We created the outline using www.join.me. We shared our screen on this Web site and my brother took the lead on the typing. We originally tried Skype but found the Skype connection would crash a lot. Join.me would connect us for hours.
We could have used Google Docs but decided to try join.me instead and we loved it. We could write anywhere: our homes, coffee shops etc. We just needed an internet connection.
Once we were ready to write the script though, we knew we wanted to be in the same document. We spent hours trying to get Final Draft's Collabowriter to work. I won't go into details but basically, we could never get our computers to talk (and we used multiple computers - both PC and Mac) and troubleshooted for hours.
With today's technology, we were heartily disappointed in Collabowriter. Final Draft, you need to work on this! If you're going to be the go-to software for screenwriting, you need to be on the cutting-edge of technology, and allow for easy collaboration.
So what to do? We turned to Google. We tried some screenplay templates others have created for Google Docs but none seemed very intuitive. Next, we tried writing text in a Google document, using tabs for indents, and then copying and pasting the text into Final Draft. This proved problematic as the formatting would go away once the text was pasted into Final Draft.
After more research and testing, we found that if we saved the Google document as a Plain Text file and then dropped that file over our Final Draft icon, we could import the text as a script (select Script when importing) and Final Draft would recognize our formatting! Voila!
We jumped in and typed up our script in our Google document like we normally would in Final Draft. Of course the FD software automatically formats your text, so we had to try to emulate that formatting in our shared Google Doc in the simplest way possible.
We made the headers ALL CAPS: INT. HIGH SCHOOL - CLASS ROOM - AFTERNOON.
We would then insert a hard return and write the action as we would write any kind of paragraph: JANE DOE (30s) stands at the front of the class.
We would then insert a hard return and tab over (any sized-tab works) and use ALL CAPS to type up a character name: JANE.
Add another hard return, tab over and write dialogue: Houston, we have a problem.
FD even recognizes parentheticals. Just tab over and put in the parenthetical: (reading from her notes).
If you want to use a transition, just align the text to the right side of the page and insert your transition (i.e. CUT TO:) just as you would in FD.
Here's the sample:
INT. HIGH SCHOOL - CLASS ROOM - AFTERNOON
JANE DOE (30s) stands at the front of the class.
(reading from her notes)
Houston, we have a problem.
Jane looks up. No one is listening.
I can't tell you how excited we are to figure this out. I thought, I have to share this revelation with my readers. I hope this helps all the screenwriters out there. Happy writing and formatting!
Let me know if anyone has any other sweet filmmaking tips!