# Writing a video script using markdown

edited October 2021 in Writing

I am polishing a script for an upcoming YT-Video and thinking about how to make the script more readable. Do you have any suggestions on how to format the script? Do you use line breaks? How to you indicate when a video is starting or an image is included?

Live long and prosper
Sascha

I am a Zettler

• edited October 2021

I could probably help you with this, but I'd need a bit more information on what you're looking for. In truth, though, most people (myself included) just do whatever makes it easy to read, and access. But, some things to consider:

• Do you care if the script is visible? (I don't).
• Are you on screen the whole time, or is this a voice over?
• What do you mean by line breaks?
• Are you planning on shooting the video straight through and uploading, or will you be editing it down after filming?
• What do you mean by "when a video is starting" or "image included?" You can just note this in bold, no?

Most of this depends on whether or not you'll be editing the vid afterwards. So, maybe start there.

Disclosure: I do a lot of editing in my videos:

• edited October 2021

@taurusnoises Haha! Great video!!! (No relationship to the original question - sorry @sfast )

• @GeoEng51 said:
@taurusnoises Haha! Great video!!! (No relationship to the original question - sorry @sfast )

THANKS!

• @taurusnoises said:
I could probably help you with this, but I'd need a bit more information on what you're looking for. In truth, though, most people (myself included) just do whatever makes it easy to read, and access.

Mh. The end goal is to have a readable script which is minimally convoluted with synthax or conventions. Right now, a script looks like this:

I cannot put the finger on the issue. But I am not satifisfied with the current state.

• Do you care if the script is visible? (I don't).

Visible to me. The imagery for the viewer is edited into the video afterwards.

• Are you on screen the whole time, or is this a voice over?

Both.

• What do you mean by line breaks?

Oh, an artifact of my stream of consciousness: Linebreaks are my dividers for the different video sections. Perhaps even identical with YT-Chapters.

• Are you planning on shooting the video straight through and uploading, or will you be editing it down after filming?

My plan is to create the single sections and put them together later on.

• What do you mean by "when a video is starting" or "image included?" You can just note this in bold, no?

See my image. This is how I do it. But to me, it is too messy. To unclear. Actually, I am just asking how others do it to find some ideas that I can morph and adapt. Or perhaps just imitate.

I am a Zettler

• edited October 2021

See my image. This is how I do it. But to me, it is too messy. To unclear. Actually, I am just asking how others do it to find some ideas that I can morph and adapt. Or perhaps just imitate.

So, yeah. Getting examples and just seeing what feels less cluttered may be the best approach for you, since there's not correct way, and honestly, when I look at what you pictured above, I'm like, "wow, that looks very organized! A lot more organized than the scripts I use."

If I use a script at all, it's just a few lines that I jotted down a few minutes before I hit record. I need about 30 minutes of recorded material to yield a 10-minute video. But, the editing will take about three days. The editing, for me, is the whole thing.

Maybe put up another post explicitly asking for script examples.

• have you thought of using the formatting of an actual Screenwriting script?

they are very readable and have useful conventions to convert them into 24 FPS

https://highland2.app is a good markdownable and free place to start

• @probefahrer this looks great. is there a user manual for this or something alike?

my first Zettel uid: 202008120915

• @probefahrer said:
have you thought of using the formatting of an actual Screenwriting script?

they are very readable and have useful conventions to convert them into 24 FPS

https://highland2.app is a good markdownable and free place to start

Yes, I thought about that. However, I opted against it because I rarely write word by word what I am going to say.

The app looks fine but it seems to me that it is a minimal alteration of simple markdown?

I am a Zettler

• @sfast said:
Yes, I thought about that. However, I opted against it because I rarely write word by word what I am going to say.

I can completely relate to that.
although writing it out first as detailed as I possibly can and rephrasing it while talking works quite good for me in 50% of the cases

The app looks fine but it seems to me that it is a minimal alteration of simple markdown?

yes. you can import markdown / use MD to format the text.
all of the script formatting functions are extra.

