paul skidmore andparabolos

cinematic storytelling, strategy, and advice

at some point all of those notes, cocktail napkin sketches, ideas, pictures stolen from flickr, etc. end up turning into words somewhere.  for the writer, it begins a long time ago, but for everyone else on the production (including your financiers), it all starts with the script.  i have found i don’t feel all that creative locked away in my home office.  whenever i try to write at home, end up getting a lot of laundry done instead.  so i go out among people; i need something to focus against in order to really be productive.  i bought my 17″ MacBook Pro as a desktop replacement over three years ago, and lugging it around often feels like overkill for what is essentially advanced word processing, especially now that i have my iPhone.  but i’m a Final Draft guy, as is a lot of the industry.  i can’t seriously expect to write industry-formatted screenplays on a tiny pocket-sized device can i?  i was surprised to find out…

as i continue my series detailing parabolos portable production, part two of my section on development covers screenwriting for iPhone.


Screenplay (iTunes store link)

Black Mana Studios

after i got my iPhone, the one thing i said i’d continue to use my laptop for was screenwriting.  then i found Screenplay.  it was available for nine bucks and is Final Draft (.fdx) compatible.  frankly, if a screenplay app isn’t Final Draft compatible, it’s useless to me.  i’ve gotten so used to script formatting over the years, i almost think in it.  Final Draft’s formatting style and method is so second-nature to me, it actually takes me longer to write prose treatments than it does to hash out entire scenes.  Final Draft compatibility is essential.  the latest update improves the round-tripping process by keeping all metadata (script notes, scene navigator info, etc.) intact.  i find it very easy to use.  the way you use it is a little different than you may expect, but i like it, given the limited viewable screenspace of the iPhone, especially with the keyboard open, ESPECIALLY in landscape.

while we’re on the subject, i’m sure most people are skeptical of typing/reading on an iPhone.  certainly, i was.  about day 3 of owning my iPhone i got very used to typing on the keyboard for e-mails and whatnot.  then started using Quickoffice to compose scratch documents or first drafts of company stuff, including sections of our business plan.  by the time i discovered Screenplay, typing on the iPhone was fast and painless for me; i realize not everyone is going to feel that way, but i think it’s great.  it’s not great for very long screenplays that require a lot of little fixes, or for heavy editing (moving sections, etc.) but for just getting some stuff written or starting a screenplay, it works really well.

certainly the screensize argument is no longer an issue on iPad, especially if they quickly develop an iPad version of the app.  doubling it to fill the screen is okay, but seems like it’d be a pretty quick code re-write to make the app iPad sized, giving the user more screenspace to read/edit/write.  even just the standard iPhone app will get my by for a while as i wait on:

Final Draft for iPad

Final Draft, Inc.

just in beta as i type this, i’ve read a good report about it from the guys over at Hand Held Hollywood. i am very much wanting to get my hands on this.  would love to also see Tagger for iPad.  seems like it would work really well, though may have to be redesigned from the ground up.  i am typically frustrated with “industry-standard” software, as i find much of it to be clunky and poorly designed from a software standpoint, but Final Draft’s commitment to making a great app for the new iPad shows that those winds may be a-changing. maybe there are some benefits to that “closed” system after all.


soon i’ll post development part iii – the pitch.  if you missed development part i – the research, check it out here.  if you have any additions, questions, or requests, be sure and leave a comment.


skidmore | administrator

believer. follower. filmmaker.

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