Difficulties from switching from Final Draft...

Discuss how to use this leading screenplay formatting software. Have a tip? Question? Post it here and share ideas.
UTAtheatreguy
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Difficulties from switching from Final Draft...

Postby UTAtheatreguy » Jan 19, 2011 6:53 pm

Greetings everyone. I started using Final Draft in December '02/January 2003. I've updated from V6-V8 and overall, I'm quite happy with it. However, I do like to think of myself as open minded and I do like to try out different products on the market. I also enjoy having several products at my dispasal in case I should ever want to write with someone who has a different product to facilitate easier writing. They include:

~ The Final Draft Family
~ Montage
~ Celtx
~ Scripped
~ Adobe Story
~ and various creative writing programs that have a "scriptwriting function" (Scrivener/Storyist/Storymill etc)

and just this year I made the plunge to buy MM6. I've heard a LOT of good thing about it and the import function with the navidoc looks quite interesting as I grow as a writer. My primary background is theatre.

All that was to supply a bit of background, here's my question: is it possible to format MM6 so that it acts more like the FD function as in, a simple TAB+Return typing (or hitting CMD/Alt + Number of Choice for keyboard shortcut)?

and

I'm having a LOT of trouble using the Blank DG Modern Stageplay template to format my script. When I hit the Return key and start an act, it boots me down to the second page, when that's not what I wanted at all...

Help?

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Re: Difficulties from switching from Final Draft...

Postby KenTech » Jan 20, 2011 9:07 am

Screenwriter is already set up to use TAB and RETURN as the primary keys. TAB will take you to a Character Name and RETURN will take you to Action (or Dialgue from a Character Name). Pressing SHIFT+9 will insert a Parenthetical which is used for directions within a dialogue. On Mac, you can set up individual key commands in Screenwriter > Preferences > Keyboard.

When you use the pop-up menu to start an act (or type in "newact"), it will automatically put in the page break. You don't wish to start acts on a new page? I believe there is an issue where it puts a page break before ACT I when it shouldn't, but you can delete the page break if you like.
Ken H.
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UTAtheatreguy
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Re: Difficulties from switching from Final Draft...

Postby UTAtheatreguy » Jan 22, 2011 4:43 pm

First and foremost, thanks for getting back to me.

KenTech wrote:Screenwriter is already set up to use TAB and RETURN as the primary keys. TAB will take you to a Character Name and RETURN will take you to Action (or Dialgue from a Character Name). Pressing SHIFT+9 will insert a Parenthetical which is used for directions within a dialogue. On Mac, you can set up individual key commands in Screenwriter > Preferences > Keyboard.


Okay. I tried it again. It's a little more like FD than I thought. I guess the main things that trip me up are how it doesn't automatically 'guess' the second person in a two man scene. Meaning if I'm typing John's dialogue. Return takes me to action, and the tab would take me to Jane (if she had already been established). Admittedly, this does get to be a problem with scenes bigger than two people or when the character has more to say after an action but it did make typing out two people conversations pretty quick in FD.

The other thing I miss was pressing the command or alt button, if I got stuck, and while pressing this button, I could press a number key (1-6 i think) to take me to an element. Is there a way to replicate that in MM6?

Again, I'm very new to this program but if there was any way I could gear MM6 to more of a FD feel...then I think it'd make getting used to it a bit easier.

I'm getting the CD some time next week so hopefully that'll answer some questions as well.

KenTech wrote:When you use the pop-up menu to start an act (or type in "newact"), it will automatically put in the page break. You don't wish to start acts on a new page? I believe there is an issue where it puts a page break before ACT I when it shouldn't, but you can delete the page break if you like.


Yeah, it's the page 1, act 1 unwanted page break into page 2 that's getting to me. I'm finding it VERY difficult to naviagate in the DG Modern Stageplay Blank Template (as opposed to the standard Screenplay format page) but since I'm more of a playwright than a screenwriter...I kinda want to be able to work in the DGMod Stageplay template as well.

Final question, is there a way to load in a style sheet of the Final Draft version of the DG Mod Stageplay template into MM6? Figuring I'd try the easier route first, no matter how stupid it sounded the time, I put in the FDT template into MM6.

Not only could it not be read, it outright crashed the program.

Is there a style sheet that I can load into MM6 and if so, how would I learn about doing that or do I have to go into elements and hand-adjust each value?

Thanks so much for your time and patience,

Cheers!

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Chris Huntley
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Re: Difficulties from switching from Final Draft...

Postby Chris Huntley » Jan 26, 2011 10:53 am

To get two characters to carry on a dialogue, press SHIFT+TAB instead of just TAB. That automatically inserts the previous character's name and moves you into dialogue margins.
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KenTech
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Re: Difficulties from switching from Final Draft...

