Tools

Slugline. Simple, elegant screenwriting.

Red Giant Color Suite, with Magic Bullet Looks 2.5 and Colorista II

Needables
  • Sony Alpha a7S Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera
    Sony Alpha a7S Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera
    Sony
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only)
    Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only)
    Panasonic
  • TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder
    TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder
    TASCAM
  • The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap (Peachpit)
    The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap (Peachpit)
    by Stu Maschwitz
Wednesday
Feb082012

SPMD is now Fountain

Screenplay Markdown has a new home, a new name, and some very cool new friends.

Screenwriting Nerds Unite

As the SPMD spec was making the rounds late last year, I was contacted by John August, a well-known screenwriter and the creator of Scrippets, an elegant tool for embedding short sections of a screenplay in a blog or web site, using formatting hinted from plain text. It turns out John was actively working on expanding Scrippets into something that could support an entire screenplay—in other words, exactly SPMD’s charter.

When we compared notes, the similarities between his format, called Fountain, and SPMD were overwhelming. We decided that we would merge our efforts into one. And his name was way better.

Check out the beautiful new Fountain site, created by John, Ryan Nelson, Nima Yousefi, and me. You’ll recognize much of the content as originating from the SPMD spec.

I’ll pause here to gush a bit: I am delighted to be working with John. That he is a respected, working writer/director, a huge nerd who both blogs and podcasts eloquently, a software designer, a father, and a genuinely nice guy, makes me feel a little less crazy for attempting do be all those things at once as well.

Your New Screenwriting Software: Anything You Like

Fountain is everything SPMD was, now with the support of a respected industry pro with a track record of creating best-in-class apps for screenwriters. There are some minor changes to the syntax, but the mission is still the same:

  • Allow screenwriters to write anywhere, using any tools they choose
  • Support all the formatting conventions of a modern screenplay
  • Archive screenplays in an obsolescence-proof format
  • Welcome developers to support the format

If this is the first you’re learning about all this, read more on the Fountain FAQ, or check out John’s announcement post.

Apps Out the Gate

Using Writing Kit for iPad to edit a Fountain screenplaySPMD champions Martin Vilcans, Brett Terpstra, and Jonathan Poritsky have been working hard to bring the SPMD + Marked workflow in line with the new Fountain spec. Check out Fountain for Marked.

Kent Tessman, creator of the Fade In family of screenwriting apps, was an early contributor to and outspoken advocate of the SPMD spec. He has updated Fade In to import and export Fountain files.

There is open-source code available now on Fountain’s Developer Resources page.

For a complete list, check out the Fountain Apps page. But remember: the best Fountain app is one you already have—your favorite text editor, on any platform.

Fountain: Act I

Neither John nor I are done with Fountain. There are wonderfully cool things to come. So stay tuned. Or just get busy! Script Frenzy is coming up—maybe you could be the first person to write an entire feature-length screenplay in Fountain.

Read John’s announcement post here (if for no other reason than to learn the origin of the name Fountain), and if you haven’t seen his screenwriting-related apps, check out FDX Reader for iPad and Bronson Watermarker for Mac.

Reader Comments (8)

Stu,
I am not a screenwriter, and I was not thinking of writing a script/screenplay - But now I want to try this! You have put so much practical thought into SPMD and from my brief experiences at The O, I know your input on this has most certainly made the result better! Very cool stuff!

February 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterMatt Moses

.INT OFFICE

MATT
Stu, I am not a screenwriter, and I was not thinking of writing a script/screenplay -

STU
(internal chuckle, apathetic gaze)

MATT
- But now I want to try this! You have put so much practical thought into SPMD and from my brief experiences at The O, I know your input on this has most certainly made the result better! Very cool stuff!

STU
(genuine smile, turns back to his computer screen intently)

February 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterMatt Moses

My two favourite bloggers working together? Love it!

The two of you share professionalism with kind of grounded enthusiasm that's exciting and informed; I always read what you both say with care. Because you say it with care.

You've managed to turn my iPad into a screenwriting device. Thankyou Stu!

February 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterDavid Wigram

Hi Stu

I've followed SPMD from your first post on it. I've been using Screenplay for iOS for awhile but the exporting to a successful file on a Mac has led me to writing sad songs so I am feeling very positive about this development.

Had a thought...what about writing in fountain directly into the notes app on the iPhone?. These sync with your Mac wirelessly and automatically via Mail. I recon this would be a pretty cool way to write in the format.

Can you recommend the best app (in your considered opinion) for writing from iOS with a the best way to get your fountain marked app into Scrivener on the Mac?

Thank you Mr Maschwitz

Cheers

Alan

February 15, 2012 | Registered CommenterAlan Eddy

Alan, Notes would be a perfectly reasonable app to get writing in Fountain. That's exactly the idea.

Personally, I prefer Dropbox syncing text apps like Elements and Writing Kit. The next update to Elements will support the .fountain extension, and Writing Kit can be configured to open any file extension you like.

But by all mean, use whatever you like. That's the whole point.

February 15, 2012 | Registered CommenterStu

Update: in Mountain Lion Notes becomes a darn fine way to write in Fountain.

February 20, 2012 | Registered CommenterStu

Yeah, I like Dropbox too! The Lion notes tweet looks promising. As soon as I get a free minute I will give Fountain a go. So it looks like Elements might be a good place to start for a dedicated app. I think Scrivener can drop box too. I really wanna use Scriv as my Mac Grand central writing depot and get used to piping ideas to it from wherever I am either by iCloud or DB.

Thanks for a really simple workable solution...here's to it getting even better man.

February 28, 2012 | Registered CommenterAlan Eddy

I upgraded to the latest version of Elements, which now recognizes the .fountain file extension. Am I correct in my understanding that this is presently of no use? But having the .fountain file compatibility will be useful with some future version of Fountain?

March 4, 2012 | Registered CommenterGerry
Member Account Required
You must have a free and harmless member account in order to post comments. Log in to your account to enable posting. I don't use your information for anything, I just want you to be who you are.
« What I Do With My iPad Part 3: Read Screenplays | Main | FCP X Updated, Magic Bullet Looks 50% Off »