Monday, April 20, 2009

2-Column Video Script Format in Pages

I've had a series of scripts to write and re-write for a client lately and they need to be in the traditional two-column format with Video on the left, and Audio on the right. Sadly, Apple's Pages doesn't handle this format readily and there's no pre-made template for it.

I asked around and some friends almost always suggested that I:

A: use M$ Word. I've been 100% M$-free since February 17th 1999 and I'm not changing that now.
B: use Celtx which rocks and I wish more people would use it but not everyone has it, not everyone wants to install it (It'll be complicated to install! they'll say) and oddly, they don't trust free software because they've been jaded from being plagued for years by mal and spy-ware on their Windows boxes. (Yes, Celtx is free)
C: use a Spreadsheet. Spreadsheets are like the Leatherman's of documents, and while it would work I want simple.

Besides, I use Pages a lot. It's nearly always open on my Mac.

Okay, so how to make a two-column AV Video Script template for Pages...

01) Launch Pages.
02) Choose Blank from Word Processing which will open a new blank document.
03) In the Menubar: Insert > Table.
04) In the left top grey box type "VIDEO"
05) In the right top grey box type "AUDIO"
06) Resize the middle column to something that looks nice.
07) Open up the Inspector Palette and click on the 7th from left button to open up the Table Inspector and click the Down Arrow under Body Rows until it says "1". (in Pages version 3 '08 it'll read just Rows and you should set it to 2)
08) Make sure that "Automatically resize to fit content" is checked.

Now you can start typing away. Some tips though; you'll have to click twice to be able to type in a box. If you click once on a box and start typing what's in the box will be replaced with what you just typed so keep Command + Z handy.

Also, as it is now, you'll have two continuous columns as you type but if you need each scene in a separate box you can add another row by click on the Edit Rows & Columns pull-down menu and selecting "Add Row Below" or just hit OPTION + Down Arrow.

The great thing about this format is that if you have an empty box you can just click and drag an existing box's contents into it.

The only other hassle or help, depending on how you look at it, is that Pages will put a previously typed entry into a new box if the new box begins similarly, this is a Table after all. If you want to get rid of the pre-emtive help go to preferences with COMMAND + ' (apostrophe) and uncheck "Show auto-completion list in table columns." But, overall this works fairly well for two-column A/V Scripts and since most Macs have Pages already, it's usually compatible.

Once you have the template built and as you like it by adding footers, headers, company logo, etc... go to File > Save As Template... and you'll always have it handy under My Templates from the Template Chooser.


TanyaGDavies said...

I have celtx and looked at the AV looked like a regular screenplay to me...what was I looking at wrong and I use a mac does that make a difference?

Walker Ferox said...

AV templates have two columns one for Video and one for Audio. Usually Video is on the left.

J Rome Carolfi said...

The Celtx AV template does not look like what is described here. Perhaps the author should actually set it up in Celtx and get back to us on that.

Walker Ferox said...

Well, considering the post is from 2009 and is about Apple's Pages rather than Celtx I'd not expect it to.

Roseywinter said...

The author described the AV template for Celtx correctly. Or rather, that's what it looks like after Celtx formats it. When you first type it, it does slightly resemble the screenplay format, but there are some differences. But then, after you format it, it looks just like any other AV script.

Larry Elford, Visual Investigations said...

very helpful

thanks sooooo much for this, it is exactly what I needed

your kind efforts at helping others will come back around towards you