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Beat

A simple and elegant screenwriting app for macOS, using the plain-text Fountain screenplay format. It's fast, lightweight and, above all, has a distraction-free, minimalistic UI. Beat is also free and open source under GPL.

Read more: https://kapitan.fi/beat/

This started as a personal project as I needed a simple, multi-window, lightweight screenwriting application for my own films. All other existing screenwriting apps were weird, expensive, cumbersome or even lacked some pretty important features - such as automatic and visible scene numbering while writing. At this point Beat pretty much outdoes most of the commercial Fountain editors, with certain limitations. To make up for those, Beat some very useful features, such as powerful outlining tools, scene coloring and filtering.

Beat is originally a fork of Writer by Hendrik Noeller (https://github.com/HendrikNoeller/Writer/) and some code still originates from his work, especially within the magnificent continuous Fountain parser.

Latest release: Beat 1.7

Features

  • Minimalistic UI with as little distractions as possible
  • Smart, automatic screenplay formatting
  • Dark mode for the children of the night
  • Extensive support for Fountain syntax
  • Final Draft import / export
  • Title page editor
  • JavaScript plugin API
  • Super-fast print preview
  • Automatic scene numbering in edit view – with forced scene number recognition
  • Page numbering while editing
  • Script version comparison with edit markers
  • Outline list view, with sections and synopses, scene reordering and filtering
  • Outline card view, with sections & synopses
  • Timeline view with sections & synopses
  • Autocomplete characters and scene headings
  • Color-coded scenes
  • Analysis view, with line count per character, amount of lines by gender, scene locations, etc.
  • Fountain Quicklook in Finder
  • Autosave & script backups in case of crashes
  • Automatic paragraphs & tab key for auto character cue
  • Timer with measuring your productivity

Note: This repository follows my development, so it DOES NOT match the latest release version. Dread lightly, dear friend!

FAQ

Future & State of development

Beat is under active development when I have the time -- or rather, desperately need a new feature myself. Worst bugs will usually be fixed ASAP. If you encounter a bug, contact me through Twitter, e-mail or file an issue here on GitHub.

Running on Catalina / Big Sur

Beat is ready for Big Sur. You need to allow Beat to run from System Preferences → Security → General. Click on the lock and allow Beat.

Plugins

You can download the latest public plugins and learn more about creating your own in the Beat Plugin repo: https://github.com/lmparppei/BeatPlugins

iOS Version

Some day. A working prototype exists, but its development is on hiatus right now, as I'm working on my own films and things.

Will There Be a Windows Version?

Unfortunately no. Beat is written in Objective C and relies on native macOS APIs. There are no good Fountain editors on Windows, and somebody should really write one, but it won't be me.

Can I help?

Please do! The person behind this project is not a real programmer but an artist and a filmmaker, and it really shows in the code. When I started the project, my understanding of Objective-C was little to none, and it shows. Though my code has been getting better, there are still silly things going on. Help, donations and feedback are highly appreciated!

If you are here just to steal some code for your own Fountain editor, the best stuff can be found under Parsing, Fountain and User Interface folders in the project. Note that most of the code is under GPL, so you need to share your derivative work publicly.

Post-mortem

Beat is purely an anti-capitalist venture. It will stay free and open source forever, even if there might be a "pro" version with some extra content to finance the development. I came to filmmaking from a DIY & underground art scene, and was shocked. We desperately need new voices and new people to tell their own stories instead of all the established middle-class white people, including me. A free screenwriting app might not be the thing that helps you to break through, but it's something to build upon, I guess.

The app has been cooked through trial and error, and might be rough around the edges, but it is -- above all -- a labour of love. At times, to vent my frustration, I've included quotes from my favourite poets as comments in the code. They include Forough Farrokhzad, Marina Tsvetayeva and Charles Bukowski. All apologies.

Lauri-Matti Parppei
www.parppei.com

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