I’ve been writing a lot these past days… No, not here. In the real world.
I started this thing called an Outlining draft. I’m not sure if it’s a real thing, well, it is, but I’m not sure of it’s the same thing as I am doing… You see, what I’m doing right now is I’m basically writing the outline of my screenplay as though it is a screenplay. You could call it a very rough and unplanned first draft.
I’m doing this for two reasons. I’ve been starting at Word and Pages and my Notebook and Notes for far too long and the project started to feel dead in the water. I felt like it was never happening because I was over-thinking everything. I went off in every direction, and still wasn’t sure where to go. It was maddening.
I’ve written a bit of fiction lately, and the great thing about that is that you don’t have to think about it. Real writers probably do. But for me it’s just a bit of fun. A way to unwind from all the neurotic structuring and outlining and such. I just make it up as I go along, and it’s been really inspiring and exciting.
So, I decided my screenplay could do with the same sense of fun for a bit. So I’m basically writing actual script pages now. It’ll probably all be discarded at some point, but at least I feel like we’re going in the right direction. Like something is happening. Words are on paper. And so far, I’m quite happy with what’s emerging there. It’s the shadow of the story.
The second reason I dove into writing the actual screenplay is to test my new workflow. I’ve always been writing in Final Draft (except for that first year I wrote in Sophocles) and have always been pretty happy with it. But then I got an iPad to write on. And Final Draft isn’t available on the iPad yet. So that was a problem.
I tuned in to John August and Craig Mazin’s terrific podcast Scriptnotes a while ago and they discussed “Fade In” scriptwriting software, which is available on the iPad. I’m currently running the trial version (mostly because I don’t have a Credit card to buy the real version) and it is really great.
First of all; it looks like you expect professional software to look. Final Draft still looks like it is run on MS Dos. This thing looks completely different. At first I wasn’t completely sure about the look.. But now that I’ve gotten used to it I cannot image going back to Final Draft.
Second of all, and this is the main reason I am excited. It’s workflow is so efficient. It took me a little while to get all the Final Draft short cuts out of my system. But now it works effortless. Sure, it’s a bit of a hassle to switch, for example, Action to Character on my iPad… But I’m sure newer versions will work that out. Secondly, at least it runs on my iPad.
An it doesn’t just run. It runs really well in some ways. For instance, when I’m done, I can just upload it to my dropbox. This means that if I’m in a bar writing, when I’m done I just upload it there. Whatever happens to my iPad -stolen, burned, crushed- my files won’t be lost. And I never have to go through the hassle of emailing myself the files (which I often forget) so that when I’ve been working at home behind my computer. I’ll always have the latest file on my iPad as well.
So, Fade in. I’m a fan. And I urge you all to check it out. The test version works great. And the real version isn’t all that expensive. All you need is a credit card. :)