Crafting Title Pages

The plain text of Fountain looks like a screenplay. It's a wonderful thing. Mostly.

There's one place in a Fountain document where this golden rule doesn't quite apply, and, unfortunately, it's at the very beginning of the document. The Fountain Title Page is not particularly intuitive. And for the time being, Slugline serves it up nearly raw, and even fights you a bit when you're trying to edit it.

A standard Fountain Title Page looks like this:

Title: CORN ON THE CLOBBER
Credit: written by
Author: Chilly Fries
Draft date: June 14, 2013
Contact: The Blue Shirt Agency

Not lovely, but not awful. The problem comes when you want to fill any of those fields with multiple lines of information. This requires dropping down a line after the colon, and then preceding each line with at least one space or tab:

Title: CORN ON THE CLOBBER
Credit: written by
Author: Chilly Fries
Draft date: June 14, 2013
Contact:
  The Blue Shirt Agency
  (310) 555-1212

You can do this with any of the Title Page fields. Slugline comes with a Template called "Adaptations Title Page" that includes this doozy:

Title: _**TIME CHEF**_
Credit: written by
Author: Powers Adaptus
Source:
  based on the novel by
  H. G. Goodenoff
Draft date: September, 1895
Contact:
  Registered WGA West
  The Blue Shirt Agency
  (310) 555-1212

Tip: You can copy/paste any of these examples right from this page into Slugline.

Although there is a fairly easy-to-understand logic at work here, it's easy to make mistakes. A common Slugline support issue is contact info "falling off" the bottom of the Title Page and landing on page 1 of the screenplay. This is usually due to one of three things. The easiest mistake is to forget to add a carriage return after Contact::

Title: THE THANG
Contact: The Blue Shirt Agency  <-- Oops
(310) 555-1212

INT. OPENING SCENE - DAY

Even if you remember the carriage return, it's easy to forget the leading spaces on the subsequent lines, like this:

Title: THE THANG
Contact:
The Blue Shirt Agency           <-- No leading spaces
(310) 555-1212                  <-- No leading spaces

INT. OPENING SCENE - DAY

Or you might remember to use the leading spaces, but insert an empty line somewhere in the Title Page block:

Title:
  THE THANG PART 2:
  MISS THANG
Contact:
                                <-- Empty line
  The Blue Shirt Agency  
  (310) 555-1212

INT. OPENING SCENE - DAY

The empty line after Contact: causes The Blue Shirt Agency to become an Action element on page 1, rather than remain attached to the Title Page block.

And those empty lines are easy to create, because Slugline likes to add them for you automatically when you press Return! Oops.

So when you're creating a Title Page with multi-line fields, it's handy to remember that Shift + Return can be used to create a single carriage return.

Tip: Use Shift + Return to create a single carriage return.

If you wind up with that empty line, Slugline may well prevent you from getting at it with the arrow keys—but you can click your cursor into it and then delete it.

Ug.

Slugline is all about simplicity and elegance, but we gotta admit, this Title Page stuff looks like it got beat with a complexity stick.

For now, the easiest way to create a detailed Title Page is to begin your screenplay from the "Adaptations Title Page" template (File → New From Template). Or copy/paste any of these examples.

We have some awesome ideas about how to make this much, much better in future versions. But for the time being, we hope this helps you troubleshoot your unruly Title Pages.

Stu MaschwitzHow to