Longer sluglines for index cards?

Don’t know whether this belongs here or the Wishlist…

I’m a screenwriter, and I card out movies on the wall. I use sentences almost nearly longer than what’s allowed above the red line in the index card view… is there a a way to customize this view to fit more text?

All best,

Patrick

No, I’m afraid not - the header area of the index card is a regular text field, which don’t really allow wrapping. You can change the font via the Preferences to make it smaller, though, so that more text will fit on it, if that’s what you mean.

I am in the middle of updates on the corkboard at the moment and will certainly take a look at this, although I can’t promise anything. Technically, a title could be of unlimited length so that it could run on and push the text right down, which might be rather awkward, so there is something to be said for limiting its display to one line…

All the best,
Keith

please allow me to make a play for the option of flexibility with/disability of this feature – I think the option to move that red line or discard it altogether would make Scrivener near perfect for screenwriters… and I think this has to do with, at least in screenwriting – the shifty nature of the word “beat”.

  1. First let me say that many professional screenwriters use cards so they can put them on the wall, then BACK AWAY, maybe sit down, peruse from a distance and stare from ±5ft. away. I don’t know anyone who uses sluglines at the index card stage. I know that doesn’t matter on the computer, however, the below does:

All of the below are beats, the first sequence in fact, of a movie called GERALDINE BRADSHAW.

DICK eyes a girl, GERALDINE, punching in.

Montage of hotel life. The rakish-seeming Dick hustles for tips in a big way.

Makes good money.

Dick watches Geraldine in the elevator, she’s an elevator operator.

IRENE is succeptible to Dicks whiles, the tougher VERA is not.

Dick tries to jealousy trap Geraldine by asking Irene out in front of her. Geraldine seems unmoved.

She takes him up the elevator. He flirts with her.

She faints.

XXXXX

You’ll notice some beats are longer than others - some are arguably adaptable to the allotted slugline space, some are not. That’s because sometimes a beat is a piece of data, sometimes it refers to an exchange of energy, (subject and predicate), sometimes it references place by necessity, sometimes it’s huge “indy finds the idol” sometimes it’s small “indy realizes he was scammed by Bellocq” – the definition is amorphous…

The way Scrivener is now, there’s really only space for “dick meets geraldine,” or “we establish dick” above that red line. And when you switch to outline mode, which is great for reshuffling, those sluglines become inadequate, one needs to refer to what’s under them to get the full skinny on the beat…

Even if, per the above, I couldn’t see all the text in the card view, it would be extremely helpful to see it in the outline view, and not “dick tries to jealousy trap…” and have a limit on expansion, or have to expand it to the exclusion of other data… i think the ability to have two lines in the outline view couldn’t hurt…

thanks for your time, hope that made sense

I’m not really sure why you would want all of that above the red line. Why aren’t you putting it below the red line? That is what the synopsis area is intended for. (I note that Save the Cat, which is dedicated to screenwriters, doesn’t allow extra space in the bit above the red line either.)

Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t see why you would want to use the beat descriptions as the document titles. It was always intended that that stuff would go in the main body of the index card…

Best,
Keith

[quote=“KB”]
I’m not really sure why you would want all of that above the red line. Why aren’t you putting it below the red line? That is what the synopsis area is intended for. (I note that Save the Cat, which is dedicated to screenwriters, doesn’t allow extra space in the bit above the red line either.)

Like I said, it’s about giving the program the flexibility to adapt to longer beat descriptions, which are sometimes necessary to get to the heart of a beat… I’ve never read Save the Cat (there’s a program too?), but when I’m writing on a job, and I turn a beat sheet in, it’s not split into headings and synopses, it looks like the below. In fact, the below is a snippet of something I turned in to a studio not too long ago…

WILL “BULLDOG” LANDESMAN beats some big lug’s ass. Collects his fifty bucks.

People mob him outside. He’s somewhat of a local legend.

At his day job at Costco, it’s the same deal.

The only place he’s immune from it is his apartment.

Will sells the least amount of tickets possible to get into the KOTC fight. Leverages his Al Bundy status.
Fights in the thing, beats some BJJ guy’s ass.

Trainer and Will seek out real coaching and get roundly denied.

Will begs his estranged father, AL to train him for free.

