Screenwriting format help needed

Forgive my ignorance, I’ve downloaded the trial for windows and am blown away by it, especially the cork board feature. I took the tutorial then spent about 3 hours total playing around and getting familiar with the program. What I’m having trouble with (or failing to understand) is… is there a quick easy way to view your full manuscript (aside from using scrivenings) in a print view mode?

I understand the logic behind the Compile feature but for a screenplay I would like to know “up front” exactly where my words are going to fall on pages (concerning page breaks, etc.) before compiling. I guess I’m asking for the functionality of a word processor? It seems cumbersome to compile, define format, and then god forbid have to actually print something to see what your pages look like. (And I’m aware of PDF export was well, but again it seems like a lot of work to see how the formatting turned out) Is there a “real time” function to see how the formatting will look? Please tell me I am missing, or don’t understand something? I would love to buy this program and become a faithful member of the Scrivener community.

There probably won’t ever be a desktop design mode that shows you exactly where the ink will fly, that just goes against the whole idea of the program. However we have a page simulation mode planned, while basically intended to be an aesthetic choice for those that like to see “pages” go by as they write—with proper tuning and careful usage, could be used as a gauge for scriptwriting.

In the meanwhile there is a page counter in Project/Project Statistics.... So you are not without a measuring stick, it’s just not right in your face. For something that only changes once ever few minutes, that’s probably fine for now, but the aforementioned pagination mode will allow for a real-time counter (of the fake pages, relative to the current selection start position) of pages.

Everything you click on in the Binder sidebar is a view event. If you click on one single thing, you see that thing in the editor. If you click on more than one thing or a folder, you see multiple Binder items displayed in the editor using your current group view. Therefore if you click on the Draft folder and enable the Scrivenings view mode, you would view the entire manuscript.

Thank you for your response, and again perhaps it’s something that I don’t fully understand (and if so I would love to hear from anyone else using this program for screenwriting) but, for example, in a script I would not wish to break up dialog if at all possible between script pages, and if so then I would need a comment under the dialog such as “more” or “continued” or something to imply that more dialog from the same character is to follow on the next page. Does Scrivener automatically add this when needed? Or how would I know in advance where the page break will be so that I might include that type of comment.

There are other rules as well, such as “Never end a page with a Scene Heading” or “Never start a page with a Transition” or even “Never end a page at a Parenthetical. Dialogue MUST follow”

So again, please forgive any ignorance on my part, but is there a simple way in Scrivener to know your layout in advance? How do the other screenwriters handle this?

I see might the point of confusion. Scrivener isn’t really designed to print scripts out. It’s for the creative process (as is the case with most forms of writing; it’s a drafting tool). You’ll need some kind of scriptwriting tool to clean up the work and make it suitable for use.

The same way comic book writers use Scrivener: as a drafting tool, before it matters precisely where the page break happens and so on. Scrivener fits in at the same level as one might fit in a pen and paper, if that is how they prefer to do first few drafts.

Forgive me for not understanding exactly how this page counter works. I’ve read the manual and all sorts of threads on this, and all I can find is that the Project Statistics estimates page length by the compile settings. Well, this never seems to be correct for me. For instance, I have a novel-in-progress that, when compiled to a Word .doc, comes out to 41 pages, but the Project Statistics window estimates the manuscript to be 51 printed pages long. That’s a fairly large discrepancy (almost 20% error). I tried scaling the compile down to only one scene, and when compiled it gives me 9 pages while Scrivener tells me there should be 11 (Roughly the same amount of error). The only way I can get a (sort of, somewhat) accurate estimate is to fiddle with the paperback words per page in the options tab of Project Statistics. This still gives me a bit of error, but not nearly as much. Am I doing something wrong that the “Printed” page estimate is so far off for me?

Hmm, there does seem to be an abnormality in what the Project Statistics panel is printing. In theory it should be using the PDF compile format in the background to generate this figure, but when I tested with a 124 page screenplay, I got 140 in the project statistics panel, and 133 in the PDF. The RTF was however accurate. It counts 125 pages, but that includes the title page is not typically considered a part of the page count (Word wouldn’t know that about screenplays, but Final Draft does count the .fdx file as 124).

So I’m looking into this and I’ll let you know what I find out.

I write mostly screenplays.
Maybe this is too much trouble for your needs, but my process (which doesn’t take any any time at all) is:
Always compile to .FDX, open it in Final Draft to check that there are no blank spaces or other anomalies.

It is the only way to check to see if you have accurate screenplay page count. Even an .RTF. or a .DOC will NOT give the accuracy of screenplay software

What I find is, when I export to another format I still have to go through the document and make corrections because of an unsatisfactory crossover. It’s very time consuming. The reason I liked Scrivener so much in the first place was because of the index cards.

I had started using Celtx before Scrivener which I really like, but their index cards don’t allow for the functionality that Scrivener does. However, with Celtx when you type a screen play “What you see is what you get” and everything is properly formatted. There’s no messing around and trying to figure out “Will my transition fall at the beginning of page?” and on and on…

For what Scrivener is, I think it is a very useful tool, but for myself it’s only half finished. If I can’t take all my brain storming and creativity to a finished product within the same program with ease, then I have to bow out.

I thank you all for the answers I’ve received.

Ive compiled to Final Draft twice so far, each time I got exactly the correct format except for a few blank lines in between end of one scene and beginning of another. I figured out that was my fault. I was leaving extra spaces at the end of some scenes --by hitting the enter key-- when writing in Scrivener

Hey Marta thank you. I just tried compiling it to FDX format, and my version of Final Draft (7) doesn’t recognize it. So I don’t know if I need to tamper with the settings, or get an updated version of Final Draft. Again, all of which seems like to much of nuisance when I could be busy pounding out my screenplay.

You’re right about the FD issue. Annoying that FD 7 doesn’t have a conversion add-in that can read FDX. (like the MS word converter)