Write screenplays on your iThings with Fountain
This week, we’re going to look at how Fountain is making it easier to write screenplays on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (as well as your Android device, Blackberry, Windows phone, Palm Pilot, Mac, PC, Apple II, and TRS-80 — yes, really).
When the iPhone was introduced seven years ago, the only true writing tool was the native notepad app, a bare-bones, nearly featureless text editor. I tried writing a few script pages, complete with all the necessary complex screenplay formatting, in this app. I quickly concluded that writing a screenplay in any text editor was not only a horrible idea, it was also a very horrible idea.
Today the App Store offers several mobile screenwriting apps that provide feature-rich authoring environments designed specifically for pounding out screenplay pages (i.e., Celtx Script $4.99, Storyist $9.99, and Final Draft Writer $39.99, etc.). All of these apps are extremely powerful, and yet, I’m using them less and less. Why? Because I’ve fallen in love with writing screenplays in… wait for it… text editors.
How can this be? The answer is Fountain.
Fountain is a comprehensive, easy to learn, simple to implement, free to use screenwriting syntax based on screenplay standards that already exist (most of which you already know or can learn very quickly). With this new syntax, you can write your script as plain text in any text editing apps (not just screenwriting-specific programs), on any platform (yes, even a TRS-80), without having to worry about indents, margins, and other formatting particulars. And, because you’re writing in plain text (which is platform agnostic), you can bounce between apps and platforms at any time (i.e., Begin writing in TextEdit on your Mac, continue writing in Editorial on your iPad, and finish up in JotterPad on your Android tablet). When you’re finished writing, simply feed your text through a Fountain compatible converter, and presto! You’ve got a properly formatted script! It’s like magic, only more magical!
That was a lot to digest, so let’s break it down:
First you need to learn the Fountain syntax. Here are a few examples: Start all scene headings (slug lines) with INT, EXT, or something similar. Write action as you normally would. Keep character names in UPPERCASE. Dialogue always follows character names. Easy peasy! If you already know how to write a screenplay, you’ll pick up the Fountain syntax in about 60 seconds! A complete description of the syntax can be found on the Fountain website.
Next, pick the app (and platform) you want to write in. Which text editing apps do I use on my iPad? Too many to list. I try new ones all the time. A quick search in the App Store revealed well over 100 text-editing apps, each offering its own unique feature set. That’s a lot of options! Tech guru Brett Terpstra has compiled a comprehensive, interactive list of the best iOS text editors that should help make your choice a little easier.
Lastly, you’ll need a Fountain converter to transform your text into proper screenplay format. Fountain is still in its infancy, but a number of conversion tools are already available. Highland for Mac is my current favorite. It converts Fountain text into PDF files and Final Draft documents. It will even convert existing Final Draft docs and PDF files back into Fountain text – a very neat trick! Once again, I suggest you poke around the Fountain website to view their up-to-date list of conversion utilities and related applications.
Writing a script is hard enough without having to remember specific margin settings and confusing shortcuts within dedicated screenwriting applications. By using Fountain, that complexity begins to melt away. Write on!
by Celtx Inc.
The #1 Rated Scriptwriting App!
Lean, lightning fast, and fully-featured. Celtx Script makes it easy to write properly formatted scripts on your iPhone or iPad.
-Automatic formatting to Screenplay, A/V, Stageplay, Audioplay, & Comic Book industry standards.
-Add notes & comments to your scripts for yourself or collaborators.
-Autosync: create a free Celtx account and have all your scripts automatically backed up to your online studio. Avoid losing any work due to loss or damage to your mobile device, and get the latest revisions from your writing partners on the fly.
by Storyist Software
Storyist is a powerful writing environment for iOS that lets you create, review, and revise your work wherever inspiration strikes.
“If I could have only one screenwriting app on my iPad, Storyist would be it.” – Taz Goldstein, Hand Held Hollywood.
“I'm currently traveling in Europe and am just now putting the finishing touches on the book that will be published in September. I'm using the Storyist app for my iPad Mini and it's sensational... a real godsend.” – Michael Brandman, Bestselling Author.
With Storyist, you can:
• Produce submission-ready manuscripts and screenplays. Storyist provides a rich text editor with support for comments, images, headers, footers, and style sheets so you can create properly formatted manuscripts and screenplays. And Storyist comes with manuscript and screenplay templates so you can focus on the writing, not the formatting.
