Writing Your Script
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Revision as of 19:51, 26 November 2010
Writing Your Script
Whether you're writing poetry, song lyrics, a novel or film script, the Celtx Script Editor allows scripts to be created from scratch using the 12 pt Courier font, or imported from other word processing programs as plain text files .
Celtx film scripts adhere to the industry standard format. Scripts can be quickly written in Celtx with the built in format-intelligence. Celtx knows what logically comes next in a standard script, Scene heading (slugline) ->Action -> Character -> Dialog... just by using the 'return key' to move from one element to the next. The tab key will quickly switch from Character back to Action. See formatting details and shortcuts below.
The Script Editor interface is comprised of 6 main components:
- 1. Script Editor Window
- 2. Script Editor Toolbar
- 3. Project Navigator
- 4. Scene Navigator
- 5. Project Toolbar
- 6. Media Sidebar
Below is an image that illustrates the interface when all component features are open and turned on.
Customize your Work Space
Each component of the Script Editor can be customized to help optimize your workspace. For example, the interface displays can be re-sized using the small, white disc 'grippies' located on the inside borders of the navigator and sidebar panels. Just click your cursor on the grippy and slide it left / right, or up / down accordingly.
The Sidebar can be turned on or off by selecting the Sidebar icon (located at far right in Editor toolbar) or Script menu->Sidebar.
The main Project Toolbar can be turned on or off, or the toolbar functions can be customized to display as text, icons, or both by selecting these options from View menu->Toolbars.
Below is a view of your bare-bones Script Editor:
Script Editor Toolbar Features
Script Formatting - Element dropdown menu
Each of the standard script elements (Scene Heading (slugline), Action, Character, Dialog, Parenthetical (wryly), Transition and Shot) are found in the Script Element dropdown in the editor toolbar. Selecting one of these script elements from the drop down will apply the appropriate formating to your text, conforming to the industry script standard. This drop down menu is best used for formatting large portions of text.
If you want to reformat some text, place your cursor in the block of text you wish to change and select the appropriate format element.
Tab / Enter
The Tab / Enter keys provide shortcuts to formatting your script elements. Refer to the shortcut formatting chart below for details. Note that the elements less used (ie. Transition and Shot) have been removed from the element sequence, but can be applied from the element dropdown menu.
The Tab /Enter functionality is also referenced in the status bar at the bottom of the editor display screen as you type.
Shift + Tab
If you made a mistake and want to cycle backwards through element selections made previously, select SHIFT + TAB.
Ctrl+1: Scene Heading
Script Editor Formatting Keyboard Shortcuts
|If you type TAB in...||You will get to...|
|If you type ENTER in...||You will get to...|
|If you type TAB in...||You will get to...|
Script Notes provide a handy commenting system within your script. The notes can be used to ask questions or make comments regarding details about a particular scene, prop, character, camera angle, etc. The notes can be added and removed, and are editable and draggable. You can also create a Script with Notes report in the Reports feature.
To Add a script note
While in the Editor, click your cursor where you want the note to be inserted in the text Then click on the yellow note in the Editor toolbar. The note displays in the script.
To Open and add comments:
Single-click the note to open it. You'll see that each note is date-stamped with the current date. Type in your text. Text space within the note is unlimited so write as much as you like.
Single click inside the note. Once created, clicking on the Note icon in the script will display the contents of the script note.
Open the note, select 'Edit', make your text changes and single click to close.
Click your cursor on the note and drag it to the desired position in the script.
Remove the note entirely by selecting the script note and pressing the Delete key.
Bold / Italic / Underline
To add the bold, italic and underline styles, simply highlite the text you want to stylize, then select the appropriate icon from the Editor toolbar.
To view the underline style, be sure to click off the text highlite after the underline icon has been selected.
Change UPPER/lower case
To change text characters or words from upper case to lower case and vice versa, highlite the text and select the corresponding icon from the Editor toolbar.
Find and Replace
Find & Replace is found under the Edit menu and is used to search for specific text within the script window. You then have the option to replace the found text with different text.
To Find text in the script:
Find begins from the insertion point of your cursor within the script. Enter the text you are searching for in the 'Find Text' field of the F&R dialog. Click 'Find Next'. If the searched text is found, searching will stop and the found text will be selected. If no text is located, a message saying "No matches found" will appear in the dialog.
To Find the next occurrence of the same text:
Click 'Find Next' again.
To Replace the Find text:
Enter the text to be used as a replacement for the Find text in the "Replace with" text field. Click Replace (or Replace All). The text that was found will be replaced with the text in the 'Replace with' text field.
Searches the script and replaces all occurrences of the text that is being searched.
Celtx also provides you with a 'case sensitive' search option. (Matches upper/lower case text.)
Multi-Language Spell Checker
Celtx has a multi-language spell checker that is accessible via the Editor toolbar.
To begin spell-checking, place your cursor at the beginning of the text area you want to check. Select Spellcheck from the Celtx toolbar and a Check Spelling dialog will appear. Any misspelled words will show up at the top of the dialog. Spell Check will offer alternate word suggestions, and give you the option to Replace, Replace All, Add Word, Ignore or Ignore All. Once all misspelled words are detected, 'Completed spell checking' will appear at the top of the dialog.
You can add more language dictionaries to the Spellcheck tool by following the instructions here.
In-line Spell Check / Context Menu
This new feature checks your spelling as you write, underlining any misspelled words in red. Right-clicking on the mispelled word will display a context menu that presents correction options:
- Alternate word suggestions
- No suggestions found
- Add to dictionary
- Ignore word
To erase marked up items (items that have been broken down) in the Editor, highlight the text, then select the eraser icon from the Editor toolbar. The colour markup will be removed from the text. Details associated with the markup item will remain in the database.
