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Celtx vs. Gorilla

Celtx vs. Gorilla - A Comparison

A Film Scheduling Standoff

First, What is Celtx?

Celtx is media pre-production software, designed for creating and organizing media projects like screenplays, films, videos, stageplays, audio plays, documentaries, comics, games, and podcasts.

Most people don't know this, but Celtx is an acronym for Crew, Equipment, Location, Talent and XML. It started as desktop software and eventually moved to a cloud-based system. Much of feature development and language translations of the application were driven largely by the feedback and volunteer efforts of members of the international Celtx community.

Second, What is Gorilla?

Gorilla is film scheduling and budgeting software geared towards films, tv episodes, shorts, and documentaries. It started in 2002 and gained popularity because of its all-in-one solution providing breakdown, cast, crew, locations, storyboards, shot lists and budgeting in one package.

Note: This article focuses on a Film and Video Scheduling Comparison Only. To see our comparison of Celtx Budgeting and Gorilla Budgeting Comparing Celtx Budgeting and Gorilla Budgeting.

Celtx as a Screenwriting Solution

This article is not going to focus on the screenwriting part of Celtx. Most Celtx users use it for screenwriting, although there is a pre-production component. That pre-production component is what we are going to compare to Gorilla, since Gorilla is not screenwriting software. To learn more about Celtx as a Screenwriting program, check out our article on Comparing Screenwriting Programs

Breaking Down a Screenplay

Celtx Breakdown Script

Breakdown in Celtx

In Celtx you can import a screenplay in a variety of formats (or start your own screenplay as mentioned above).

Once imported, you will see the screenplay in Celtx. You can then highlight an element in the script (a prop or a costume, for example), and then attach that element to a Breakdown Category. Any Film Scheduling program "should" be able to do this. If it can't, close up shop and look somewhere else.

Gorilla Breakdown Sheet

Breakdown in Gorilla

Gorilla can also import a screenplay in a variety of formats including the FDX file which is used by Final Draft, and the .SEX file which is exported from Movie Magic Screenwriter. Once imported, Gorilla will display your scenes and their attached elements as seen above.

In both programs you can attach elements to a scene.

Gorilla has some additional features such as Element Linking and Merging Breakdown Sheets.

Element Linking

Element Linking allows you to "link" multiple elements together. For example, let's say you have a character called BLIND MAN. Every time you see this character you also want him to have SUNGLASSES on and also have a BLACK HAT and a CANE.

Element Linking

Element Linking in Gorilla

In the above screenshot, the BLIND MAN character is "linked" to three elements. What this means, is that every time you add the BLIND MAN character to a scene, all three linked elements will also be added to the scene.

This can be very convenient if you have a particular Character (say a Villain) who always is dressed in the same outfit, with a mask, and a weapon, the same makeup, etc.

There is also a keyboard quick-key that allows you to add the Character to a Scene while suppressing the linked elements. So, if production calls for the character to appear without their usual villain garb, (i.e.: Clark Kent or Peter Parker), this is easily handled.

Attaching Scenes to Elements

Another handy feature that Gorilla has is the ability to add scenes to elements. Normally, when breaking down a screenplay your starting point is the SCENE. You go to the Scene and add elements to it, as the screenshots above show in both Celtx and Gorilla.

But if you know a certain Prop or Set Dressing needs to be attached my multiple scenes, you need to go to each scene and attach that element to it. In Gorilla, you have the ability to go to the ELEMENT record, in the example shown below: palm trees, and then attach scenes to it.

Element Linking

Link a Scene to an Element

In Celtx, when you go to the element (as shown below with the Greenery: palm trees), you can see the scene that it is attached to it you hover over the Scene number, but you cannot add a scene to that element. In order to do that, you have to return to the Breakdown screen.

Celtx Set Dressing

Element Detail in Celtx

The Stripboard

Both Celtx and Gorilla Scheduling have a Stripboard. To learn more about a stripboard, see our article: What is a Stripboard?

Below is a screenshot of the Stripboard in Celtx.

Stripboard in Celtx

Stripboard in Celtx

You can add shoot days to the board, and drag the scenes up and down the board, which is the common way of scheduling them.

There is also a checkbox on the right which allows you to check if the scene is "complete" which is a nice addition. In general, the interface is clean and simple to use.

Stripboard in Gorilla

Stripboard in Gorilla

In Gorilla, you can also drag and drop the scenes on the board to schedule them. Some additional Stripboard features in Gorilla that you won't see in Celtx include:

Multiple Board Saves

You can save multiple boards allowing you to plan out different scenarios for your production.

Automatic Sorting

Automatically sort by Location, Set, Scene Number, and other criteria.

Vertical Orientation

Display the Stripboard in vertical strips (mimicking the traditional Stripboard).

Custom Stripboard Design

Customize the look of the board, by rearranging the fields on the strip and add divider lines.

Using the Stripboard in Gorilla

Reports: Celtx vs. Gorilla

Both Celtx and Gorilla allow you to run reports -- you need to get your data out of both programs, of course.

Here is a list of the reports Celtx has pertaining to Scheduling:

Reports in Celtx

Celtx Reports

Here is a partial list of the reports Gorilla has:

Actors, Photos, Scenes

Art Department


Breakdown Notes

Breakdown Sheet Boxes

Breakdown Sheet Summary

Cast Breakdown (Scenes)


Character Description


Crew Call Sheet

Day Schedule

Elements and their Scenes


Header Board


Cast Breakdown (Shoot Days)

Cast Call Times

Category List

Daily Production Report

Day out of Days (DOOD)

Exhibit G (SAG Report)

One Line Schedule

Shooting Schedule


Storyboard Module

Both programs have a Storyboard module allowing you to upload images to create a storyboard and create Shot Lists.

Storyboard in Celtx

Storyboard in Celtx

Storyboard in Gorilla

Storyboard in Gorilla

You can rearrange the storyboards in each program. Both work well, and it's a matter of preference which interface you might prefer.

A few differences, however. In Celtx you are locked in to that types of SHOTS you want to use. In Gorilla you can create your own Shots. So, for example if you want a shot called: ZOOM FAST THEN DIVE UP, you can create that shot in Gorilla. You are not limited to: MASTER, CLOSE-UP, MEDIUM CLOSE-UP, and all the other standard Shots.

Cloud vs. Desktop

It is also important to point out that Celtx in a cloud-based ONLY program. There is a free version but it is limited and you cannot collaborate with others unless you purchase one of their subscription models.

Gorilla is a desktop application. You can share your schedules and budgets with other Gorilla users via Dropbox and iCloud. We are gearing up for an online version (to be released soon!) which will allow you to decide if you want (a) the Desktop version only, (b) the Online version only, or (c) the mother of all solutions -- both. We will have integration between the desktop version of Gorilla and the Online version.

All in all, we have come to the conclusion that for light scheduling and non-professional productions, Celtx is a good choice. For any professional production, Gorilla is clearly the right choice.

However, if you are looking for light preproduction software, please check out Chimpanzee

For a complete working demo of Gorilla Scheduling click here for Macintosh or here for Windows.



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