• Work with your story at a high-level. Storyist lets you sketch out a story using index cards and then refine it with customizable plot, character, and setting sheets. When you're ready to put words on the page, Storyist can even display your index cards next to your manuscript as you write.
• Review and revise on the go. Have a few minutes? Open Storyist and jot down a note, revise a few paragraphs, or annotate your manuscript with ideas for future changes.
• Keep all your writing organized and accessible. Storyist organizes your novel manuscripts, screenplays, notes, and other project-related writing so you can access them with just a few taps. And the one-tap Dropbox sync lets you quickly access your projects where and when you need them.
Features at a Glance
• Rich text editor with support for fonts, colors, comments, images, headers, footers, and style sheets.
• Automatic manuscript and screenplay formatting with familiar tab and return key shortcuts.
• Support for both the onscreen and physical (Bluetooth) keyboards.
• Color-coded index cards.
• Customizable story sheets.
• Sync with iCloud or Dropbox.
• Easy import and export using iTunes, eMail, the Open In menu, and the iOS 8 document picker.
• Support for Storyist for Mac, RTF, Plain Text, Fountain, Scrivener, and Final Draft FDX files.
• Ability to export text files as PDF.
• Wireless printing with AirPrint.
• Courier Prime font for screenplays.
Final Draft Writer
by Cast & Crew Production Software, LLC
Final Draft Writer
The makers of Final Draft – the #1-selling screenwriting software in the world – now bring you the Final Draft Writer™ app for iPad and iPhone.
Final Draft Writer lets you write, edit and read Final Draft scripts on your iPad or iPhone. Create new scripts or edit existing ones with easy-to-use features such as Tab and Enter navigation, ScriptNotes™, SmartType™, and more.
Easily move your Final Draft 10 scripts from desktop to iPad or iPhone and back again via iCloud, Dropbox, or email. Your scripts will appear perfectly paginated and formatted to industry standards every time.
- Go paperless and carry all your scripts with you everywhere you go
- Send or share your Final Draft FDX file between multiple platforms and always be on the same page with Dropbox or iCloud
- Character Highlighting allows you to keep track of your characters for table reads or character development
- Add, color-code, label, and edit ScriptNotes or General Notes
- Perfectly paginates to US Letter and standard European (A4) page sizes
- Send feedback directly through the app
- Easily change script elements with classic Tab and Enter functionality or through the Elements bar (iPad) or Menu (iPhone)
- SmartType™ remembers your character names, scene headings and more
- Shows Active or Collated Revisions with Colored Pages
- Multi-page Title Pages are supported for TV production scripts
- Search your entire script for characters, locations, or other script elements
- Saves the last page you're working on to get back to work quickly
- Scripts written in 14 different languages appear exactly as they do in the desktop application
- iPhone Page View shows 100% accurate Final Draft pagination, formatting, and line breaking
- Bluetooth keyboard support
- Professionally formatted TV, Film, and Stageplay templates to help get you started
- Automatic More's and Continued's
- Includes production features like Scene Numbering, Omit Scenes, Colored and Locked Pages
- Quickly switch from one revision set to another
- Export scripts to PDF via Dropbox, iCloud, or email
- Track key information with Cast Reports, Scene Reports, Location Reports, and more
- iPhone Scene Navigator allows you to easily jump to different scenes in your script
- Access all of the tools you need while maintaining context in your script in the iPhone Tools Menu
- Header and Footer editor
“Where has this been all my career?!? I put it through its paces doing a rewrite on the go-go-go. Does a great job. This is a real step forward! What more do you need on the road? (Maybe a chauffeur?)”
David Seidler – Writer / Academy Award® winner
The King's Speech, By Dawn's Early Light, Tucker: The Man and His Dream...
Editorial is a plain text editor for iOS with powerful automation tools and a beautiful inline preview for Markdown, TaskPaper, and Fountain documents.
* Inline Markdown/Fountain Preview – With Editorial's subtle syntax highlighting, you can see your document's formatting immediately while you're writing. And when you need a full HTML preview, it's just a swipe away.
* Extensible with Workflows and Scripts – Select from over 50 text processing actions to create your own workflows for extending Editorial's feature set. For even more advanced automation, you can write Python scripts with an integrated code and UI editor.
