[Geany-devel] A screenplay plugin for geany

Anil Gulecha anil.verve at xxxxx
Sun Oct 9 16:54:33 UTC 2011

Hi All,

Screenwriting is the method of writing for TV and Movies. A specific
format is prescribed to write content for these mediums. Currently
specialized editors are used for these. The industry standards are
Final Draft [0], and Movie Magic Screenwriter[1]. These sell for
hundreds of $$, and are essentially just glorified text editor + pdf

The best open source (kinda) editor is a bloated piece of software
called celtx[2]. Another good alternative is pago, a vim script, but
vim is hardly an accessible editor for average joe writer[3]. And IMO,
celtx is bloated, slow, and some functionality is hidden behind a

The screenplay format is as follows (http://pastebin.com/fvGk9Bew)
------------- (read in monospace) -------

" screenplay specifications:
" ELEMENT            ( beginning#, ending#, total#, align, caps )
" (s) SCENE HEADING      (     11        70       60      L    yes  )
" (a) ACTION             (     11        70       60      L     no  )
" (c) CHARACTER          (     31        70       40      L    yes  )
" (p) PARANTHETICAL      (     26        55       30      L     no  )
" (d) DIALOGUE           (     21        55       35      L     no  )
" (t) TRANSITION         (     70        11       60      R    yes  )

Example file.screenplay:

          EXT. - MENTAL FACILITY - LATE AFTERNOON    <-- (s)

          ROHIT (25) is outside, standing at ease. Hair waving in the   <--
          light breeze on a hot afternoon. He is average build,         <-- (a)
          wearing a black suit, looking a little disheveled. He puts    <--
          his hat on and picks up a flat stone.

          Rohit studies the pole and his hands. He continues walking
          towards the facility.

                                                               :CUT TO  <-- (t)


          ROHIT walks into the facility to the reception. A NURSE(30)
          sits behind the desk. Rohit looks around and spots a couple
          patients, and a male DOCTOR(30) walking down the corridor
          into the room holding five.

                              ROHIT                               <--- (c)
                             (slowly)                             <-- (p)
                    Hi, I'm Rohit. I have an                      /
                    appointment to meet one of your               <-- (d)
                    patients - Manoj Chaterjee.                   \

--------------end of pastebin --------

Commercial editors sell for 100s of dollars, when really a simple text
editor will do. Infact this format has been used over the past
century, and most scripts were written on typewriters. yet there does
not exist a simple and good free screenwriter.

Here's the help I'm looking for from the geany developers.. help write
a simple plugin that assist with writing .screenplay files. This will
essentially boil down to defining 6 types of texts (s/a/c/p/d/t), and
making sure that when new content is added to a dialogue, it wraps at
the appropriate margins.

If someone who understands the geany plugin system volunteers to help,
I can make myself available anytime to help (I have made some notes).

This is a highly sought after functionality in the open source world,
and I believe no program so far has been able to provide a good
alternative to the expensive commercial solutions. If this plugin is
written, it will definitely attract many (MANY!) new people to the
editor. I am quite proficient in python, and if this is the language
for the plugins, I can help with writing it. Beyond that I will
evangelise it, (and for what it's worth, provide credits in the film I
just shot :).

Please let me know if you'd have any specific questions about the
screenplay format.


[0] http://store.finaldraft.com/final-draft.html
[1] http://www.screenplay.com/
[2] http://www.celtx.com
[3] http://www.vim.org/scripts/script.php?script_id=2447

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