Bells and Whistles #2

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  • Bells and Whistles #2

    NOTE: This article is an abbreviated version of a PDF article on my website. I encourage you to download the PDF file. It includes graphics and a much more detailed discussion. The use of Scene Versions is not all that difficult, but to explain the feature is much easier with the help of graphics. The PDF file is not listed in an index. You have to click this address (or type it in) to download it.

    http://www.rolandstroud.com/FadeIn/F...neVersions.pdf

    My focus in the "Bells and Whistles" series is definitely on ‹Fade In›. However, I will include a few remarks about ‹Final Draft› if that application has something similar in its set of tools. For the subject of scene versions, I was not able to find a similar feature in ‹Final Draft 10›.

    ---------------------

    BELLS AND WHISTLES #2

    Scene Versions

    In another article I discussed the powerful "alternates" feature of ‹Fade In›. That feature allows a writer to work on and save multiple versions of any paragraph. (I also remarked on a similar feature, which only works for dialogue, in ‹Final Draft›.)

    How About Scenes?

    I do not know how often the need arises, but at least occasionally it must be convenient to have multiple versions, not only of paragraphs, but of whole scenes. ‹Fade In› lets you do that in a fairly easy manner.

    How to Create Scene Versions

    I am going to walk you through a very simple example that shows you the steps for creating three scene versions (the original plus two alternate versions).

    A Reassurance. Before I launch into the creation and deletion of scenes, I want to offer a reassuring fact. You manage your scene versions through a dialog window. With this dialog you can rename the scene labels, change to a different version, or delete a version. In fact, you can delete all the versions from the list, including the one that is currently open. However, the currently open scene is only deleted from the list of available versions. It is not deleted from the editing screen, where you can continue to work on it. Consequently, you do not lose everything if you delete all the versions in the dialog window.

    An Example. Here is a simple scene that shows a young couple moving into a house. Two little boys come along on their bicycles, and they speak to the man of the house. I am calling this version the ORIGINAL version.

    (VERSION) ORIGINAL
    Code:
    EXT. GRAYSON HOUSE — DAY
    
    A large moving van is parked in front of the house. Two movers
    finish up their job by putting away a dolly and closing various
    doors of the truck.
    
    Two little boys, about 7 and 9, ride along the street on
    bicycles. They stop close by and watch the two movers.
    
    One of the movers slides the loading door of the van closed. The
    other mover passes a clipboard to Pierce, who signs something on
    it.
    
    The movers get into the van and drive off.
    
                            OLDER KID
              Hey, mister, you got any kids?
    
                            PIERCE
              No, not yet.
    
                            YOUNGER KID
              Did you know they call this the Snake House?
    
    Hesper pops out of the house and yells at Pierce.
    
                            HESPER
              Hey, slowpoke, let's get to work. It's ten
              o'clock. We can open some boxes before
              lunchtime.
    
                            OLDER KID
              Bye, mister.
    
    The Kids ride off on their bicycles.
    Creating the First Version. So what do I do now to store this short scene as a version that I can retrieve later if I need to?

    It is simple. If I right-click anywhere in the scene, a pop-up menu appears.

    In the menu I click ‹Add› and then ‹Scene Version›. When another dialog opens, I click the ‹Add Current› button. My scene is now available in the Scene Versions list.

    However, all the buttons in the dialog are grayed out except ‹Close› — so what the heck do I do! Answer: The trick is to click on the scene text that is visible in the Scenes Versions list. VoilĂ  — the buttons become active.

    The date-and-time label in bold at the top of the version is not as helpful as a descriptive tag would be. So I click on ‹Edit Label› and get a pop-up dialog that shows the current label, which I can edit.

    I change the label to ORIGINAL.

    Finally, I click ‹OK› and see my version with a proper label.

    I click ‹Close›, and I am back in the editing window.

    Creating the Second Version. I want to revise the scene and still have the kids in it, but without any dialogue. I also want the kids to behave differently. In the first version, they were unafraid and inquisitive. But now, instead of stopping to watch the movers and talk to Pierce, they pedal their bikes faster as they ride by the house.

    To create this second version, I simply edit the scene. Then I save it as a version and rename the tag to KIDS - NO TALK.

    (VERSION) KIDS - NO TALK
    Code:
    EXT. GRAYSON HOUSE — DAY
    
    A large moving van is parked in front of the house. Two movers
    finish up their job by putting away a dolly and closing various
    doors of the truck.
    
    Two little boys, about 7 and 9, ride along the street on
    bicycles. When they approach the moving van, they pedal their
    bikes faster. The younger kid glances at the house
    apprehensively. They ride by the house as fast as they can.
    
    One of the movers slides the loading door of the van closed. The
    other mover passes a clipboard to Pierce, who signs something on
    it.
    
    The movers get into the van and drive off.
    
    Hesper pops out of the house and yells at Pierce.
    
