As I’ve explained already, screenplays are a genius example of document design. But, well since the Selectric and the HP LaserJet II, Courier has been the wrong font for such usage.

John August will hear none of it! The millionaire screenwriter/developer commissioned yet another version of Courier, Courier Prime, that fails to solve its actual problems.

  • August states that “the standard Mac Courier is fairly heavy. Screenplays have a lot of white space, which makes thin Couriers look even thinner.”

    But so-called Mac Courier, which isn’t its actual name, is heir to the original-LaserWriter stroked-font version of Courier and is too light by a wide margin. The problem, as stated, is exactly backwards.

  • IBM didn’t bother seeking copyright, trademark, or patent protection for Courier, August claims. But at best it could have trademarked the name. There isn’t any copyright protection for typefaces in the U.S., and typeface patenting did not exist in 1955 even if it theoretically could have been used.

(The typeface’s designer, a hired gun/useful idiot named Alan Dague-Greene, didn’t bother responding to my questions.)

If you want to improve the experience of reading screenplays, use a 21st-century monospaced typeface designed expressly as such. The userbase of Final Draft overlaps almost completely with that of Microsoft Word, meaning that a much more viable typeface, Consolas, is available right now to every working screenwriter. The claim that studios and producers will stop reading your script if it isn’t typeset in Courier is a lie. Then again, Hollywood runs on fear.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2013.02.08 14:18. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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