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These are the essentials you need to write with Fountain, the plain-text markup language for screenplays.
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
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.
Logline treats a double hashtag (##) line as the start of a scene.
Scenes appear in the sidebar within their parent act.
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.
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
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.
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.
A dialogue line immediately follows a character or parenthetical line.
BOB I'd like a coffee. WAITER Coming right up!
A parenthetical line is enclosed in parentheses and immediately follows a character or dialogue line.
BOB (angry) Where's my coffee?
A line of lyrics begins with a tilde sign.
~It was twenty years ago today. ~Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play.
Centered text is surrounded by greater than (>) and less than (<) symbols.
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.
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.
A transition line is uppercase, ends in "TO:" and has a blank line both before and after.
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 information goes at the top of the document in key/value pairs.
Title: Macbeth Credit: Written by Author: Shakespeare Contact: Globe Theatre London, England
Visit the Fountain website for the full Fountain syntax.
“Screenplays are structure, and that's all they are. The quality of writing - which is crucial in almost every other form of literature - is not what makes a screenplay work.”
“The first draft, the first structure is really important. Do it fast, don't get stuck.”
“The first draft is nothing more than a starting point, so be wrong as fast as you can.”
“Breaking story, writing pages, or revising anything, Logline helps me keep my head in the clouds, my imagination running strong.”
“Every story, in a sense, is a mystery. It asks a question in the setup that will be answered at the climax.”
“Act One defines the conflict. Act Two elaborates that conflict to a Point of No Return. Act Three resolves that conflict, for good or ill.”