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Old 08-02-2019, 09:58 AM   #1
Merrick
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Default Reformatting from left-justified

Hey all! Been lurking for a bit.

After thirty years obsessing over feature films (and a background in writing), I finally put in the legwork and wrote my first feature. It took four drafts and a year-and-a-half of sweat equity.

Honestly, I have trouble reading traditional script format due to the wildly fluctuating justification, so I wrote the entire thing left-justified in OpenOffice.

I'm about ~3 days away from completing it, and I realize no one worth anything will take this seriously unless it's "properly" formatted.

Can someone recommend the most cost-friendly and easiest way to do this? I can do it all by hand, but it'll take a couple days of useless, manual work that probably won't even look perfect in the end.

Feels silly to buy Final Draft just for this one purpose.

I have *some* industry contacts and am very excited to start sending this out there. I did a beta-read round and got very positive reactions.

Thoughts?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 08-02-2019, 10:13 AM   #2
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Default Re: Reformatting from left-justified

You can download free trial see if it will help you format it, although I suspect you will have to tab stuff around.

https://www.fadeinpro.com/page.pl?content=download
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Old 08-02-2019, 10:56 AM   #3
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Default Re: Reformatting from left-justified

Great, thanks for the tip! I'll try this out in a few days and see if it helps. As long as it looks good and saves me some hours, then I'm happy.
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Old 08-02-2019, 12:40 PM   #4
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Default Re: Reformatting from left-justified

There's also,

http://www.celtx.com/
http://www.trelby.org/

which as far as I know are still free.

And then there's Screenplain,

http://www.screenplain.com/

which takes plain text and converts it to a screenplay.
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Old 08-02-2019, 12:59 PM   #5
finalact4
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Default Re: Reformatting from left-justified

i'm curious, you only plan on writing one script? have you been writing in courier 12pt? how have you been keeping track of how many pages it is?

is it an open office file format? you might have to convert it to another file first (rtf, doc, txt) and then convert it to a screenwriting program.

i believe Trelby and Celtx are still free, i don't know their capabilities of converting files.

any "free trial" is going to limited functionality.

you're going to have to do some research to determine which software will allow you to import/export your file with as little work as possible. you don't want to buy something only to discover you have to re-enter every word.

good luck.
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Old 08-02-2019, 01:33 PM   #6
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Default Re: Reformatting from left-justified

Hello Merrick,

Movie Magic Screenwriter (even the old versions, you can buy used -- cheap) do a really nice job of getting it right. Sometimes it asks one or two questions, then it flows right in. I've done whole, flush-left scripts with only four or five tweaks.

That's if you did the slug lines right. EXT., INT, etc. And if you did CAPS for characters.

It's actually pretty cool to watch it figure it out.
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Old 08-02-2019, 04:27 PM   #7
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Default Re: Reformatting from left-justified

Quote:
Honestly, I have trouble reading traditional script format due to the wildly fluctuating justification, so I wrote the entire thing left-justified in OpenOffice.
Buy 'Fade In'. I think it is still $79. Free upgrades. You can use it on all of your computers. Check the website.


It sounds as if you have, in effect, created a script in Fountain format.


All you have to do is save the .odt file (Open Office) as text.


Then give the text file a new file extension, '.fountain'.


Then Import the .fountain file into Fade In.


Do not shell out the money for Final Draft. Seriously, just do not do it.


If you have trouble, send me the script in Open Office format, and I will save it as a text file and then import it into Fade In as a .fountain file. But you will need your own paid-for version of Fade In to print without watermarking.


Fade In is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. I use Windows. I am assuming that you do, too. I am not sure that I can help if you are using another operating system.


My email: rolandraystroud@gmail.com

NOTE: I should have added that if you buy Fade In, you should also download the free fonts (Courier Screenplay, Courier Prime) from the website.
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Old 08-03-2019, 01:23 AM   #8
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Default Re: Reformatting from left-justified

Quote:
Originally Posted by Merrick View Post
I'm about ~3 days away from completing it, and I realize no one worth anything will take this seriously unless it's "properly" formatted.

Can someone recommend the most cost-friendly and easiest way to do this? I can do it all by hand, but it'll take a couple days of useless, manual work that probably won't even look perfect in the end.

Feels silly to buy Final Draft just for this one purpose.
Sounds like you've basically written in Fountain format so this should only take a few minutes (maybe half an hour) to format. Definitely no need to buy Final Draft (or any application).

Here's what Fountain looks like (ignore the writing, it sucks)...

