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Scrite Script Right-hand margin

This seems to me to be far too narrow. Action paragraphs and dialogue sprawl right across the page.

There's an option to show a ruler at the top, but I can't see any way to change the margin using this.

Am I missing something?

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Chris

Uploaded files:
  • Scrite-Script.png
  • FadeIn-Script.png

@bidmead: You cannot change margin on the right side using the ruler.

As shown in the attached PNG file, we apply margins to paragraphs depending on their type. I found these values somewhere and then visually compared it with Final Draft. The values do checkout.

It turns out that when we apply these margins we don't get a lot of space on the right edge of the page. At first I found it a bit amusing, that Final Draft and other apps seem to show more space on the right even though there isn't much space left. A typical A4 paper is 8.3" wide. If action paragraph has to extend until 8.05", then we only have 0.25" remaining on the right - not a generous 1"+ that other apps seem to show.

I assumed that these paragraph indentations are used in screenplays because when its printed, writers need sufficient space on the left to make notes, bind or staple.

Uploaded files:
  • paragraph-margins.jpg

I don't know where that 8.05" metric comes from. The convention defines margin size—I never seen it discussed in terms of line length like this.

The reason the right margin is between 0.25" and 1.25" (normally 1") is not so much for notes (although readers may find this whitespace useful for that purpose) but primarily because long  lines in action paragraphs, or indeed elsewhere, are harder to read, with the eye having a much longer fly back journey after each line. Long lines also increase the difficulty of picking up the beginning of the following line.

Scene headings will generally follow the same margin rules but will typically be shorter as they carry only skeleton information.

As a useful rule of thumb I like to bear in mind that busy spec script readers expect to read DOWN the page not ACROSS the page.

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Chris

 

@bidmead: I downloaded the latest version of Final Draft and also Fade In. Both of these apps use different indentation & margin values for various paragraphs. Scrite defaults to A4 page size, but you can change it to Letter in Settings > Page Setup.

I have now altered the indentation and margins to match FD12. As you can see in the attached screenshot, paragraphs word wrap exactly as it does in FD12. I guess this should work?

Uploaded files:
  • paragraph-margins-new.jpg

Thanks, @prashanthudupa. That's much more like what I'm used to seeing. In the current version 0.6.8 beta the first line wraps at "under control. His". Looking forward to getting my hands on the next beta..

BTW, I can't resist saying that, IMHO, this Joker script isn't a great example for spec scriptwriters. Is it a later production script? The opening action paragraph is too much of a solid wadge and wouldn't stand much chance of getting past a busy reader. I hope Scrite users aren't turning out action paragraphs like this.

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Chris

@bidmead: The Joker script was created from https://imsdb.com/scripts/Joker.html as mentioned in the title page of the Scrite document in Scriptalay. There may have been some import errors, but the text is picked up from there.

A new nightly build is available here: https://www.scrite.io/index.php/downloads#nightly_builds

This build has changes made to the page margins. You can download and take a look at it right away or wait for the next public beta to be out. Nightly builds tend to be volatile, so I would recommend that you take a backup of your Scrite document before opening / saving them using the nightly build.

 

The Joker script was created from https://imsdb.com/scripts/Joker.html as mentioned in the title page of the Scrite document in Scriptalay. There may have been some import errors, but the text is picked up from there.

Yes, the very significant difference is that the scene's opening five action paragraphs in the original imsdb script, separated by white spaces, have been congealed into a single paragraph. This is deadly in a spec script.

I shall certainly check out the nightly built. Thanks, @prashanthudupa.

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Chris

I'm currently running the nightly build 0.6.9s-beta-x64 and as far as I can determine the margins are still way off. Yes, there's a good reason for not allowing changes to the fundamental formatting—even though all the major screenwriting packages I've ever used do seem to permit this, encouraging "cheating" of the page numbering which beginners might think helpful but which any professional reader is going to spot immediately.

I'm having to do more than just "cheat" the formatting to get the various Scrite elements to behave as I believe they should. I'm having to blast the font size up from the industry-standard 12 point all the way to 22 point.

This gives me the kind of text wrap I'm used to seeing in properly formatted scripts. But, of course, it totally messes with the page to time ratio. However, it's a trade off that makes Scrite usable for me.

The only other problem I'm having with Scrite, independent of the wrapping, is the trackpad acceleration, which whooshes the scrolling faster than I'm able to control, making it very hard to shift up and down the script pages.

The attached pictures show the same script page, respectively, in Scrite's default formatting, in Scrite's bidmead-doctored formatting using 22pt Courier Prime and in FadeIn Pro, regular 12pt—which is how I would expect to read a printed script at approximately one page per minute.

I'm hoping that raising these points will be helpful to what is turning out to be a really interesting and useful addition to the screenwriter's toolbox.

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Chris

 

Uploaded files:
  • Scrite-12pt.png
  • Scrite-22pt.png
  • FadeIn-Pro-12pt.png

…however, I've just discovered that in Scrited, the 12pt version of that same script is rendered much more closely to what I'd expect.

And thanks for the ability to whisk away the video window. Very helpful indeed.

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Chris

Uploaded files:
  • Scrite-12pt-as-seen-in-Scrited.png

While I'm here, I feel I should say something about the Joker script we've been discussing. I've already mentioned that the formatting as shown in Scriptalay (great idea, by the way) is very different from the formatting in the original copy of that same version. Action paragraphs are run together in the Scriptalay version, depriving them of much-needed breathing-(white)space.

But even so, I'm not sure it's helpful to include this particular script in the Scriptalay library. I'm assuming that the library will be most useful to beginning scriptwriters and that (by definition) the scripts they'll be writing will be spec scripts. That Joker script is very far from being a spec script.

It's a script written by an experienced screenwriter and the director-to-be of the final movie. I'm not clear what draft it is—I'm guessing a mid- to late-draft with the star already attached—but even if it were the first reading draft, it's following very different rules from a spec script. The director is already thinking it terms of shots and there are extended description paragraphs that will be useful for the final shoot but hold up the narrative for the reader.

It's crucial to understand that a spec script is not written for the director, the producer or the actors. It's written for the busy, underpaid studio script-reader. And depending on what he or she thinks of it, that may be as far as it gets. That script-reader is your gate-keeper.

The gate-keeper loves white space, reads fast, down the page, and only turns the page if the story seems worth it. Big wadges of description designed to inspire the director and assist whoever will be lucky enough to become the movie's set designer, are not what your gate-keeper is looking for. They want to see characters developing through a fascinating story that moves at an interestingly variable pace and unfolds with surprises that are unexpected but never unconvincing.

This Joker script is something else altogether. It's an inside script that's already by-passed the gate-keeper. It may not have been fully green-lighted at this stage, but that's going to be up to studio execs well above the gate-keepers pay grade. It also draws heavily on outside copyright material (never do this in a spec script).

Be aware that a large number of the scripts floating about the Internet will be shooting scripts, full of technical stuff that has no place in a spec script.

I hope this is helpful. I thought it was worth mentioning.

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Chris

 

 

 

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