Sexy But Doesn’t Know It

John and Craig look at how to introduce characters in a screenplay — and how to avoid being mocked by a Twitter feed for it. We go back through previous Three Page Challenges and several of the screenplays nominated for awards this year to examine trends and techniques.

Formatting a montage in Highland using Forced Action

Highland’s forced action syntax is a useful way to format unusual patterns in your screenplay.

Switching from Final Draft to Highland

The Other Sam Cooke writes about switching from Final Draft to Highland.

The Deal with

Craig and John talk with the owner of to investigate what happened when the online screenwriting site suddenly went down this week, erasing four years of screenwriters’ work. When things went south, why did he try to distance himself from the debacle, and what comes next? It’s a candid discussion — but far less uncomfortable than the Final Draft episode.

Highland and other screenwriting apps on sale

Apple asked Highland and several other screenwriting apps to be part of their Explore Your Creativity promotion on the Mac App Store. It’s a great time to check out these apps at discounted prices, and perhaps pick a new favorite.

Selling without selling out

In their first-ever live streaming episode, John and Craig open the mailbag to answer a bunch of listener questions.

Photoplays and archetypes

In a wide-ranging episode, Craig and John look at a 1912 screenwriting book, Levinson’s beef with the WGA, and the Periodic Table of Storytelling.

Which apps are screenwriters using?

We had 57 entries for the Three Page Challenge we’re conducting on May 15th. I wondered which apps these screenwriters were using, so I checked the metadata for each file.1 App # of Entries % of Total Final Draft 8 18 32% (unclear)2 7 12% Fade In 7 12% Final Draft (Windows) 6 11% Slugline […]

On error messages

Brent Simmons has straightforward advice on error messages: They should be of the form “Can’t x because of y.” A similar form is this: “Noun can’t x because y.” (As in “‘’ can’t be opened because it is from an unidentified developer.”) Badly-written dialog boxes make me lose faith in an app very quickly. Here’s […]

Highland as a bona fide screenwriting app

Highland has become my go-to screenwriting app. Which is surprisingly, really, because it was never intended for writing.

Final Draft and WGA registration

On their website, Final Draft claims to be the preferred format for WGA registration. But that doesn’t gibe with the WGA’s own site.

Fountain 1.1 — “Use The Force”

Proposed changes in Fountain 1.1 focus on letting users force Lyric, Character and Action elements.

Final Draft, software and people

Final Draft reports abusive calls and emails that may have stemmed from Craig’s recent tirade on Scriptnotes. This is not okay at all.

Final Draft’s Reformat dialog box

Final Draft has long had a Reformat dialog box. I’ve long hated it. For Version 9, Final Draft made small revisions: Can you tell which is the old one and which is the new one? Hint: In the new one, there’s no space between the bracketed letters.

Why I like writing in Fountain

For the past 18 months, I’ve been doing all my new writing in Fountain rather than a heavyweight screenwriting app. I love it. I made a screencast to explain why it’s better.


Final Draft emailed me to recommend an alternate workflow to convert a screenplay PDF to FDX.

Taking notes

Craig leads the discussion on how to survive a notes meeting. As screenwriters, our instinct is to defend, deny and debate — but these are almost always the wrong choice. By reframing the discussion about the movie rather than the script, you can often end up at a better place.

Final Draft Reader’s limited view

Final Draft has released a new version of Final Draft Reader, adding support for iPhones to their heretofore iPad-only app.

Writing screenplays with Scrivener and iA Writer

A reader named Gerry wrote in to share his screenwriting workflow using Fountain, which includes Scrivener, iA Writer, Dropbox and Highland.

Falling in love with plain text

Stu Maschwitz explains how blogging led him to fall out of love with as-you-type formatting and embrace plain text.

Fountain, 10x faster

Nima Yousefi has released an optimized code base for Fountain that’s ten times faster.

Getting to page one

On the 41st Scriptnotes, John and Craig discuss screenwriting software, knowing when to start, and the Game of Thrones finale. But before moving on to new business, they update us on two topics of podcasts past.

Say hello to Highland

Our new screenwriting utility, Highland, converts between three major formats screenwriters use: PDF, Fountain and Final Draft. It’s in beta today.

Convert old Final Draft files, in five clever-but-tedious steps

A reader writes in with a clever workflow for opening old .fdr files without the full version of Final Draft. But it’s a laborious pain in the ass.

Introducing Fountain

Fountain lets you write screenplays in any text editor on any device, from computers to iPads to smartphones. It’s as simple as we could make it, which is what makes it so useful.