Geek Alert

Introducing AlphaBirds

Today, we’re releasing a new game called AlphaBirds. It’s a word game like Scrabble or Boggle, but faster and more fun.

There are no black beans in France

France doesn’t have black beans. And this is a problem for someone who eats them every day.

How and why we made the One Hit Kill app

Because OHK is designed to grow and change — both with our own expansion packs and user-created variants — we wanted to be able to quickly update and “officialize” rules to reflect the state of the game.

How color timing works

Daryn Okada offers a great look at how a cinematographer approaches color-timing a feature in this latest video from The Academy.

Screenplays on the Kindle, 2015 edition

A screenwriter friend just emailed me to ask how she could get one of her scripts to look good on the Kindle. You can’t. It’s the wrong tool for the job.

In praise of flat adverbs

It’s not simply a matter of do-what-you-want. These words really are adverbs, they just look like their related adjective forms.

Critics, Characters and Business Affairs

John and Craig were delighted to join the Slate Culture Gabfest on stage to talk about the gulf between critics and creators. We have the audio from that, and additional thoughts on the issue.

Checking batches of PDFs

Automator can easily assemble the PDF metadata I want.

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 […]

Try to open this PDF, cont’d

No standalone file is safe from someone with enough time and the right tools. But for something like a screenplay, encryption is quite a bit better than I expected.

Try to open this PDF

I’ve gotten several password-protected scripts recently, and I’ve wondered whether it’s any more than security theater.

Fountain for coders, or the joy of writing

Charles Forman, whose company OMGPOP developed Draw Something, is writing a screenplay in Fountain, and developing new tools along the way.

Scanning scripts on your iPhone with Weekend Read + Prizmo

With two iPhone apps, you can go from a printed screenplay to one customized for your phone in Weekend Read.

My First Mac

The Mac turned 30 today, unleashing a wave of nostalgia for people’s first Macs. Mine was the original Mac SE with a 20MB hard drive.

Source code on screen

Finally, a Tumblr documenting and discussing all those scrolling shots of code on computer screens in movies and television. I love when directors and production designers take the time to get this right. And look! Here’s some vintage Prince of Persia.

Writing in Fountain on the iPad, using Editorial

Editorial is one of the slickest text editors for the iPad, and thanks to some clever Python scripting, it can now show previews of Fountain scripts.

How to convert a PDF to Final Draft

Screenwriters often find themselves with PDF of a screenplay when they actually need a Final Draft (.fdx) file that they can edit. Here are three ways to convert from PDF to fdx, ranging from painful to sublime.

Puppet person needed

For an upcoming project, I’m looking to hire a puppet designer. Since I’ve often had great luck finding talented folk among my readership, I thought I’d put out the call. You might be the right person, or know the right person.

Shirts back in the Store

Through Friday, November 15th, we’ll be taking orders for a new batch of shirts. They’ll ship starting December 2nd, in time for the holidays. Like last time, we’ll only print what people order, so if you want a shirt, you need to order now.

How we record Scriptnotes

Many listeners have asked how Craig and I record our weekly podcast, so here’s a quick rundown of our standard operating procedure.

Save to Dropbox

An upcoming project at Quote-Unquote Apps involves heavy use of Dropbox, so we’ve been experimenting with their developer API. Today, we added “Save to Dropbox” for all the scripts in the Library.

Storing stuff in other people’s houses

Often, the best backup strategy is giving it away.

Escaping the activation server loop

Last night, my iPhone suddenly insisted that it needed to be activated, but then refused to be activated. Here’s how I finally got it working.

Use whatever camera works

There’s no one “right” camera. The best camera for making a movie is the one that works for your style, story and budget.

A few words on passwords

Several followers wrote back about my password-site suggestion, asking some variation of “why would you willingly type your password into a website for no reason?” Subtext: “You idiot.”