                           HESPER
              Hey, slowpoke, let's get to work. It's ten
              ten o'clock. We can open some boxes before 
              lunchtime.
    Having revised my scene for a second version, I right-click anywhere in the scene to bring up the menu that I have already seen.

    The Scene Versions dialog pops up.

    To add the second version (which is currently displayed) I click ‹Add Current›. The menu now shows the second version, which has a date-and-time label.

    To change the label to a descriptive one, I click on the text, just as before, and then click ‹Edit Label›. I change the label to KIDS - NO TALK.

    When I close the Scene Versions dialog, I am back in the editing window. I am ready to create a third version.

    Creating the Third Version. In this third version, the kids are gone entirely. But one of the movers speaks and reveals some tantalizing information.

    The first step, of course, is to revise the scene to make it present what I want for the third version. After I create the version, I will change the label to NO KIDS - DRIVER SPEAKS.

    (VERSION) NO KIDS - DRIVER SPEAKS
    Code:
    EXT. GRAYSON HOUSE — DAY
    
    A large moving van is parked in front of the house. Two movers, a
    DRIVER and a HELPER, finish up their job by putting away a dolly
    and closing various doors of the truck.
    
    The Helper slides the loading door of the van closed. The Driver
    passes a clipboard to Pierce, who signs something on it.
    
                           PIERCE
    Thanks a lot, fellows.
    
                           DRIVER
              You know, we delivered here a year ago. 
              Then we had to do a pickup for the same 
              people about six months later. They 
              didn't say much. They just acted nervous, 
              and muttered something about snakes.
    
                           PIERCE
              Oh, yeah ... I understand.
    
                           DRIVER
              I'm glad somebody does. Good luck.
    
    The movers get into the van and drive off.
    
    Hesper pops out of the house and yells at Pierce.
    
                           HESPER
                Hey, slowpoke, let's get to work. It's 
                ten o'clock. We can open some boxes 
                before lunchtime.
    I go through the same steps again to add this scene to the Scene Versions list. And, of course, I edit the label to be something descriptive.
    It occurs to me that a really good fourth version would be to combine two of the three, so that in the fourth the kids ride by the house fearfully but the moving-van Driver also speaks to Pierce. In fact, one of the benefits of having scene versions is that, by saving readily recoverable versions, you can get ideas about how to combine things from them.
    Check the Scene Versions. Now that I have three scenes, I want to see what the list looks like.

    This time, instead of right-clicking just anywhere within the scene, I am going to right-click specifically in the scene heading (EXT. GRAYSON HOUSE — DAY). Doing this brings up a ‹Scene Versions› item in the pop-up menu. I click ‹Scene Versions›, and now I see my three scenes in the list.

    If I decide that I want to go back to my ORIGINAL scene, I click on ORIGINAL. The buttons become active, and I select ‹Revert To›. As soon as I do this, my scene in the script reverts to the ORIGINAL version.
    NOTE: Let's say that I have three versions in the list. I go back to the editing screen, where I may or may not make some changes. But then I decide that I really want to stick with one of the three versions that I already have. So I go to the Scene Versions list, where I try to revert to, maybe, the ORIGINAL version. When I click ‹Revert To›, ‹Fade In› pops up a warning that asks me if I want to save my work. ‹Fade In› issues this warning because it thinks that I may have forgotten to save a new (fourth) version. If I revert to another version without saving any recent changes to a fourth version, those changes are lost. However, this warning is confusing, because it pops up even if I have made no changes to the current scene. If I do not want to create a fourth version, I just click ‹No› and move on.
    The Scene Versions feature is yet another powerful tool that ‹Fade In› provides.

    (Follow me on Twitter: @RolandRayStroud)

    (* Tags: stroud screenwriting software bells whistles fade_in fadein alternates scene versions *)
    Last edited by ComicBent; 07-19-2017, 01:07 PM.

    "The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." - ComicBent.

  • #2
    Re: Bells and Whistles #2

    Worked through your "lesson," it worked great. I don't know that I would (personally) ever use it but it's a cool feature. I think both of these "bell and whistle" features you've highlighted would be much more valuable when collaborating.
    STANDARD DISCLAIMER: I'm a wannabe, take whatever I write with a huge grain of salt.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Bells and Whistles #2

      Thanks, Centos.

      I really do put a lot of effort into these articles, and I hope, each time, that I have not messed anything up in the explanation.

      I am sure that you know how it is. It is easy to do something yourself, even if you have an imperfect knowledge of all the steps, but explaining it to someone else is tricky. When you yourself are performing the task at issue, you know that you need to flip through a menu here and there, and then you pick something that you will recognize when you see it, etc. But when you write a tutorial, you cannot repeatedly tell people, "Go here ... and then you'll figure it out."

      I have posted a third article, this one on using Fountain. That will be my last "Bells and Whistles" article for a while, but I have many others that I will work on and post later. Beginning next week, I will be involved in some work for the next few weeks that may not allow me much time for anything else.

      "The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." - ComicBent.

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