Preview Fountain Screenplays in Drafts

Two or three years ago, I got my degree in film. I wanted to be a screenwriter since the beginning of the course and I graduated as one, with a script written in a syntax developed by John August, Nima Yousefi and Stu Maschwitz called Fountain. Screenwriting has a strict formatting rules and used to require either expensive (Final Draft) or bloated (Celtx) software; Fountain took the game to plain text.

There are affordable alternatives on the Mac and iOS such as the Fade In suite nowadays, but I still advocate Fountain as I would Markdown. Highland and Scrivener aids me on the Macbook; yet I'm disinclined to pick my iOS devices to proceed my writing.

Writing Kit previews Fountain files1 and I can neither confirm nor deny that Editorial will support the syntax soon. Meanwhile, I wrote a parser for Fountain files in Drafts.

Excerpt from Big Fish by John August.

Matt Daly wrote a Fountain parser in Javascript and I copied–pasted it as a JS action step in Drafts with frivolous modifications, such as skipping the title page entirely and allowing commas in character names. I tested sparsely, therefore, report exceptions you find. I didn't test the preview on the iPhone at all and suggestions on the formatting are welcome.

You can download the action here.

For the best results, I use Courier Prime, an open source typeface by Alan Dague-Greene. I use iZip Pro to unzip the font family — There's a free, lite version you can use. I install the typefaces with AnyFont, a $2 utility dedicated to that. You may think that's a steep price just to change a typeface, but I'll show you the difference.

Comparing Courier New to Courier Prime. The latter outshines.

I don't care how you do it, but I pledge you to set Courier Prime on this. I still prefer to read screenplays with Weekend Read, but this is nice to peek while you write your story.

  1. Jamie Billett reminded me that Write for iPad also supports Fountain preview. I know it also supports x-callback-url