05/16/12 20:31:00

Fountain: Use Markdown for screencasts

I’ve been intrigued by Fountain ever since its first announcement.
The idea is interesting. Write screenplay in a “Markdown’ish syntax”.
I gave it two test runs now and after the second one I feel confident to share my experience.

I use screenplay syntax to write the scripts for my screencasts. It may sound weird for hobby screencasters, but since I’m doing this as my full-time job, it has been very beneficial. Clients can check the script and make adjustments before I start recording. This saves a lot of trouble for me, i.e. painful re-re-re-recordings. On the Mac I use my beloved Scrivener for this.
On the other hand. What if I want freedom from a proprietary system? What if I’m on the iPad? How does one “share” the data between multiple apps? This all seem to be tasks Fountain shines in. It’s text-based, open, free. Unfortunately I struggled using it. The syntax isn’t (or wasn’t) as straight forward as learning Markdown. Markdown’s appeal is that it’s very easy to use. If you wrote HTML before, you get into Markdown very quickly.
With Fountain, that’s not the case. When I first tried it, right before its release, it wasn’t quite finished, thus lacking some final polish.

I let it settle in for a couple of months and gave it another try two weeks ago. This time it felt much easier. The syntax made sense and it was almost a pleasure to use. (Using it will probably be a pleasure, if used more often.) I think it’s going in the right direction. If you haven’t checked it out yet, or checked it out earlier, I recommend giving it another try.

Using Fountain

Fountain is best used with a text editor, and in case you need to check the final formatting, with a Markdown previewing app. On the Mac you got a plethora of choices. Byword, iAwriter, Vim (I’m using Vim), etc. To preview Fountain files, go download Marked by Brett Terpstra.

On the iPad, there is, only one app that is recommendable for using Fountain: Writing Kit. It’s got some really interesting features. Go check it out.


I don’t want to make this article longer than necessary. Fountain feels “ready” for me, although I will keep using Scrivener for my scriptwriting. Scrivener is the environment where I can get the writing done in a desirable quality.
That said, I enjoyed using Fountain. It made it easier to share screenplays with, for example, clients.

Give Fountain a whirl!