Using the screenplay tool
The Screenplay is at the very heart of Plotbot, and the reason you’re probably reading this right now. Plotbot’s in-browser screenplay tool is essentially screenwriting software geared towards multiple people working together to write a screenplay, minus the costs and installation of most other screenwriting software. In fact, you’ll never need to install anything to use Plotbot’s screenwriting tool, aside from a browser that can handle AJAX (any modern browser will do just fine.)
Using Scenes to write your screenplay
The screenplay is broken down into the scenes you created earlier (or, if you didn't create any, you'll be able to split them up as you write). Each of your scenes is separated into its own section, which includes the scene summary you created in the scenes tab and any comments written about the scene.
By writing in scenes, you have the ability to lock certain parts of your screenplay down when they’re finished. We highly recommend you use scenes as having all of your screenplay in one scene can slow down Plotbot’s performance for you.
The left hand column of your Screenplay page is devoted to details about your scene. At the top of each scene, you’ll see your scene summary followed by any comments made about the scene. There are also a few buttons underneath your scene comments that give you some control over your screenplay:
This button updates your scene to show you any writing or changes that have occurred since you opened the page
Lock this scene
Locking a scene allows you to prevent any further edits. A scene can be unlocked at any time.
Branch this scene
A branch is an alternative version of a scene. If you create a branch, you can experiment with taking the scene in a different direction while leaving the original scene in place. You're able to go back and forth between the branches as you wish.
When you create a branch, you’re prompted to describe it, so your collaborators (or just you, if you’re forgetful) know why the branch exists. For scenes that have branches, a Multiple Versions button shows up above your scene description. When clicking on an alternate version, you will be given a link to make the current branch primary, so that it always shows up as the default.
In the main screenplay column, you'll notice a big button within each scene that says "ADD AN ELEMENT." Elements are the primary components of your screenplay text. When you click this button, you're given a choice of three elements.
Commenting in the Screenplay
Within the screenplay view, you can comment on individual elements by clicking the dialogue box next to them. You can also continue to comment on scene descriptions from the screenplay page.
Viewing Comments in the Screenplay
When someone has left a comment, the right hand column will both list the number of comments made for the element and the dialogue box will appear filled in. Clicking on either of these will expand to show you the comments for the dialogue, action, or slugline they accompany, and let you leave your own comment.
Found in the right hand column of your screenplay, stars are a simple way of letting someone know you like their contribution, or of highlighting an element written in the screenplay. Clicking a blank star will turn it blue, or if others have already starred the element, clicking it again will add another star behind it.
It’s an easy way of providing encouragement to your fellow writers that we at Plotbot found to be helpful after writing “Hey, good line!” way too many times.
Next to the stars, every element has a dot or circle. This is the element’s Change Indicator, and the approximate size of the date corresponds to how large a change the most recent writer made. For elements that have never been changed, an empty, medium sized white circle indicates that the element was created by the writer its name is next to. Changes are denoted by filled-in dots - the bigger the dot, the bigger the change. Clicking on a dot or the # of versions text will expand to show all versions of an element. From here, you can compare and restore previous versions of an element, and even restore elements that have been deleted.
Downloading and printing your screenplay
Your screenplay’s no good to you all locked up online, so we’ve made it super simple for you to download and/or print your screenplay. You’ll see the buttons in the top right of your screenplay.
The print view will bring up a version of the screenplay by itself, minus all of the comments on miscellaneous stuff we’ve put in the sidebars to help your write.
Posted on 05/26/2008.