The movie I wrote and directed is finally making its TV debut. Should I live-tweet it?
Using a new screenwriting software called Fade In to write a movie for China. When we did Shanghai Calling we discovered that Final Draft (the most ubiquitous screenwriting software in Hollywood) doesn’t support Asian fonts, which was problematic because our movie had American and Chinese cast and crew who needed to read the script in their respective languages. My assistant had to painstakingly compose the Chinese screenplay using Microsoft Word, which nearly drove her crazy because she had to manually adjust the line formatting for each element (scene headings, descriptions, character names, dialogue, etc).
Thankfully, Fade In supports Unicode fonts including Chinese. This seems like a no brainer since 99.9% of composition software allows you to write in multiple languages and alphabets, even on your phone. As you can see from the screenshot above I’m able to insert a Chinese name or phrase whenever I need it, even though I’m writing the movie in English. It’s working pretty well so far, my only complaints are:
- The font control can get a little buggy sometimes, although closing and relaunching the app seems to solve that problem.
- I can’t change the font on the title page in the “Written By” or “Contact” fields. Hopefully Fade In can issue a fix for this before I finish this draft (3.5 weeks from now)?
It looks like my translator will be able to do the Chinese script directly inside Fade In (rather than having to switch to another software like Word) which will save us a TON of time. And it could potentially lead to many more screenwriters and producers in China switching to Fade In to write their movies.
[NOTE: In a previous version of this post I incorrectly stated that Fade In was “Java based.” It’s actually native / C++.]
This Friday, April 26, I’ll be a guest panelist at the USC Annenberg School of Communications’ “Hollywood 3.0" panel on International Co-Productions. I think my panel is at 2:30PM. Come by with any questions you might have about making your film in China!
Here’s the link to the Hollywood 3.0 Facebook page with all of the info.
I have just discovered several pieces of Tumblr “fan mail” in my inbox. No idea how long it’s been sitting there! Apologies if any of you guys have been sitting around waiting for a reply… Will get to it I promise!