When I started writing the screenplay for my animated short “Daydream“, I wanted to try something different.
For a while now, I have been using a program called Scrivener to write any screenplays. Scrivener is a software dedicated for writers that I really enjoyed using. However, I had one problem with it; it doesn’t have a Linux version. As a Linux user, the only way I could use Scrivener is through Wine, which makes it possible to run Windows applications on Linux. Scrivener runs really well on Wine, but I am not a huge fan of using Wine. So, I was forced to write only on my Windows laptop whenever I wanted to do any screenwriting.
However, a while ago, I discovered Fountain. Fountain is not a software; it is a simple and elegant markup language for screenwriters. You don’t need a special software to use it; any simple text editor would work. This solves my initial problem, as I can write my screenplays on my daily Linux workstation, but I can still use my laptop whenever I am on the move.
What I really liked about Fountain is the simplicity. There is something very elegant about being able to open a simple text editor and just write. No complex software, no need to remember any shortcuts and no noise. Just a blank page waiting for you to fill it with your ideas.
The syntax of the language is very simple. For the most part, you won’t need to do any extra work. And if you need to do something a little bit more advanced, all you need to do is add some extra annotations and you are good to go. You can find a tutorial on the language’s syntax here.
As I said, all you need is a simple text editor. I personally use VSCodium, the community-driven, freely-licensed binary distribution of Visual Studio Code. Both VSCodium and Visual Studio Code have a Fountain extension on the marketplace. It generates a preview on-the-fly and enables me to export the screenplay as a PDF at any point in time.
I would highly recommend giving Fountain a try for anyone looking for a simple and fun screenwriting experience.