Is New Script App the Future of Playwriting?

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19 May 2014

Scriptopia on a tablet

While Matschullat likes to compare here collaboration on Scriptopia to theatre work, there were certain aspects of the job that she learned were nothing like stagework.

"The thing about technology I have learned — you know how in theatre there are happy accidents, where something unintended happens that is better than what you were aiming for?" she said. "In technology, there is no such thing. Programming is very, very unforgiving. It has to be very exact."

Nonetheless, the development process produced a few "happy accidents" of a sort. One feature of the app is that playwrights and directors can share notes with one another without disturbing the rehearsal process.

Explained Matschullat, "When writers are writing out post-it notes and putting the notes in from of the director, if often makes the actors nervous because they wonder if about their performance. This way they can have private communication and it doesn’t ruin anyone’s focus."

And while the saving of paper was an expected outcome, the reduction of noise pollution was not. Apps, after all, do not make as much racket as paper scripts. "Actors mention how they love the silence," she said. "There’s no page-turning. Those things we didn’t anticipate."

Scriptopia went on sale in later April and is sold as a subscription. Following a free trial period, subscribers are charged via a three-tiered system: Small theatres pay $49.99 a month; large theatres $149.99 a month; and “Enterprise” shows pay $249.99 a month.

So far, feedback has been positive. One director communicated that "he thought he saved a day and a half to two days rehearsal in a ten-day period."

Matschullat is concerned that some might think that Scriptopia, with its replacement of paper scripts with technology, might somehow deaden the feeling of the rehearsal process. Her intention in created the app was the exact opposite. Scriptopia, she hopes, will allow artists to be creative more often.

"We’re trying to enhance the 'live-ness' of the experience in the rehearsal hall. People don’t necessarily understand that with technology. This is to enhance the live-ness and make the artists more dynamic."

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