Exporting in screenplay format.

The only issue I have with Scrivener as a screenwriting software is the exporting. Most other softwares will format when you export, adding “cont’d” and “more” and things like that. Also during export, certain things won’t be split by a page break. For example you’ll never get a characters name on one page and their dialogue starting on the next, it will always keep character and their dialogue together. It will do this with scene headings too, not letting a scene heading be the final thing on a page, rather sending it to the top of the next page. This is just to avoid it looking weird, but I think it’s important for the flow of reading. I actually think it’s more important than the “cont’d” and “more” which can be distracting.

So my solution has been with the free screenwriting software called Celtx. I compile from Scrivener to Plain Text (Make sure to check “Convert to plain text: Paragraph spacing and indents”) (Also, after you click Compile, “append .txt extension”)

I import that txt file into Celtx (Script->Import Script->From Text…) Then Celtx has Typeset/PDF mode which automatically adds all the screenplay layout stuff (“Format Options” let’s you select what it does and doesn’t add). Then I save the pdf. Celtx does a perfect job at converting the plain text into screenplay format.

Something to note: You have to exclude the title page when exporting from Scrivener, Celtx doesn’t know how to import a title page. You can add a title page in Celtx.

Something else to note: It can’t be done offline. You need internet access for Typeset/PDF mode. The reason, from the Celtx wiki:

“The TypeSet service is a server accessible through the Internet and maintained by the Celtx team. It uses LaTeX to generate the .pdf output. This is maintained as an online service for ease of making updates to the service and to prevent the necessity of ensuring LaTeX support is installed and configured appropriately for Celtx on every users system. The TypeSet PDF is only available through the TypeSet service.”

Not totally sure what that means, but if Scrivener could implement whatever Celtx does to format screenplays… :smiley:


I definitely find I need to export into a purpose built screenplay application (I use MMS) to get the formatting right, and that’s what was intended - Scrivener’s about structuring and creating rather than formatting. I don’t find More’s and Conts too much of a problem - it’s more about catching the Action lines MMS turns into Character and Dialogue.

It works best as a one time thing: once it’s in MMS, it pretty much has to stay there which can be a bit of a pain for the final ‘send it to mates before producers see it’ draft. I often end up changing stuff in MMS on my final passes, and then doing a rewrite based on the comments back from friends.

I can re-import the MMS draft, and the scenes get neatly divided into documents, but I tend to use documents for story beats (which are generally several scenes). The ability to do this is one of the main advantages for me of using Scrivener.

I can’t see a way round this, really. Scrivener’s never going to be able to read my mind about which scenes I want to pull together as documents, so I have to do it manually. In a way, that’s good - another read through as I manually combine scenes into documents never does any harm, but it does take a bit of time.