• @zk_1000 said:
this looks great. is there a user manual for this or something alike?

heyho zk_1000
could you please specify what you mean exactly?
a user manual for highland? that comes with the app itself and you find a lot in the knowledge base on the website

or did you mean a user manual for using the movie script format for writing out talking points?

• the former. The knowledge base is a bit hidden i didn't find it at first. It's very helpful, thanks.

my first Zettel uid: 202008120915

• Here's some (free) tools I use to outline and draft screenplays and other script formats in plaintext.

Fountain syntax (the basis for highland2, markdown adaption with script specific formatting rules: fountain syntax

Fountain-mode for emacs: fountain-mode website and fountain-mode github
(Disclaimer/plug: I helped write some of the fountain-mode documentation. So if it's weird or unclear, blame me not the developer)

Storyboarder combines images/drawings with script text (supports fountain syntax): Storyboarder

A fun experiment is to study different formats for non-fiction filmmaking by exploring the many ways documentary screenplays are written.

Perhaps these resources prove useful to someone.

• Thanks @kohled. I look into it.

I am a Zettler

• @kohled said:

Fountain syntax (the basis for highland2, markdown adaption with script specific formatting rules: fountain syntax

thanks for clearing that up!

Storyboarder combines images/drawings with script text (supports fountain syntax): Storyboarder

Wow - that looks really helpful

A fun experiment is to study different formats for non-fiction filmmaking by exploring the many ways documentary screenplays are written.

yup, that's very useful advice. especially the voice overs

Perhaps these resources prove useful to someone.

you bet! thx

• Beg patience while I share a few thoughts from a minor geek out on ways to use fountain syntax for non-traditional script forms. I'll do my best to be succinct.

I've found a key part of the power in fountain syntax comes from being able to write metadata inline that is hidden when previewed.

So. Outline a script using header, synopsis, and notes:

# Headline One
= Synopsis sections summarizing what this section is about
[[Note sections for important stuff to remember]]
= Synopsis
[[Note]]


Neat thing: In fountain-mode, headlines and notes fold.

All of the above information is hidden when previewed, creating a clean, easy-to-read document of just the script itself. There are paid apps like highland2 that do this. There's also afterwriting.

Lastly, it's straightforward to use fountain syntax for non-traditional script forms by forcing the syntax. Such as, re-purposing Scene Headings.

A traditional screenplay looks like this:

## Jolene Gets Her Coffee Injection. Perhaps All Will Be Well.
= Jolene Meets the Barista. He Saves Her Life with Caffeine.
[[Jolene doesn't know the Barista is an assassin meant to kill her.]]
[[The Barista doesn't know his target is Jolene.]]

INT. COFFEE SHOP - DAY

Jolene plops down at an empty table, exhausted.

She needs coffee. Lots. Now. Intravenously if possible.

JOLENE
(to the Barista)
Coffee.

The Barista arrives with an IV drip.

BARISTA
Intravenously, I presume.


This looks like this when previewed:

For a non-traditional script, youtube or whatever, just type a period . to force a scene heading. Such as:

## Opening Section
= An overview of the zettelkasten technique.
[[Keep it to less than three minutes. It's an impatient world.]]

.INTRODUCE WHY THE ZETTELKASTENS WILL SAVE THE WORLD

The presenter’s eye narrow as she applies hyper-mentation on the viewer.

Using superior logic, she persuades her audience to build their
zettelkastens one note at a time and make connections between notes.

THE MASTER
All will be revealed in time.

STUDENT
It will?

THE MASTER
It was never hidden in the first place.


Preview:

Anyway, just having fun and wasting space. There are many more applications. But maybe it sparks some imagination and exploration.

• Fountain also imports very nicely into programs like FadeIn, which can then format the text in non-screenplay formats. So, for a podcast series I write, I do the scripts in Fountain format in BBEdit (or, recently, TheArchive), and then copy it and "Paste As Fountain" into FadeIn. I have a FadeIn template which formats the styles with character names on the left and dialogue on the right - a good layout for plays and radio. There are several other good options for working with Fountain-formatted files, including some like Slugline that will let you keep the files as plain text.