Movie Draft SE

I found a thing called Movie Draft SE in the App Store and downloaded it because I forgot that you can just go to the site and download demos and that’s pretty much the trick of the App Store isn’t it and now I’m mad at Steve Jobs.

Anyway. It seems to be a nice little Mac app. It’s like the developers spun off Scrivener’s screenwriting function and asked themselves “What would we do to this if we were catering entirely to screenwriters, and didn’t have to worry about the rest of Scrivener?” Frankly, I like some of their answers.

Most of those answers are, admittedly, cosmetic. Scrivener is so well thought out – and screenwriting is, at heart, so basic, just words and tabs – it would be tough for anyone to radically change any actual functionality. Still, they did manage to make some tasks a little easier.

I don’t have time to get into a long review here, but I do encourage Keith et al to take a look at the demo. Some particular notes:

I like the iTunes style header and the info it contains.

I like that all the preference fiddling one does when one looks at a screen all day has been automated. Templates, like fezzes, are cool.

I think it’s pretty.

That’s all I have for right now. It would take a lot to get me to stop using Scrivener… yeah, I’ll never stop using Scrivener. But I think it’s always good to see how other people are implementing Keith’s concepts. (I don’t mean that pejoratively at ALL, and I completely understand that that’s how software development works.)

Mr Coffee,

I think this is beneath your normal post-mort. equine flagellation standards. Please try again.


How have you been?

Jaysen! I’ve been well, thanks! Working away, stacks of unfortunate ponies and straw men in my wake. You?

About that sentence: I was going for a stream of consciousness run-on kind of joke, but it really does kind of look like I don’t know what I’m doing, English-wise, doesn’t it? Now I want to change it. But I won’t. But I might.

If it makes you feel any worse, I understood that sentence as intended. Which means that “normal” people will think that you have no idea what you are doing English-wise.

On my side I have been in and out of the stick factories looking for a vendor that will provide a unit worthy of the service I intend to preform. A recent planned stampede of undomesticated minors which was originated by a domesticated spouse (I am the undomesticated one in the relationship) resulted in some significant bouts of unconsciousness.

As to work, I have discovered that I am deathly allergic to it. As such my employer and I are working on a new job description and responsibilities that have a net result of me serving the same purpose of the 5 man on a 4 man road crew. Now that I think about it that might be the ideal job…

Hi Sean,

My name’s Mark O’Neill and I’m the creator and developer of Movie Draft. Thank you for the kind words.

As it happens, by sheer coincidence, Keith and I were conversing on email the other day and he mentioned this post and invited me to reply. So here I am. :slight_smile:

As you’re no doubt aware, Movie Draft is in its infancy but I have many features in the pipeline that I’m iteratively implementing. The first one being to re-write the editor’s rendering engine so that it’s anti-aliased and can handle non-latin characters (Greek, Korean, Russian etc.). It’s a fairly big job but thereafter production features will be the next thing on the agenda.

I only mention this because I believe Movie Draft is a good compliment for Scrivener. Scrivener is an amazing piece of software. Probably the best software I’ve seen in a long, long time. The attention to detail is spectacular. But as Keith told me the other day, he actively encourages people to use dedicated screenwriting software once the first draft stage is complete in Scrivener and that’s where I hope Movie Draft would compliment that next stage quite nicely.

Anyway, this is just a quick “hello” but please feel free to ask anything you like about Movie Draft either in this thread or by email and I’ll be happy to answer.

All the best,


I too thought that was a pretty good sentence too and I’d be happy to put my name to it and so I will and there’s nothing you can do about it so sue me.

How ya like me now, Jaysen! :slight_smile:

Movie Draft Mark:

Nice to meet you. MD is a gorgeous app! Very interested to see where you’re going with it. I agree that MD is (or will be) a good compliment to Scrivener, and that’s a fine place to be. MD seems to fit into an interesting niche: an affordable app that lets you “clean up” a Scrivener script while preserving some of Scrivener’s organizational power.

I hope that going forward you get a solid understanding of (and remain clear-eyed about) where MD fits into the whole Mac screenwriting environment. I really do encourage you to keep it about the writing, and not about things like “registering your script” and “keeping track of your Hollywood contacts.” I’m sure those kinds of things appeal to people who want to have written a script. I think the world needs more elegant, innovative software for people who actually want to sit down and write them every day.

Good luck!


Well that’s what my mum used to call me. :wink:

Thanks for the kind words, luck and input.

I have full intention of keeping Movie Draft as clean, simple and clutter-free as possible. Bloatware is definitely not a ship I’ll be sailing on.

Incidentally, if you’re interested there’s now a 15 minute introduction to Movie Draft’s features on the homepage of my website.

Let me know if I can help at all.