Dad puts Will through a series of gameness tests. Will passes.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

I want to be able to manipulate/reorder/whittle down beats the way they are presented above. Doing in Scrivener, the way it is now, I am forced to do the below:

Will beats ass
WILL “BULLDOG” LANDESMAN beats some big lug’s ass. Collects his fifty bucks.

He gets mobbed
People mob him outside. He’s somewhat of a local legend.

Gets mobbed at Costco too
At his day job at Costco, it’s the same deal.

But not when he goes home… (i think that would even be too long)
The only place he’s immune from it is his apartment.

Will sells tix to KOTC
Will sells the least amount of tickets possible to get into the KOTC fight. Leverages his Al Bundy status.

Beats some guy’s ass
Fights in the thing, beats some BJJ guy’s ass.

Seeks coaching
He and Will seek out real coaching and get roundly denied.

Will begs his father for training (prob. too long)
Will begs his estranged father, AL to train him for free.

Dad tests Will, he passes.
Dad puts Will through a series of gameness tests. Will passes.

A. professional beat sheets are not split into super-short heading/longer synopsis… they look like the first example.

B. it’s extra work making a heading and synopsis, and in some cases as you’ll note, it’s not possible to capture all the data that composes a beat in the header view, where it’s important to see it, because, as you’ll notice above, sometimes it takes more words than the header view is capable of displaying to get to the essence of a beat. Once you get to the outline view, I think the full beat view is essential for reshuffling, reshaping, polishing the beats fine.

I think that if you made the header more flexible/removable, professional screenwriters would cotton to this feature. For me, it’s comes down to an issue of flexibility vs. forcing myself to work in a foriegn way that’s antithetical to the way it’s professional done – damn whatever save the cat says :wink:

Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way, but I doubt it. My feeling is that it would be worth your time to add flexibility to this feature, which now feels like a hinderance to workflow. Thanks for your time…

best,

pc

if you’d like, I can send you several examples of beat charts…

btw, i love every other aspect of the program.

Out of interest, why not just title the cards “1.” “2.” etc, then use the synopsis area for the beats, rather than just duping the contents (which I agree is pretty pointless)? In fact, at the stage where you’re viewing them exclusively as cards, why even use the title field at all?

Antony, you’re right – if I expand the synopsis field in the outline view this becomes a workable option…
thank you!

Patrick,

When you use Compile Draft, you can choose to output just the card synopses (and not the sluglines, i.e. file titles). That will give you the output you wanted if you put the beats in the card synopses, as has been suggested.

Notice: The contents of the slugline will not get output on this scheme – so there is no need to clear the slugline, and that is good, because that would make all your text documents have blank titles in the Binder – which would be a pain.

Best,
Greg

Yes, I would definitely look as the title area above the red line as a simple meaningful title for the scene and the synopsis area as the part for the actual beat. That is exactly what that area is for, so trying to fit it into the document titles seems strange to me.

I would ask, how do you use index cards in real life? My guess is that you don’t squeeze the beat above the red line and leave the rest of the index card blank, which is in essence what you are asking for.

Given that the area above the red line just shows the title of the document, having it as something long is not really a good idea, because you would then have massively long document titles in the binder which you would have to read each time you want to know what the document is. I can’t imagine that this would be a good thing for anyone. Instead, just use a couple of key words that remind you personally of what goes on in that scene for the title. (You can use Antony’s suggestion of using 1, 2 etc but I would think a couple of meaningful words would be much more useful.) Then put your beat information in the synopsis area, where it is meant to go.

As gr points out, when you compile your draft, to print the beat sheet you would then just choose to export or print only the synopses, which would give you a beat sheet exactly as you describe.

The trouble here, too, is that if I did try and make it so that the title area of the index card could wrap, people would then also want the title area of the outliner to wrap, and this would be unmanageable, as the outliner is a standard OS X outline view (which don’t wrap by default) with a lot of workaround code to enable the synopsis area to wrap. To have two areas that could wrap would be very problematic.

Let me know if any of this helps, as I’m not trying to be deliberately resistant to this, I’m just trying to explain why the current set up should work for what you want - was pretty much designed for what you want and why anything else could cause difficulties and confusion.

All the best,
Keith