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Roughly the same reason programmers tend to like IDEs. There are a lot of conventions around alignment, spacing, capitalization, and probably others that need to be respected in a screenplay. Specialized software makes it easier.

Keeps the format consistent, yes. Also, word completion for characters, scenes, and other conventions (INT./EXT., DAY/NIGHT/... for slugs). Also, probably the most important reason, it gives you consistent numbering and revision system. This is important when doing a production breakdown. think of it as a reporting tool. There's reporting as well. How many action there is vs dialogue, how many characters and which in a scene or script, which scenes, which props per scene (not every tool does that), etc. Some of these reports are done externally in apps like MMS6 or Gorilla.

You could, and people do, write screenplay in Word or whatever. Trouble arises later when you need to go through revisions and work with other people that work in those production-oriented apps. For that reason alone it's better to do it all in a specialised app.

Seems almost like you could use an IDE with a couple specialized plugins...

Yes, if for some perverse reason you wanted to adopt something that's designed for something else first and foremost (development in the case of an IDE), and are able to tolerate all the non-task-specific functionality that results from that.

Not to mention that lots of popular IDEs are written in unnecessarily wasteful/slow environments (Eclipse and Idea which use Java, etc).

I'm not sure why you seem to think script development is entirely distinct from software development. Perhaps you have some insight into this that I don't, but while there are some obvious differences, I'm willing to bet that a good IDE that's general purpose enough to work for both a lisp and static language and support refactoring and syntax highlighting and interface with external programs like source control would support quite a bit of what's needed already.

As for implementation language, I'm not sure java is significantly slower in the case of the project size we are talking about here.

I know scripts rely heavily on centering and right alignment. I'm guessing that's not the only way they depend on the assumption of being printed. There would be some impedance mismatch in using tools designd for plain text.

You could write in Fountain syntax http://fountain.io/ and have the presentation be printed as intended. I actually tried that once or twice (short commercial form) in Vim and I didn't have any issues.

Any feedback on how well Amazon's SaaS solution for screenwriting [0] works as a replacement for the ever-present Final Draft?

[0] https://storywriter.amazon.com

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