Code:
EXT. THE GREAT OUTDOORS — DAY GOOBER and his friend GIMP are hiking along a trail, munching granola bars. Goober is oohing and awing at the scenery. GOOBER You don't find these kind of views on computer screens. GIMP Actually you do. GOOBER Well, not up close and personal. Gimp smirks. GIMP Apparently you don't have the Virtual Real Real 4000 v.2 hooked up to your computer. (pause) Unlike me. GOOBER Just take in the smells of the mountain air— GIMP —I have, using my Virtual Scent WafterMatic add-on for my Virtual Real Real 4000 v.2. Only works on the Virtual Real Real 4000 v.2, version 1.0 will never get it. A FURRY CRITTER scurries across the path.
Sluglines (Scenes) start with INT. or EXT. (usually, there are exceptions detailed in the Fountain syntax guide at https://fountain.io/syntax).

Each element is separated by one line, except Dialogue (and Parentheticals) stay next to their Character (as shown above).

Transitions start with a "greater then" sign as in...

Code:
> FADE OUT:
Action paragraphs are as shown above. Just normal paragraphs separated by a space from the next element.

Once you've gotten your script into this format, you save as plain text with the "fountain" extension and import your Fountain file into any application that understands the Fountain syntax.

'Afterwriting is a free online service that will do this. (Just be aware that's it's based in Europe so defaults to A4 paper but can easily be changed to Letter paper.)

https://afterwriting.com/

Once you save to PDF, you'll see something like this.

Code:
EXT. THE GREAT OUTDOORS — DAY GOOBER and his friend GIMP are hiking along a trail, munching granola bars. Goober is oohing and awing at the scenery. GOOBER You don't find these kind of views on computer screens. GIMP Actually you do. GOOBER Well, not up close and personal. Gimp smirks. GIMP Apparently you don't have the Virtual Real Real 4000 v.2 hooked up to your computer. (pause) Unlike me. GOOBER Just take in the smells of the mountain air— GIMP —I have, using my Virtual Scent WafterMatic add-on for my Virtual Real Real 4000 v.2. Only works on the Virtual Real Real 4000 v.2, version 1.0 will never get it. A FURRY CRITTER scurries across the path.
You'll want to look at Fountain.io to see how to add a title page.

You can also import your Fountain formatted script into Trelby, KIT Scenarist or WriterSolo (all free to download) and save to PDF from there.
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Last edited by Centos : 08-03-2019 at 03:53 AM.
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Old 08-03-2019, 03:21 AM   #9
Merrick
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Default Re: Reformatting from left-justified

Quote:
Originally Posted by finalact4 View Post
i'm curious, you only plan on writing one script? have you been writing in courier 12pt? how have you been keeping track of how many pages it is?
Complicated questions!

I thought this would be my one and only script. Along the way, I came up with several other ideas I'd love to write.

I have a completely different career and do not need to make screenwriting my job. So, it was more of an opportunity to do something I've really wanted to since childhood. And frankly not sure I'd want to do this as a profession, as the time constraints don't seem attractive.

Simple answer: I don't know.

About the page count, because this isn't meant to be a career, I just wrote what I wanted. I am aware that page count is significant in getting financing. Some of my final stages are hacking out as many pages and lines of dialogue as possible while not changing the meaning. I tried doing a rough "translation" to script format along the way for a reference. If it's accurate, it puts my script at a bit over 200 pages. Yikes, I know.

I'm hoping in these final stages that I can shrink it to around the 180-page level. I think the material supports a three hour film but not more.

Regarding everyone else's replies. I'm blown away. So many good suggestions here, and I can't thank you enough. I was only aware of Final Draft. But I'm sure something here will work.

I wrote it in the kind of format you see in printed plays so it was easy for my beta readers.

Character: "Dialogue dialogue blah blah."

With some simple Find->Replace functions, it can easily be changed to the fountain format mentioned. Slug lines don't exist yet but I put slashes (/) and line breaks between scenes, and a short description of location. So, that's also a very easy fix.

Very appreciative! And if all else fails, I'll drop a message here.

Since some of these suggestions rely on demo versions, I'll wait until the very end. I'm punching up some of the last lines of dialogue I wasn't satisfied with, hacking away at a couple scenes I think aren't 100% yet. Couple more days, and I'll migrate to script format.

Thanks all!
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Old 08-03-2019, 05:27 PM   #10
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Default Re: Reformatting from left-justified

it's fine to not know, for sure. it's just if you're going to continue to write screenplays, software takes a lot off your mind-- makes the journey easier.

typically scripts fall in the under 120 range. not always, and, of course, there are exceptions. Sorkin writes long drafts, for example, but he's Sorkin, so...

self-editing is a valuable skill.

i will say that you're probably going to be surprised how much longer it will be when you add sluglines/scene headers.

however you progress, good luck and congratulations on completing your first script. it's commendable.
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