* Dropbox Sync – The sync folder is customizable, so you can easily edit your documents with multiple apps.
* Smart Keyboard – The extended keyboard was specifically designed for writing Markdown and includes all the special characters you need. You can also control the cursor with simple swipe gestures.
* Snippets – Quickly insert frequently-used pieces of text by typing abbreviations. Snippets can include dynamic text, e.g. the current date or clipboard contents. TextExpander™ snippets are also supported.
* In-App Browser – If you need to do some quick research while writing, you don't have to leave the app for that. You can even open multiple tabs.
* "Folding" allows you to quickly hide individual sections of your document while you're writing.
*** *** ***
“It would be hard to imagine a better editor, let alone recommend one that actually exists.” — The Verge
“This is it. Editorial sets a new standard for third-party iOS automation, and, for me, there’s no going back.” — Federico Viticci, MacStories
“Editorial just reinvented iOS text editing.” — Merlin Mann
by Quote-Unquote Apps
Highland is the award-winning screenplay editor that lets you focus on the words, not margins. Designed by screenwriter John August and his team, Highland is the better way to write movies and television.
"Highland is just a cleaner, purer way to be creative. My mind is calmer and less cluttered when I use it because I can write prose so easily and jump to dialogue when that’s more intuitive."
— Phil Lord, Writer/Director of The Lego Movie, 21 & 22 Jump Street
"Highland has changed my entire way of working with scripts. I use it every day."
— David Wain, Writer/Director/EP of Children's Hospital
"A powerhouse of features that will help you shine in the screenwriting business."
— Mac AppStorm (9/10)
"Certainly for those in the film industry, this app is more than worth its price."
— Macworld (2013 Eddy Winner)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . F O C U S . . . . . . . .
You write. Highland formats.
Unlike old-fashioned editors, you don't need to tell Highland which element is a character and which is dialogue. It just knows.
So you can spend your time finding the perfect word, not the right menu command.
When you want to see the layout, quickly toggle between your text and your screenplay preview with Cmd-E. Your hands never need to leave the keyboard.
With one click, Highland turns your words into a perfectly-formatted screenplay, ready to print or export as an FDX or PDF.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . F E A T U R E S . . . . . . . .
Highland is built by screenwriters, for screenwriters. You’ll love working in an editor designed for writing.
- Dark Mode. Late night inspiration without the eye-strain.
- Full screen mode. The ultimate distraction-free screenwriting experience.
- In-line notes and synopses. Keep your notes right where you need them.
- Smart sections. Organize your script by acts and sequences, not scene headers.
- Syntax highlighting. Highland denotes sections, synopses, notes, and formatting beautifully.
- Smart pagination. Highland knows how to break pages just right, keeping sentences together.
- Boneyard. Keep those scraps and partial scenes handy for reference.
- Easy uppercase. Shift-return transforms a line to uppercase—perfect for and scene headings and character slugs.
- Fountain cheat sheet. Forget how to center something? The answer is a glance away.
. . . . . . . . . . . A D V A N T A G E S . . . . . . . .
Highland is built for today, and the future.
- Speed. Highland is lean and mean. From scrolling to previews, Highland is blisteringly fast. Because it's Mac-only, we optimize it using the latest Apple technologies.
- Great typography. Highland features Courier Prime and Highland Sans for exceptional typography right out of the box. Screenwriters shouldn't have to look at ugly fonts.
- Standards-leading. Created by the same team that helped forge the Fountain standard, Highland speaks Fountain fluently. We're often the first to incorporate new specs, such as lyrics and forced character names.
- Compatible. Highland is perfect for moving files between Fountain, Final Draft, and PDF formats.
- Built for retina. Highland’s simplicity is even sharper on retina displays.
- Best-in-class PDF melting. Screenplay PDFs are no longer frozen in carbonate. This was Highland's breakout feature, and remains unequaled.
- Active development. Highland receives regular updates, sometimes twice a month, incorporating user-requested features almost every build.
- Created by working screenwriters. We use Highland every day, which is why we keep refining it.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . S U P P O R T . . . . . . . .
Our in-app "Welcome to Highland" (under the Help menu) can walk you though many features.
We also have an extensive FAQ, available both in-app and online:
Send Feedback directly from the Help menu, or reach us online by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @qapps