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Fountain Cheat Sheet

These are the essentials you need to write with Fountain, the plain-text markup language for screenplays.

Sections

Sections are the basic building blocks of story structure. Use them to organize the acts and scenes in your screenplay.

Section text is not included when you print your screenplay, but is included when you export an Outline or Beat Sheet.

To make a section, put one or more hashtags (#) at the beginning of a line.

# Act 1: The Start of the Battle

## Scene 1: The soldiers leave camp

## Scene 2: The soldiers approach the hill

Acts

Logline treats a single hashtag (#) line as the start of an act.

Acts appear in the sidebar and help you navigate the structure of your screenplay.

Scenes

Logline treats a double hashtag (##) line as the start of a scene.

Scenes appear in the sidebar within their parent act.

Synopsis

Use synopsis text to summarize what happens in your screenplay.

Synopsis text is not included when you print your screenplay, but is included when you export an Outline, Synopsis, Summary or Treatment.

Put an equals sign (=) at the start of the line to mark it as synopsis text.

= Bob and Mary talk and decide what to do next.

Scene Headings

A scene heading starts with INT, EXT, EST, INT/EXT or I/E and has a blank line both before and after.

INT. BAR - NIGHT

EXT. MADISON AVENUE - DAY

I/E BMW ROADSTER - DAY

You can force a scene heading by starting the line with a period.

.THE CAR

.BOBBY'S POV

Action

An action line is any line that doesn't meet the criteria for another type of element.

Bill walks over to the counter.

You can force an action line by starting the line with an exclamation point.

!LOUD BANG

Characters

A character is any uppercase line with a blank before it and a non-blank line following it.

BOB
Waiter!

WAITER
Are you ready to order?

You can force a character line by starting the line with an @ symbol.

@McCARTNEY
Let it be.

Dialogue

A dialogue line immediately follows a character or parenthetical line.

BOB
I'd like a coffee.

WAITER
Coming right up!

Parenthetical

A parenthetical line is enclosed in parentheses and immediately follows a character or dialogue line.

BOB
(angry)
Where's my coffee?

Lyrics

A line of lyrics begins with a tilde sign.

~It was twenty years ago today.
~Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play.

Centered Text

Centered text is surrounded by greater than (>) and less than (<) symbols.

>THE END<

Notes

A note is any text enclosed in double brackets.

Bob walks [[or should he run?]] into the coffee shop.

By default, notes are not included when you print or export your screenplay.

Omissions

You can omit any part of your screenplay by enclosing one or more lines /* like so */.

/*
## Kitchen Scene

= The kitchen staff preps food for the banquet.
*/

## Dinner Scene

= Dinner is served. Agent Blue sits at the head table.

Omitted text will not be included when you print or export your screenplay.

Transitions

A transition line is uppercase, ends in "TO:" and has a blank line both before and after.

CUT TO:

Start a line with ">" to force a transition.

> FADE TO BLACK.

Bold, Italics and Underline

You can make any text **bold** or *italic* or _underlined_.

**bold** or *italic* or _underlined_.

Title Page

Title page information goes at the top of the document in key/value pairs.

Title: Macbeth
Credit: Written by
Author: Shakespeare
Contact:
  Globe Theatre
  London, England

More Info

Visit the Fountain website for the full Fountain syntax.

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