Postby KenTech » Jan 26, 2011 11:02 am

UTAtheatreguy wrote:First and foremost, thanks for getting back to me.

KenTech wrote:Screenwriter is already set up to use TAB and RETURN as the primary keys. TAB will take you to a Character Name and RETURN will take you to Action (or Dialgue from a Character Name). Pressing SHIFT+9 will insert a Parenthetical which is used for directions within a dialogue. On Mac, you can set up individual key commands in Screenwriter > Preferences > Keyboard.


Okay. I tried it again. It's a little more like FD than I thought. I guess the main things that trip me up are how it doesn't automatically 'guess' the second person in a two man scene. Meaning if I'm typing John's dialogue. Return takes me to action, and the tab would take me to Jane (if she had already been established). Admittedly, this does get to be a problem with scenes bigger than two people or when the character has more to say after an action but it did make typing out two people conversations pretty quick in FD.

The other thing I miss was pressing the command or alt button, if I got stuck, and while pressing this button, I could press a number key (1-6 i think) to take me to an element. Is there a way to replicate that in MM6?

Again, I'm very new to this program but if there was any way I could gear MM6 to more of a FD feel...then I think it'd make getting used to it a bit easier.

I'm getting the CD some time next week so hopefully that'll answer some questions as well.


We do have a similar feature whereby pressing SHIFT+TAB will alternate between the last two speaking characters. On Mac, you can set up individual key commands in Screenwriter > Preferences > Keyboard. You can also reference the key commands in the Help file under Appendices > Key Assignments > Shortcut Keys for Inserting and Manipulating Elements.

UTAtheatreguy wrote:
KenTech wrote:When you use the pop-up menu to start an act (or type in "newact"), it will automatically put in the page break. You don't wish to start acts on a new page? I believe there is an issue where it puts a page break before ACT I when it shouldn't, but you can delete the page break if you like.


Yeah, it's the page 1, act 1 unwanted page break into page 2 that's getting to me. I'm finding it VERY difficult to naviagate in the DG Modern Stageplay Blank Template (as opposed to the standard Screenplay format page) but since I'm more of a playwright than a screenwriter...I kinda want to be able to work in the DGMod Stageplay template as well.

Final question, is there a way to load in a style sheet of the Final Draft version of the DG Mod Stageplay template into MM6? Figuring I'd try the easier route first, no matter how stupid it sounded the time, I put in the FDT template into MM6.

Not only could it not be read, it outright crashed the program.

Is there a style sheet that I can load into MM6 and if so, how would I learn about doing that or do I have to go into elements and hand-adjust each value?

Thanks so much for your time and patience,

Cheers!


You cannot load style sheets from other programs into Screenwriter. How are you having trouble navigating within that template specifically?

Thanks.
Ken H.
Write Brothers, Inc.
Technical Support

UTAtheatreguy
Writer
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Re: Difficulties from switching from Final Draft...

Postby UTAtheatreguy » Jan 28, 2011 9:04 pm

KenTech wrote:We do have a similar feature whereby pressing SHIFT+TAB will alternate between the last two speaking characters. On Mac, you can set up individual key commands in Screenwriter > Preferences > Keyboard. You can also reference the key commands in the Help file under Appendices > Key Assignments > Shortcut Keys for Inserting and Manipulating Elements.


Hmm. Good to know. One of the high marks of MMS vs. FD is that MMS allows - from what I can see, a lot more under the hood customization of preferences than FD. MMS's Preferences page dwarfs the FD preferences page.

KenTech wrote:You cannot load style sheets from other programs into Screenwriter. How are you having trouble navigating within that template specifically?[/quotes]

Thanks.


Getting stuck in an element and not having an option but to go up and do a dropdown menu pick. Please bear with me, I haven't had a lot of experience writing in the stageplay format on MMS so it's a bit clumsy at the moment.

Editing and importing my old scripts however, is a blast. So definitely kudos to that.

Getting to specifics:

http://www.2shared.com/document/NKkpSzYA/Final_Draft_Dramatists_Guild_M.html

http://www.2shared.com/document/EINS7WPo/MMS_DG_Mod_Stageplay.html

As the name of the links say: the first one is Final Draft's template of the DG Modern Stageplay. And below that is the MMS template. Both were simply exported to PDF and uploaded so you can see them back to back.

What I want to do is to make the MMS template conform to the look of the FD template. Obviously, MMS has Act Breaks and such (something CURIOUSLY unavailable in FD) but other than that, it shouldn't unreasonable to make the look uniform and then save it as a new MMS template for future use.

Going into FD's elements and looking at the margin section, I get the following values.

