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Doctor who fan mini series that's a bit too ambitious

Started by KIT-KAT, Nov 09, 2017, 09:31 pm

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Quote from: Mark on Jun 21, 2018, 09:52 pm
Not sure if it may help you in any way but there is a free (ish) bit of software called Celtex which is designed for scriptwriting and had/has some great features for generating call sheets,  character profiles and stuff.

I'm not 100% sure but I think you can import Word documents into it.

I doubt Word documents can be put in, Mark, but I do recall (when using Celtx) that you can import scripts made in Final Draft. It took ages to convert (I don't even know if it did successfully convert), but it could apparently do that.

Adding to Mark's suggestion, kitkat, if you're intent on free, offline screenwriting (compared to Celtx, which is online-based and is more freemium) and nothing more, I would suggest an open-source software called Trelby (https://www.trelby.org/). However, it's a little difficult to get around (it took me a while to find out how to add a title page and change the settings to my liking), and worse, it hasn't been officially updated for almost six years now (last update was September 2012, but GitHub says the last commit to the code was October 2016 -- ouch...).

Though, if you want something more modern and regularly-updated (with either more than you will need for writing a fan film, or just enough with maybe one or two nice extras), I suggest Afterwriting (https://afterwriting.com/). It is browser-based, like Celtx, and it uses a markup language specifically made for screenwriting called Fountain (which might feel a little like programming at first glance, what with syntax and stuff), but there is an offline version of the app (see the info button on the site), and it's not too hard to remember the syntax for certain script elements. (Some are invoked through either one or two symbols, and even if you don't know, there's a page devoted to the syntax -- https://fountain.io/syntax) You can't add pictures AFAIK, but you could always try to find a way to add it into the exported PDF. (Anyone here on the forum tried doing that with LibreOffice? I'm curious)

(Yeesh, I sound like Dino at this point... ::))

-- Hunter
ThePuzzledboy - a cosplayer who needs his own TARDIS and console.....


Jun 22, 2018, 05:35 am #76 Last Edit: Jun 22, 2018, 06:08 am by galacticprobe
Quote from: ThePuzzledBoy on Jun 22, 2018, 05:13 am
(Yeesh, I sound like Dino at this point... ::))

I take that as a compliment, Hunter! :D

I've played with some freeware scriptwriting apps before. There really isn't one I can recommend because they all seemed to have the same level of difficulty when it came to figuring out how to get things right, some of which have already been mentioned.

That syntax can sometimes cause difficulty because it doesn't always know what's a comment inserted into the direction with parentheses, and what's a parenthetical (the extremely brief instruction in parentheses directly below the character's name, and before the dialogue); i.e.:

A sign reads TRADING POST (Large RED Lettering all UPPER CASE), below it JOHN DOE PROPRIETOR (smaller lettering, still UPPER CASE). The sign is partially covered on top by overhanging thatch from the roof. Something startles the horses in the neighboring corral and they whinny. Inside, JOHN DOE reaches for a double-barrel shotgun mounted on a rack and races to the door.

                                                  (angry, snapping shotgun
                                         Those horses hold a hundred
                                         dollars worth of profit. I don't
                                         intend on losin' them to rustlers.

In this case, the scriptwriting software had troubles differentiating the Direction augmentation in parentheses (how the lettering appears on the sign), with the Parenthetical (how Doe should react as he delivers his lines).

I also don't know how much of a difference there is in format between US scripts and UK scripts. In US scripts, the first time a character's name is mentioned it is always shows in ALL CAPS. From there on it only appears in ALL CAPS when it's his turn to speak. Also, of the scripts I've gotten copies of (one of my favorite, the Season 1 'Lost In Space' episode "War Of The Robots"), there are no pictures, no logos (except on the Cover page showing the iconic "Lost In Space" lettering).

Scripts are strictly text documents. Any graphics or photos are done on separate pages, mostly for SFX people or prop/set builders, and occasionally to show actors what they're seeing in a scene if it's going to be placed there in post-production, but are never inserted into scripts permanently. Also the indents are a strange thing to deal with and I've seen script samples from different shows and it seems like no two are the same. Writers' web sites are also of little help as some will say that dialogue is indented X number of inches on the left and Y number on the right, while others will say it's indented A number of inches on the left and B number on the right. (It's like the scriptwriters themselves can't agree on anything!)