All the best,


I agree with Mr Coffee. There seems to be a drift towards simplicity which I love. Notational Velocity has it, as does Michael Göbel’s stuff for moapp – myTexts is the nearest thing to WriteNow I’ve seen for OS X.

I’ve been using Scrivener and Final Draft (though I prefer Screenwriter, it doesn’t play so well with Scriv) for my current project, a musical. Scrivener’s the mosh pit, full of banging and sweat and primitive struggles and me squirming around like some filthy plesiosaur, grunting and hissing. Then FD – bah – is the calm after the storm, making everything nice and linear.

The problem with the FD stage is I lose ALL the organizational tools that Scriv. offers. Even Screenwriter, with its brilliant outlining, doesn’t do the same job. That, and the almost complete absence of stuff to fart about with, procrastinating, is MDSE’s great strength as a second-stage tool.

I have a few small quibbles with MDSE which I’ll share with Movie Draft Mark. But it looks very good indeed. As a clean working environment (and I’m sorry to say this, because it was originally fairly promising) it’s way ahead of Montage, which seems to have been rather abandoned. I’m heading over to buy a licence now.

I’ve always liked you very much. And the fact that Mr MBW and I both understood and agreed with you speaks poorly of Mr MBW.

Now if we could only get Mr MBW to alter his name then we could refer to him as an overpriced, but fun to drive, German import.

Heading over to Amazon to buy everything this Bywater fellow has ever written…

…right after I google Moapp.



Oh God, Movie Draft Mark, I’m so sorry, but this is your name now. Bet you’re glad you didn’t name your app “Smelly Old.” I’m sending you an email too with my quibbles. Bet you’re thrilled.

I really wanted Montage to be great, I really did, but I think they went the way of the Pipe Dream screenwriting app I referred to above. Montage’s “manage your Hollywood contacts” feature seems to me like an acting class that includes tips on How To Pick Your Mansion. (Side Note For Keith/Ioa: Thank you for getting rid of the “Write The Next Hollywood Blockbuster” language on your Scrivener page. It always seemed antithetical to Scrivener’s tacit acknowledgement that it’s really hard to just finish anything at all, let alone the Next Hollywood Anything. Smelly Old Mark, you’re on the right path!)

The other night I saw the new spot for the iPad 2 — the one that talks about technology getting out of the way — and I said to my wife, “That’s exactly right!” After she accused me of an untoward (and in parts of the U.S., illegal) relationship with Apple, I explained that for the entire history of home computers, there’s been this assumption that software needed to be all-encompassing. This idea that it was preferable for an application to do everything you need to do in one sitting, and for it to do even more the next time out. This, despite the fact that the all-in-one thing you were looking for is the computer itself. And the more powerful the computer — either in terms of gHz or in terms of concept — easier it is to accept strong, smaller, focused apps.

I think the iPad and both App Stores and software like Scrivener have shown us the light. Seems to me that the concept now is: Do the thing you do really, really well, and let people know that if they want more features, other people make software for that. Great is good, bloated is bad. I’m glad Keith gets that, and I’m glad Movie Draft Mark seems to understand that as well.

Excellent advise from an expert at walloping the decaying remains of what were once the engines of our agrarian past.

I know. It’s all the same thing, isn’t it?

Pssst, note to Ioa: don’t tell Sean about our Features page!


Edit that!!


decaying… agrarian… hmm…

[Scratches chin. Time passes. Leaves fall from trees. Pages fall from calendar. Some tweedy bint plays harp glissandi offstage. Suddenly–]

AHA! Flogging a dead horse! Got it! Oh very good no really I mean it very good indeed yez had me there for a moment so you did.

FLOGGING… a DEAD… horse!

[Stuffs handkerchief in “mouth”, rolls around on carpet wheezing with muffled laughter.]

In the wee small hours my imagination has been grappling with the mosh pit. And I think at last I’ve got it. Reading Festival, August Bank Holiday Saturday 1982, Iron Maiden, me an unwilling attender. Yes, there were a few grunting and hissing plesiosaurs there…

Thank you Mr MBW, thank you.

I will be performing periodically in random forums near this one.

Please ignore the eeeejeeots who are rolling around the floor in horseplay.
I downloaded the demo of your app. Tried importing an old script from fdx file
Only 4 pages emerged, in a peculiar blaze of color.
I’m not used to seeing color print in a screenplay. Found how to change to b/w.
The import showed only one scene heading; all others missing.
It converted dates expressed in dialog as '43 to .43
I had to go to the App Store to find out the price: $30.
I would need to work with it much longer to see if I liked it better than Scrivener.

Hi Druid, are you sure it was an fdx file and not fdr? The fdr import is a bit experimental. If it is an fdx file, please feel free to email it to me so that I may take a look. Your confidentiality is assured.

All the best,

Movie Draft Mark