Also, by having a standard font size and metrics, it means that the number of pages in a script directly corresponds to a certain quantity of text. That in turn roughly corresponds to a certain length in time. The guideline is about a page a minute. So people who work in film know that a 90 page screenplay will be about a 1 1/2 hour-long film.
So Courier Prime is trying to improve the readability of that font without touching any of the metrics that the industry relies on or alienating readers who might think anything "not Courier" means "not professional".
"Since the beginning, screenplays have been written in Courier. Its uniformity allows filmmakers to make handy comparisons and estimates, such as 1 page = 1 minute of screen time."
Also, read the HN guidelines. Comments like this degrade the quality of the discussions. https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html
And while I like courier in general, I thought typography experts disliked it because it's not as readable as proportional fonts. I'd expect readability to be important for screenplays too.
Besides, stuff like word count is easy to automate.
So to me it seems that if the industry indeed insists on everything being in courier, that's more likely to be a traditionalist remnant from the typewriter era rather than a rational decision. But I admit I don't know this industry at all.
It's the combination of the whole, including and especially the whitespace rhythms (which are still connected to font metrics, of course), that lead to the 1 page is approximately 1 minute guideline metric, because scene descriptions and actions have different whitespace from dialog.
Interestingly, compared to your expectation that a Tarantino screenplay would be more dense than the Fury Road screenplay, it is actually dialog that has a lot more whitespace overall in the screenplay format (they are subject to smaller inner columns) than scene descriptions/action descriptions (which use the full width of the page). Word count wise, action involves a lot more prose than dialog and many of the best action screenplays have more overall word count than a more dialog-heavy screenplay. (What I've seen of the Fury Road screenplay read like a novel, though as is pointed out elsewhere it is fascinating because it was written storyboard first, which is the exception rather than the rule.)
The screenplay format really is a fascinating thing to study. There are some great books out there on the screenplay format and how it came to be what it is today.
(Just be forewarned it is not a great example screenplay in the usual fashion of such teaching examples because it is designed more towards the lesson plan than coherency/quality as a story of its own; and also arguably another example of that old weird maxim "those who can't, teach" given Lew Hunter's mostly TV Movie writer IMDB credits.)
Supposing I hand you a 90 page book and ask you roughly how many words are in it. How are you going to answer that? People hand round paper screenplays, or bits of screenplays, all the time, especially on set. It's much more practical for lots of purposes. Abandoning the minute-per-page rule of thumb (or equally importantly pages-per-shooting-day targets) would create way more problems than it solves.
However, it's also true that if you receive a screenplay that's not in standard screenplay format, it's a very reliable indication that the writer doesn't know what they're doing. Not a perfect heuristic, but there are maybe hundreds of thousands of spec scripts in circulation of which a few dozen a year get picked up by studios. So they can afford to be picky.
Bonus trivia: As it happens Fury Road is a very rare case of a movie that was originally developed as a storyboard, and converted to screenplay format for production purposes. Apparently you can do that if you're George Miller.
Get the digital version. We're talking about a computer font here, so the script exists in digital form.
> As it happens Fury Road is a very rare case of a movie that was originally developed as a storyboard,
> and converted to screenplay format for production purposes. Apparently you can do that if you're
> George Miller.
And it worked very well. It makes a lot of sense for a very visual movie.
Screenplays contain more than just lines.
Agreed. Here's a fun counterexample:
2001: A Space Oddyssey
Screenplay length: 65 pages
Run length: 161 minutes
I don't think you'll be able to explain to them that it is metrically identical, just like you can't explain to your garbage man that you are using a decomposable plastic bag, but they have the strict order to not accept plastic in your organic trash (if you live in the kind of place that separates trash like this).
It could be great after you get your screenplay accepted, if you want to have a nicer copy that matches line-by-line the courier version.
You can work in Courier Prime any time you want, and then switch to Courier for submitting your screenplay without worrying about it changing the pagination.
So it can help out any time you are working on your screenplay or working on it with anyone you know won't care, both before and after submission.
Also, making it heavier is 1,000% necessary -- Courier has always been so anemic it can actually be difficult to read when printed (and Courier New is even worse). I don't know the history, but I've long wondered if it was because digital Courier was based on the (thin) metal typewriter letterforms, rather than the letters set to paper which would presumably have (thicker) bleed.
Now I just wonder if script readers will react "ooh, I don't know why but this looks nice" or "ugh, something's weird about this script but I can't tell what."
That is precisely why. Courier New was digitised off an IBM Selectric typeball, and they didn't correct for the ink bleed which the typeball was designed for.
Speculating a bit, one of the problems that digitisers may have encountered is that ink bleed affects fonts differently at different sizes. At small point sizes, ink bleed is proportionally large relative to the stroke width; at large point sizes, ink bleed has negligible effect. This is actually exactly what you want for readability's sake: at small sizes, you want to avoid thin strokes, and ink bleed does exactly that. At large size, "thin" strokes aren't actually thin any more. But a perfectly scalable digital font does not capture this beneficial effect of ink spread.
