A-list Screenwriters call out Scrivener flaws at AFF 2017 event.

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Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:49 pm Post

Just a heads up, maybe someone from L&L should reach out to Craig Mazin and John August.

In episode 326 of Scriptnotes (their wildly popular screenwriting podcast) they held a live 3-page challenge at the 2017 Austin Film Festival. This is an event where they critique three pages from a listener's screenplay. At this event, they had a prominent agent and manager participating and a large live audience.

In one critique, they commented that there was something wrong with her screenplay formatting. There were spacing problems and the page headers were wrong. Mazin said that good screenwriting software should take care of that. The writer said it was written in Scrivener, and both August and Mazin responded in a way that made it clear that they didn't think much of Scrivener.

I expect that the formatting problems were settings that could have been remedied by the writer.

That being said, I think L&L should look at making standard screenplay output simpler and easier. Also, showing this to August and Mazin will probably get you a more positive mention on a future podcast.

Hope that helps.

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Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:01 pm Post

I'm generally a fan of their podcast, but tend to discount their comments regarding Scrivener, for a variety of reasons:
- August is in a conflict of interest on the topic, as he develops/markets his own line of screenwriting related apps.
- Mazin appears to know little about Scrivener. August may or may not, given that, as mentioned above, he develops/markets his own line of screenwriting related apps. Both apparently spend little if any time actually using Scrivener in their writing.
- They commit the sin of blaming the tool rather than the artist. If the submission's format was that wonky and non-standard (excessive white space was the main complaint I recall), that's the responsibility of the aspiring writer, not the app. Add to that that in doing so, they violate their own repeated advice to not get hung up on such rigid minutia.

That said, by comparison, they spent an entire episode criticizing perhaps the dominant screenwriting app.
I'm a Scrivener enthusiast and experienced in PC/network support... but I am not a Scrivener expert. And I'm still editing on my first book. So take any opinion or advice I offer with a large grain of salt.