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Final Draft Bug: Search and Replace Apr 18

The Glitch

Final Draft - Find and ReplaceSuppose you need to change a character name in your script. Simple right? In your screenplay editor of choice you simply execute a Find/Replace (Edit > Find…) for the name.


If you’re using Final Draft, and you happen to have dual dialogue (dialogue that’s written side-by-side — used primarily to indicate that two characters are speaking at the same time), for some reason the Find/Replace won’t work.

I found this out the hard way a while back when a director told me to make sure I had changed all of the names in the next draft. For someone like me, who’s a card-carrying perfectionist, that was cringe-inducing.

The Tips

1) If you have Final Draft and you do a Find/Replace for a character name — make sure to check the dual dialogue blocks afterwards to see if it worked everywhere.

2) It’s always a good idea to rebuild and alphabetize your character list.

The second tip was a great reminder from one of my clients who had also encountered this Final Draft glitch and shared it with me (thanks P.H.!).

Rebuilding your character list (in Final Draft: Document > SmartType…), alphabetizing it, and giving it a quick glance (before sending it out to important readers), is a great way to see if you:

- Have misspelled a character name (e.g. Steven / Stephen) and used both instances

- Still have names of characters that have since been deleted or had their names changed

Remember to periodically rebuild your character list

Remember to periodically rebuild and alphabetize your character list.
In Final Draft: Document > SmartType…

Audience Participation

Final Draft recently released version 9 of their software. Any test pilots out there with Final Draft 9 willing to see if a Find/Replace will now change a character name that’s a part of a dual dialogue block?

Note: I’m referring to the CHARACTER NAME that appears above the dialogue of a character, not the mere mention of a character’s name.

If you give it a try, please let me know. It would make upgrading to Final Draft 9 more worthwhile.

Parentheticals: Always Before Dialogue – Not After Apr 15

Quick Tip

Never end a dialogue block with a parenthetical.

I’ve been seeing this kind of thing a lot lately in the amateur scripts I’ve been reading:


You think that puny gun can kill me?


If you need to indicate an action that follows a block of dialogue, then just write it as an action line following the dialogue. For example:


You think that puny gun can kill me?

Demon laughs.

Note: The first example would have been okay if there were another line of dialogue after the parenthetical (also known as a “wryly”). For example:


You think that puny gun can kill me?


Shit, you might be right.

For more juicy insight on this absolutely fascinating topic (not really), please check out my 10 rules for using parentheticals.


Here’s the short horror/comedy film I wrote and directed — My Demon Girlfriend.

A lovable loser introduces his new girlfriend to his best friends — only to discover that there may be more to this woman than meets the eyes.


Let me know what you think!

And if you’re in the L.A. or Orange County area, and are interested in joining the Gemini Powers team to collaborate on some great videos, let me know.

My Demon Girlfriend

MY DEMON GIRLFRIEND – Teaser Trailer Feb 06

Here’s the teaser trailer for a short film I wrote and directed, called My Demon Girlfriend. It will be released next week in time for Valentine’s Day.

My Demon Girlfriend is a horror comedy short about a lovable loser looking to introduce his friends to his new date… only to discover that there may be more to her than meets the eyes.


Still from My Demon Girlfriend

Insights from the 2013 Black List: Title Pages Feb 04


This series takes a look at current trends in screenwriting and screenplay formatting, by examining the 2013 Black List scripts.

The Black List 2013 – Part 4: Title Page Formatting

Black List 2013 - InsightsSoooo… title pages. The various formatting books I rely on consistently prescribe title pages where the title of the script is:

  • all uppercase
  • underlined
  • written in a standard 12 point Courier / Courier New font (or equivalent — like Courier Final Draft or Courier Prime)

But as anyone who reads professional scripts on a regular basis will tell you, that rule is routinely broken.

You might be inclined to say — “Yeah, but the pros can get away with it, but we can’t.”

And you might be right.

Speaking in generalities and from my experiences, the farther up the chain you are in Hollywood, the less likely anyone is to treat such a thing as a red flag.

So depending on where you’re at, and your level of confidence with the important stuff that comes after your title page, you may want to just stick to the standard formatting so you don’t inadvertently annoy anyone.

Having said that, I almost never use Courier 12 pt for my script titles!

I feel it’s the one part of the script where I can shed the rigid confines of standard script formatting, and add some flavor. After reading the first page of one of my scripts, I doubt that any reviewer is still going to be agitated by my flamboyant font use.

The 2013 Black List Title Page Stats

So where do we stand this year for title page formatting practices? The investigation yielded some surprising results:

  • Of the 72 Black List scripts this year, only 14 used “standard” formatting for their script titles (19.4%)
  • That means 58 used non-standard formatting (a full 80.6%)!

Here’s how it broke down:

  • 20 script titles used a font size that was larger than 12 pt (28%)
  • Of those, 14 used a font other than a Courier variation (19.4%).
    Note: No scripts used a non-standard font while keeping standard point size. If a non-standard font was used, the font size was always greater than 12 pt.
  • Of those, 2 used a graphic image for their script titles (2.8%).
  • 4 of the scripts that used a non-standard font — used the font for more than just the script title (5.6%) .
  • 3 of the 72 scripts used a space between the letters of their titles (e.g. E X T I N C T I O N) (4.2%)
  • 8 scripts used a Mixed Case Title (11%).
  • 17 scripts used bold for their script title (23.6%)
  • 38 scripts did not underline their script title (53%)

… And of course, unless specified above, there’s a lot of overlap (e.g. some scripts used both bold and Mixed Case).

Non-Standard Fonts

For those who are curious, here’s a list of the non-Courier fonts that were used (excluding the two that used graphics in place of their titles), in alphabetical order:

  • American Typewriter (Bold) 56 pt
  • Arial Black (Bold) 14 pt
  • Arial (Bold) 24 pt
  • Arial Unicode MS (Italics) 28 pt (Mixed Case)
  • Bleeding Cowboys 28 pt (Mixed Case)
  • Cooper Black MS (Bold) 18 pt
  • Dense 64 pt
  • Georgia (Bold) 18 pt
  • GillSans 14 pt
  • Oriya Sangam MN 24 pt
  • Times New Roman 32 pt (Mixed Case)
  • Wide Latin 26.04 pt (Mixed Case)

Do you find these types of stats to be helpful?

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