene Heading section and you hit enter you writing section will change to Action. 

When ever you want to start a new scene, you can go to the Writing Section Scroll Tab and select "Scene Heading".  

Step 5: Action, Characters and Dialog

Since the bulk of your script will not be Scene Headings, we are going to carefully cover, Action, Characters and Dialog. 

If you haven't noticed already, your Writing section changes to Action after you hit enter. When you hit enter while in Action it will change the section to Scene Heading. Hitting Tab while in Action will change the section to Characters. Finally hitting enter while in Characters will change the section to Dialog. 


This is where you to put the description of the setting, time and location. In action you will narrate what is happening in the scene.

Ex. There is a storm, strong winds and the trees are waving. Jason runs to his car, holding his hat along from blowing into the wind.

When writing your action, you want to be careful, because it isn't a story, its a description of what can be seen. Also make good use of the "post a note" option, so people who read the script online can understand what your ideas are.


When doing dialog, you must first come up with a name. Once you have come up with a name simply hit enter and writing your dialog.

When a new character is speaking or a conversation between multiple actors is occurring, then you will want to use the Dual Dialog tool or you can just put the other characters name and continue that way.    

Step 6: Creating a Storyboard

Storyboards are a very important part of the pre-production of a film. Storyboards tell whoever reads them, the shot angles, shot types and where the shot will be taken. They determine what the film will actually end up looking like. 

You are probably wondering how to open the storyboard. Well the cool thing about Celtx is that it has all the  pre-production components that a normal movie would have all in the same program. 

You first are going to select the Add button in the Project Options/Tools section. Then a small window will open up, containing all the possible additions you can make to your move project. Select the Storyboard option and hit OK at the bottom of the window. 

Step 7: Using Storyboards

There are many ways to use your storyboard. You can take pictures of where your shots are going to be, you can sketch your shots, you can use the in program drawing tool, or you can use them all together. 

Whatever option you choose, you should make sure that you have thought out each of your shots and that they make sense.  The more detailed you make your storyboard, the easier it will be to film. 

Rules for Shots:

Make your shots dynamic. (not all static) 

The more shots you have, the better your movie will look.

Always have your shots lead into one another.

Eg. If your camera angle changes frantically  and there isn't anything in the next shot that was there before, like a land mark, or person, then the viewer will lose a sense of perspective. 

There are some exceptions to this rule: fight scenes, high speed chases and when switching locations (rooms) back and forth to build suspense. 

Step 8: Creating New Shot Presets

After playing around with the standard set of shots, you may start to become bored and want to create your own shots. Don't worry, within Celtx this is an option to create new shot presets and categories. 

  1. First you are going to select Tools at the upper most left hand corner of the window.
  2. Then you are going to select Options ​and a small window will pop up. In this window you will be able to add shot presets, categories, time and location keywords.

Step 9: The Master Catalog

The master catalog is the bible of all films. It contains all the information about your movie, characters, locations, times, props, crew, directors and ideas. The master Catalog is very useful because it  organizes all your data into one neat file. 

The master Catalog is the final touch in any film. Here you can put actors real names, add crew and producers so you know who helped out when its time to do the credits. 

Step 10: Our Finished Project

This is the final product of what our group made for our short film on Celtx. 

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    2 Discussions


    3 years ago

    This is so helpful! Thank you to whoever made this guide and whoever made Celtx! Just wtf thanks!


    4 years ago

    seems interestineg!