General
Allignment L
Spacing 1
Space before 0
L: 1.5
R: 7.50


Scene heading
Allignment L
Spacing 1
Space before 2
L: 1.5
R: 7.50

Action
Allignment L
Spacing 1
Space before 1
L: 4.25
R: 7.50

Character
Allignment L
Spacing 1
Space before 1
L: 4.00
R: 7.50

Allignment L
Spacing 1
Space before 0
L: 3.62
R: 6.38

Dialogue
Allignment L
Spacing 1
Space before 0
L: 1.5
R: 7.50


Cast List
Allignment L
Spacing 1
Space before 0
L: 1.5
R: 7.50

Scene Citation
Allignment C
Spacing 1
Space before 1
L: 0.5
R: 8.00


Now what I'm wondering is how do I input the information so that it makes sense for MMS. I tried manually adjusting the elements but it does not seem to like it very much.

If you need me to provide a screen shot or two of the FD margins page, I can. But I know to go CMD+E and go into each element and I can see where to put the numbers for margin values but it's not coming out like I hoped.

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Chris Huntley
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Re: Difficulties from switching from Final Draft...

Postby Chris Huntley » Jan 29, 2011 8:39 pm

I think one problem you may be running into is that FD's measurements are all from the LEFT margin, while Screenwriter's measurements are indents from the LEFT and RIGHT margin.

For example, FD says:

General
Allignment L
Spacing 1
Space before 0
L: 1.5
R: 7.50

Screenwriter's margins would be:
L: 1.5
R: 1.0

This assumes an 8.5" x 11" page. The left margin would be 1.5" from the left edge of the paper, while the right margin is 1" from the RIGHT edge of the paper (8.5" - 7.5" = 1").

The rest of the margins would be as follows:

Scene heading
FD
L: 1.5
R: 7.50

MMS6
L: 1.5
R: 1.0

-- - - - - - - - - --
Action

FD
L: 4.25
R: 7.50

MMS6
L: 4.25
R: 1.0

- - - - - - - - -- - -

Character

FD
L: 4.00
R: 7.50
or
L: 3.62
R: 6.38

MMS6
L: 4.0
R: 1.0
or
L: 3.62
R: 2.12
- - - - - - - - - - -

Dialogue

FD
L: 1.5
R: 7.50

MMS6
L: 1.5
R: 1.0

I hope this is what you're looking for.

Cheers,
Chris Huntley
Write Brothers Inc.
http://dramatica.com/
http://screenplay.com/

UTAtheatreguy
Writer
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Joined: Jan 18, 2011 5:05 pm

Re: Difficulties from switching from Final Draft...

Postby UTAtheatreguy » Jan 29, 2011 9:12 pm

Yeah. I think this is going to help a LOT.

UTAtheatreguy
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Re: Difficulties from switching from Final Draft...

Postby UTAtheatreguy » Jan 29, 2011 11:18 pm

So far I think you hit the nail on the head as far as remembering L&R of MMS vs. simply going by the left margin of FD.

Update:

So a few days ago, I imported a 21 page stageplay into MMS, using the DG Mod Stageplay with margins native to MMS standard. Then after your post, I input the values to achieve the FD look in MMS. Reasonably happy with it, I saved it as a template. Then I decided to go to that stageplay and loaded the style from the load styles ->> template option.

It freaked. Random, unwanted page breaks tripled the size of it and it's not letting me alter it.

So I decide to go with the copy and paste route.

Same problem.

All my problems aside, I think MMS is a wonderful product. It's very automated and set with bells and whistles created to make things easier on the beginner. Had I bought this back in 2002, I'd have never looked to FD. The problem I'm finding, in spite of all the things to really, really like, is it's trying to do TOO MUCH of the work for me. This is one of the few times where I actually do know better than the program. I REALLY DO want it to look a certain way.

I've really been running into a wall with the page break problems.

To Chris and Ken, thanks. Reading that L&R margin thing was a total d'oh moment.

If MMS is incapable of presenting the look and feel of the FD Dramatist's Guild Modern Stageplay. It's not that huge of a deal. I don't believe theatres are QUITE as anal-retentive as an movie industry reader. And there's really nothing superior to the look of one template over the other. The Dramatist's Guild supplied both software companies with templates so I'm not saying that MMS is doing it wrong.

Only that I do like the look and feel of FD's presentation of the template better. And at the end of the day, beneath the hood, MMS (as well as FD) is a word processor. A revved-up, tricked out to the nines, makes formatting ever so easy word processor, but a WP nonetheless.

UTAtheatreguy
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Re: Difficulties from switching from Final Draft...

Postby UTAtheatreguy » Feb 13, 2011 3:17 am

Uh, terribly sorry but BUMP!

I can always consult Technical service if need be...

KenTech
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Re: Difficulties from switching from Final Draft...

Postby KenTech » Feb 14, 2011 8:54 am

Check your paper size under File > Print Setup. Sounds like it might be set to "photo" or some other strange paper size.
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