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Write your screenplay on Linux in Fountain markdown

A screenplay is the blueprint for a film, and it was once written on a typewriter. You purchased the typewriter, and you can write a screenplay. And not only one screenplay, however a lot of them. You might write screenplays till typewriters fell out of trend.

The puzzling factor is, although, that as expertise for writing grew to become “better,” the tougher it bought to write down screenplays. There are strict formatting guidelines within the screenplay world carried out to assist the Assistant Director (AD) on a movie shoot estimate how lengthy every scene would take to shoot. You’d suppose that a pc would make this simpler than the solely guide course of required on a typewriter. Yet, well-liked computer systems managed to limit writers with costly software program that grew to become embedded in Hollywood tradition. If you did not have the precise software program, you have been advised that you can by no means be a critical screenwriter.

All that modified with open supply software program, although, and one of many easiest strategies of writing screenplays is to not use particular software program in any respect. The Fountain markdown method requires only a plain textual content editor, like Atom, Kate, Gedit, or comparable, and it exports to a correctly formatted HTML or PDF screenplay.

Install Fountain

Fountain would not require set up as a result of it is not software program; it is a algorithm you employ as you write. You already observe guidelines when writing: you capitalize the primary letter of a sentence, finish every sentence with a full-stop, and so forth. When you write in Fountain, you add a number of new guidelines particular to screenplays.


In a screenplay, every scene is delimited by a line written in capital letters, beginning with both INT. or EXT., a location, a touch, and the time of day. These directions are known as slugs. Conveniently, that is additionally the rule in Fountain, so there’s nothing new to recollect to create a slug.



When an actor is required to carry out a selected motion, a screenplay incorporates motion textual content. This is regular prose, written precisely as you’d write textual content in a ebook. All regular guidelines apply, so nothing new to recollect for motion textual content.

A wizard wanders out of an ideal stone door. She approaches the middle of the courtyard and pauses. Something's caught her eye.

It's a ebook. She leans down and picks it up.


Screenplays format dialog indented from each left and proper margins. To an informal viewer, it’d seem centered, but it surely’s really left-justified. It’s formatted this manner to assist actors find their strains and to pressure the screenplay to take up extra space for spoken dialog as a result of, in films, that is typically what occupies a lot of the operating time.

In Fountain, the rule for dialog is to write down the title of the character who’s talking in capital letters. On the following line, write the dialog usually.


I can sense your energy. Grep? Sed? What unusual phrases!

When you export your screenplay, the dialog will get adjusted with the suitable formatting.


It’s considerably fallen out of favor now, however historically, there have been indications of particular transitions in screenplays as a result of, way back, some transitions price some huge cash. You nonetheless see transitions in screenplays immediately, but it surely’s typically meant extra as a kind of punctuation mark for a bunch of scenes (or, within the case of the basic FADE OUT., the entire film) reasonably than an precise instruction for the editor.

To create a transition in Fountain, prefix your textual content with the greater-than image (>).


The ebook's title web page. It reads "Introduction to Linux."


More guidelines

You can use many different markdown conventions in your screenplays, equivalent to asterisks to italicize, embolden, and underline textual content. And there are but extra guidelines in Fountain for edge circumstances and stylistic exceptions, however these 4 guidelines are all you want more often than not.

The simplicity of Fountain, although, demonstrates how nicely designed the screenplay format was 100 years in the past. It had an ordinary construction that made it straightforward for human eyes to parse, and such predictability interprets nicely for laptop parsing, as nicely.

Exporting and rendering

Once you are performed writing, you possibly can export your screenplay to its correct format utilizing a rendering software. There are several renderers available, however one among my favorites is the Atom editor. To configure Atom to show Fountain previews recordsdata within the acceptable format, and to export them to PDF while you’re performed, go to the Edit menu, choose Preferences, and click on the Install hyperlink within the left panel. In the search subject, sort fountain and set up the Fountain plugin launched by developer superlou.

You’re prompted to agree to put in a few of its dependencies because it installs. Once all the pieces’s put in, you possibly can go to the Packages menu, choose Fountain, and both view a preview of your screenplay or export a PDF model.

There’s a fountain-mode for Emacs, too, which has the added comfort of performing some primary formatting as you sort.

Regardless of what textual content editor you employ, you possibly can all the time render your screenplay utilizing devoted functions. There’s a Python module referred to as Screenplain that works nicely for me. To set up it, sort this right into a terminal:

$ python3 -m pip set up 'screenplain[PDF]' --user

To render a screenplay to PDF:

$ screenplain --format pdf myscreenplay.fountain > script.pdf

Screenplays with open supply

Fountain is about comfort. You can write your screenplay with out the complexity of a particular software.

Fountain is about finances. You can write your screenplay with out pricey software program.

Fountain is about flexibility. You can create within the software you already use for writing.

And Fountain is about preservation. You will not lose entry to your work as a result of an software goes out of fashion, or out of enterprise, or as a result of you possibly can’t afford it.

There are many nice causes to make use of Fountain, however an important one is that it helps you concentrate on creativity. If you’ve got bought a film in thoughts, write it in Fountain. It’s step one to what might be a really thrilling journey.

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