.fountain files & File->Import

I was perplexed when I attempted to import a plain text file that I was fiddling with (a text transcript of a podcast that I had modified to fit the fountain screenplay syntax), and it just imported the text as-is. Nothing was converted to screenplay mode, so I thought I’d done something wrong when named it without an extension.

So I renamed it to have the .fountain extension, and went to File->Import->Plain Text Formatted Screenplay… but when I attempted to select the transcript.fountain file, it was greyed out and unselectable.

I went to the manual, and eventually was reminded that I could drag a file in to the binder, an action I thought would be less likely to parse the fountain syntax automatically. But that worked. I have since discovered that if I use File->Import->Files, instead of the plain text formatted screenplay, that will also work.

So, my feedback is that it’s confusing that there is a “Plain Text Formatted Screenplay” import option that is not compatible with .fountain. Shouldn’t it just detect that the incoming file has that extension and use the Fountain import code, instead of the user having to learn that file-import-files is the correct option?

I realize at this late stage that “plain text” in this context is not the opposite of “rich text”, but rather “plain” as opposed to some form of “markup” text, but it’s taken me this long to figure this out… I can’t be the only one, can I? Maybe an option right next to the plain text one for fountain-formatted scripts, to make the distinction clear?

“Plain Text Formatted Screenplay” is a specific (somewhat non-standard, but older) format that is separate from Fountain. It is the same result you’ll get when compiling using the format preset by the same name, and it’s the format that is recommended for CeltX and Movie Magic Screenwriter. So I don’t know, that would be kind of strange if it let you choose a file format that is definitely not for Fountain, even if its name has in time become confused with a more popular format? Then again, maybe this “format’s” days are numbered. I have heard that both of those can import Fountain now.

At any rate, you can also use the Import & Split tool on Fountain files, it will detect the format and important scenes as documents—probably not something you need for what you were using it for though.

Yeah, but that’s not readily apparent unless you’re already aware of the distinction. And even then, “plain, human-readable text” is how the Fountain main page describes the format, so it’s hardly a great leap from that description to “plain text formatted screenplay.”

To me, “plain text” has always been the distinction one draws between ascii/unicode files and rtf/doc/docx/pages kinds of files. Surely I’m not alone in this? Is my techie/unix background clouding my view of how non-technical writers might think of the Fountain format?

No I agree, that’s why I said that the older name for this style of format could be confused. But what else are we going to call it? /File/Import/Plain Text Formatted Screenplay But Not Fountain… ? :slight_smile: How would do you describe this format, because that’s exactly what it is: a .txt file that acts a little bit like Fountain.