The point you bring up with different proportional amounts of bleed at different sizes is also quite relevant.
OpenType fonts have so many options now... I almost wonder if it would make the most sense to have a bleed option built into the rasterizer that could have defaults set by the typeface designer, but also adjusted by the user (e.g. more bleed when using white-on-black). There are so many arcane options on macOS's OS-level typeface options palette, it seems pretty reasonable.
Now I just wonder if script readers will react "ooh,
I don't know why but this looks nice" or "ugh,
something's weird about this script but I can't
but why in the world would you have that happen on a font demo site? use an image/svg. otherwise it's risking becoming a demonstration that it's unreliable/you don't know what you're doing. (not that browsers make this stuff easy... but still.)
Has this been reported already? If not, I will. (Edit: I reported it on their support page.)
Practically speaking, of course, a full Unicode font is an enormous undertaking, hence so many fonts lacking diacritics other than Latin-1.
Although you need to pay to access archived podcasts they have all of them transcribed: http://johnaugust.com/2013/scriptnotes-ep-74-three-hole-punc...
I highly recommend the podcast to anyone even remotely interested in the movie industry. I've been listening for around 6 months now and can't stop.
Feel free to add an opinion, I've been evaluating and whittling choices of fonts for code development:
So far Monaco and Source Code Pro seem best.
- Fira Mono https://fonts.google.com/specimen/Fira+Mono
- Hack https://sourcefoundry.org/hack/
- Inconsolata https://fonts.google.com/specimen/Inconsolata
- Monaco http://www.gringod.com/2006/11/01/new-version-of-monaco-font...
- Pragmata Pro https://www.fsd.it/shop/fonts/pragmatapro/
- Source Code Pro https://github.com/adobe-fonts/source-code-pro
I think monospaced, sans-serif, semi/bold, large punctuation and disambiguated look-alikes with antialiasing on works best on a low res laptop. Monospaced serifs seem to look better for code online.
I used to prefer Consolas (Inconsolata is a ~clone of Consolas) but the ligatures made me switch.
It's narrow, so fits more by width; and also quite sharp and easy to read. Plus it has a nice standard set of ligatures for the symbols I use daily.
Finding the Best Programming Font
On OS X, you can't disable antialiasing, and some programs
11pt InputMonoCondensed on OS X is the same size as 6x13. 10pt and 9pt also look good on a retina display, and aren't actively objectionable on a normal-DPI display.
Windows lets you disable antialiasing, so on Windows I do that and use 6x13 for everything.
( https://dejavu-fonts.github.io/ )
It looks a bit weird in short runs, but is great somehow when used on actual code.
The italics are a bit distracting. The subjective tilt of letters seem to vary, e.g. 'j' and 'l' may be have the same tilt but the 'l' appears more vertical (as does 'i'). Also the tilt on the center line of 'e' seems weird to me, but that's perhaps an intentional stylistic quirk.
It's an industry standard for screenplays, and I think we all remember having seen a screenplay in a movie or picture, with this weird monospace font.
You are certainly an outlier here.
Being a top level comment, I would assume my comment is read with at least the submission title in mind, as that was my intention. I was noting that I initially interpreted it as referring to Courier MTA / IMAP (and referenced IMAP servers to distinguish which Courier I was referring to).
So, to be very clear since apparently event my clarifications are being misconstrued, the courier font has been in public consciousness for as long as I can remember. I believe the courier MTA is not in the public consciousness any more. If this submission, titled "Courier Prime: It’s Courier, Just Better" was talking about mail servers (specifically, original courier and a cleaned up fork of courier as the title would theoretically allude to), then that would have been a cool blast from the past. It's not about mail servers being things of the past, mail servers was just used as a way to explain what other courier I thought it was originally referring to.
If IMAP is viewed as nostalgia install postfix/dovecot on something and play around.
I'm well aware of dovecot and postfix. And also sendmail and cucipop. Some things are more common now than than they were in the past, and vice versa.
* Source Code Pro | Adobe Fonts || https://fonts.adobe.com/fonts/source-code-pro
Courier has a pitch of ten characters per inch, while PE runs twelve per inch. Ideal for business correspondence, but probably a bit too dense for scripts (and college papers!).
For trelby, we recommend courier 10 point, which renders much better on more environments.
If I'm recalling correctly, it was also metric-compatible with Courier, as that was largely the point of the Liberation fonts.
Maybe for screenplays it's the best.
Albeit they encourage 3/2 or double spacing so they can leave annotations during marking.
With such small modifications (afaict) it seems odd to claim/imply that it goes from "terrible" to great (or whatever). I like the "y" descender tho. And more Unicode support is basically always good.