The Editor's 12 pt Courier font can be viewed at 100% (default), 150%, or 200%. Select the Zoom dropdown menu to select the option you prefer.
Other Editor Features
This is the main display window where you write your script.
In Celtx multiple project windows can be open at one time which allows cut, copy, paste between multiple projects. Mac users can select the Windows menu to see which projects are open at once, and have the option to select which project they want to bring to the front of the screen.
The Auto-complete function applies to the Character and Scene Heading elements in the Script Editor. It saves you time as you write because it eliminates the need to repeatedly type a character name or scene header (ie INT. / EXT., etc.) over and over. Once the first instance of the element has been typed in the script, Auto-complete remembers it and displays a dropdown when the first letter of the element is typed in subsequent entries.
Scene numbers can be turned on or off depending on whether you're writing a spec script or shooting script. By default, the Script Editor does not assign scene numbers as you enter or revise your script.
To apply scene numbers to your script, go to File - >Page SetUp. Go to 'Show scene numbers' from the Page and Scene Numbers Dialog and select the placement option - 'left', 'right', or 'both' from the dropdown menu.
To turn scene numbers off, select 'none'
In the Script Editor page numbers can be turned on or off by going to File->Page Setup and ticking the Show page numbers box accordingly. You also have the option to Show page number on first page.
If your version of Celtx doesn't show this option, go to Script->Format Options and check the box for Pagination. Select the function again to turn it off.
A page counter is located in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen.
The Script Editor defaults to 54 lines per page and inserts page breaks automatically. Widows and Orphans get pushed to the next page.
The 'ScratchPad' is a small text editor that serves as a holding tank or 'Bone Yard' where you can store loose pieces of draft text, or jot down ideas that come to you while you are writing. You can also use the feature to swap out sections of your script to the ScratchPad.
The Scratchpad is accessible by clicking on the yellow notepad icon at the bottom of the Scene Navigator located on the left-hand side of your screen. The ScratchPad will open at the bottom of the Editor window.
There are many ways to send highlighted text to the ScratchPad:
- Any text can be dragged and dropped from the script to the ScratchPad, and vice versa. Just highlight the text, grab with your cursor, and drag to desired position.
- Cut and Paste
- Alternatively, highlight the text you want to move then right-click your mouse and select "Send to Scratchpad' in the Editor Context Menu.
- From the Scene Navigator you can send whole scenes to the Scratchpad by selecting the scene you want, then hit the small yellow icon in the Navigator toolbar.
Script Editor Context Menu
To access the Script Editor's context menu place your cursor in the script and right click your mouse. Context menu options include:
- [ Cut / Copy / Paste]
- Send to ScratchPad
The Title Page is accessed via the Tiltle Page subtab found at the bottom of the editor windows.
The Title Page is automatically included when you generate a PDF, and it can be printed off separately by selecting the 'Print' button located on the main toolbar of the Title Page.
Celtx can import plain text scripts generated by other script writing or word processing applications. Once a script is imported into Celtx it can then be further developed, edited and then broken down using the Production Breakdown features of Celtx. It is important to ensure that scripts are properly formatted before importing into Celtx, otherwise some manual tweaking may be required. Adhere to the instructions below and your import should go smoothly:
To Import a Script into Celtx...
- Open the script / file in the word processor.
- Remove any scene numbers.
- Remove anything before the first scene (Title Page, Sources, etc).
- Ensure the first text is EXT. or INT. (include periods and use uppercase, as shown)
- To convert your file to .txt, choose File->Save As and select File Type 'Text Only', or 'Text with Layout'.
- Ensure a .txt file is created. (Suggestion: Save it to your desktop for easy retrieval.)
- Open Celtx and select 'Start a New Project' from the splash page OR select File -> New Project from the Menu toolbar.
- Complete the New Project dialog as desired being sure to select 'Script' as one of your project items, then hit OK.
- Your new project opens, defaulting to script mode in the Editor window.
- Select Script->Import Script
- From your displayed file directory, navigate to and select the script /.txt file you want to import, then hit 'Open'.
- A progress bar appears showing the import activity of your script.
- Once the script has loaded, it will appear in the Script Editor window, while each scene is loaded into the Scene Navigator on the LH side of the screen.
Importing from the Other Guys
Currently Celtx only imports plain text script files, which can be created with either Final Draft Pro or Movie Magic Screen Writer 2000.
When in an open Celtx project, a WORD file can be added as an external file by selecting File menu->Add Item.
Please note that Celtx does not support MS WORD imports directly. WORD documents often include embedded tags that have a negative affect on Celtx formatting. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do NOT cut and paste text from WORD documents directly into the Celtx editor, nor into text files to be imported into Celtx .
Importing from Final Daft
Users of Final Draft will want to save their scripts with the 'Text Only with Layout' found under 'File -> Save As'.
Importing from Movie Magic Screen Writer
Users of Movie Magic Screen Writer will want to save their scripts using the 'Formatted ASCII' format found under 'File -> Save As' for Windows. On a Mac, select 'File -> Save As, then select the 'Avid Editor Format' from the file type drop down menu.
Import to an Existing Script
Celtx allows you to import additional scenes into your existing script. When you import an additional script, or portion of a script, it will be appended to the end of your existing project script.
Celtx currently supports the export of scripts as a text (.txt) or HTML files.
To export a script from Celtx....
- While in script mode of your project, select Script->Export script from the Menu toolbar.
- Complete the displayed Export dialog selecting where you want to save your file and in which file format you want to export your script.
- Select 'Save'.
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