Dramatica not working in Catalina

Hello all! Haven’t been online here for awhile and apparently I haven’t used my Dramatica Story expert in awhile, because it doesn’t work any more on my MacBook. I poked around both here and on Write Brothers site and apparently Dramatica Story Expert no longer works with the current OS (Catalina)? WTF?

I couldn’t quite decipher what the current status is. Anyone know what’s up? And whether if I download the update it will work?

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Hi @MiggsEye welcome back :slight_smile:

If you search for Dramatica and Catalina, you’ll find a couple posts explaining a workaround with Dramatica Story Expert. You should also check your inbox as I’m sure Write Brothers emailed a couple of times directly to customers explaining the situation.

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Thank you, Jim. I’ll polk around some more.

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The update to a 64-bit version, Catalina-compatible version of Dramatica Story Expert is still going to be a while – the update is taking us much longer than anticipated…we’ve been working on it for a year and a half already. When the update comes out, it will be a free update to all Dramatica Story Expert users. We recommend bookmarking this link to check on the update’s progress. (Note: this link mostly focuses on Movie Magic Screenwriter, but the update to Dramatica Story Expert will happen after the Screenwriter update.)

LINK: https://techsupport.screenplay.com/hc/en-us/articles/360034951751

We have developed a workaround for those already on Catalina. Here is a FAQ with directions on how to set up the workaround. We’ve found the performance of Dramatica Story Expert on the virtual machine running on Mojave is robust.

LINK: https://techsupport.screenplay.com/hc/en-us/articles/360034975752

You may want to look at it to see if it’s something you want to do should you choose to update macOS to 10.15 before the truly Catalina-compatible version of Screenwriter is available.


Thank you so much for the swift response, Chris. With all this self isolation time on my hand now, I was looking to dive back into writing and Dramatica with a new project. Thanks again for your help.


My copy of Dramatica SE isn’t working either. I’m running Mac OS 10.15.3 (Catalina), which informs me the Dramatica developer needs to update the application. I think both the Windows and Mac versions of Dramatica have been running on fumes for at least a decade, so none of us should be surprised it’s finally coming to its end of life. The application was developed in the 1990s and has been a cash cow for its creators, who have largely left the scene.

@WMH there are so many things factually wrong with your post – in fact, the only thing you said that was true was that the application was developed in the 1990s.

Golden rule here: if you don’t have something productive to say, go say it elsewhere.


Hi @MiggsEye,

I haven’t been on the forum much myself because I’m deep into rewriting and it takes so much longer than I originally anticipated. Also, I had to upgrade to the Catalina Mac version to use some of the benefits (for writing purposes) so my DSE is no longer functioning either.

I was also taking the gamble that DSE will get sorted out later in the year. Thank you for all the updates and links


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Hi Chris,

I have installed virtual box on my mac. It asks for the serial number. Does this activation use up one of the 3 activations that come with Dramatica?

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Hi Bdog, yes, it uses a v5.3 activation because the virtual machine runs Mojave and it is considered a separate ‘computer’. The v5.3 serial number begins with “DRAM”. I recommend that you visit our support site to submit technical support questions:

LINK: https://techsupport.screenplay.com

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Got this message back today from Write Brothers support about the Dramatica Catalina update…

“There won’t be an alpha for Dramatica Story Expert until 2021. We are alpha testing Movie Magic Screenwriter for Catalina right now, and the technology we’re using is being used to build the new Dramatica Story Expert. The update will be free and will be compatible with Big Sur (Apple’s next version of MacOS), as well as their new computer chips.”

But as it mentions above, there is a “work around.”

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