I don't know how much of this is helpful, but some of it should be.

"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"


Thanks to you all! Sorry I've got back late. I'll look into the software you've suggested! Thanks :)
No, not the mind probe!

alan smithee

Chiming in as someone who studied film, the parentheticals should never describe any sort of physical action. They're solely reserved for describing how the character should deliver the line of dialogue they're about to say. And even then, they should only be used sparingly.

If you want to have the character do a physical action as they speak, you can break up the dialogue with a description line, and then pick up with the dialogue again. (Often the character's name will feature the word "(Continued)" next to it when you pick back up again.)

Also, the "action" text (i.e. the descriptions of what's happening, what people look like, etc.) should be kept very concise and to the point. The rule of thumb I learned was, never go over four lines of text per block. And even then, that's pushing it! Consider each block of text to be like a separate shot, constantly moving the story forward.

But at the same time, you also should never dictate camera moves or angles in the script. It's a little different because you're doing this as an amateur production, but in the professional sphere the writer doesn't have a say in how the scene will be filmed or edited. It's seen as stepping on the director and cinematographer's toes, basically.

Here's a link to a writing exercise I did a while back, an attempt to more faithfully translate the first issue of WATCHMEN into screenplay format: https://www.dropbox.com/s/zcpqj9gdz1qgqv3/Watchmen%20Issue%201%20-%20Writing%20Exercise.pdf?dl=0

I'm not saying it's Shakespeare or anything, haha, but I figured it could be helpful for you in terms of learning about the format!


Hello Again, a little update.
Style wise I'm going for a 1960s science-fiction cross 80s grainy horror.
I will upload it to youtube however for the highest quality viewing it will be uploaded to Vimeo too.

visual styles I've taken inspiration from in films such as:

Mandy (2018)
2001 a space odyssey (1969)
Fleet foxes 2018 I'm all that I need music video (2018)

mandy 1.jpgmandy 2.jpg2001.jpgfleetybois.jpg
No, not the mind probe!


A year later, are you anywhere near scripting and filming?


;D sorry mate I did say I was taking it slow! I've got my GCSEs coming up so I can't really. and I haven't got much income so I have to save it up to buy things. :)
No, not the mind probe!


Oh the ambitious teen-aged fan filmer... good luck with that! I was there once.


No, not the mind probe!


Dec 09, 2018, 02:43 pm #84 Last Edit: Dec 09, 2018, 03:03 pm by kitkat123
I've created a draft for the opening titles using dalekium's "lucky thirteen" theme

the first two names aren't 100% going to be final and I've also spelled executive wrong but apart from that, I'm pretty happy with them.

The "vortex" is made from two images I took of some water and some clouds. And then I animated them.
I'm a bit of a perfectionist and everything has to look perfect so that's a blessing and a curse, I take to long on everything as shown by this thread.

Be great to hear some thoughts on it!  ;D
No, not the mind probe!


Looks great. Especially as the Doctor Who logo merges together. Can I make a suggestion? If you are having a pre-credit sequence, why not have one of your cast members scream at the camera from some unknown horror and blend the scream into the start of the titles as the sting? I always think that would be a good intro and I'm not sure it's been done before.
Looking amazing so far!!


Thanks ciderman! Yeah that sounds like a great idea, I'll definitely use it if I can  :)
No, not the mind probe!


Wow! I'm loving the concepts so far and that opening sequence is simply fantastic! I hope the production of your series goes well!  ;D


Prop of notice.
I got a lovely retro Tv on freecycle and It's perfect for some of the house decoration in one of the sets
we also own a retro telephone from around the same time period, I believe it's one of the old British Telecom phones.

IMG_3886 (1).JPG
No, not the mind probe!


May 06, 2019, 09:32 pm #89 Last Edit: May 06, 2019, 09:34 pm by kitkat123
Here's a new draft of the titles.

Love to hear your thoughts!  :)

No, not the mind probe!