Oliver Taylor

Hi. I'm Oliver and this is my site. That's the only introduction I could think of.

GitHub: @olivertaylor


Textplay is command-line utility that converts screenplays written in Fountain formatted plain-text to HTML and FDX (Final Draft). The HTML is can be easily converted to a pagination-aware PDF with PrinceXML.

Two Reasons for Writing in Plain Text

Almost every website, piece of software, or communication protocol ever programed was written (at least in part) in plain-text. This makes it the most compatible, reliable, and flexible file-format in existence; one who writes in plain-text can rest assured their files will be readable forever by any computer ever made in their lifetime.

Because programmers work almost exclusively in plain-text they have built themselves amazing tools. With a little work one can learn how to leverage these powerful tools and customize their writing environment as they see fit.

For those who want a universal and future-proof way to store their writing, and powerful and reliable software to write in, plain-text is the ticket.

Semantic Linefeeds

The single most important thing I do when writing, from a computing standpoint, is to put each clause or idea of a sentence on a separate line. I got the idea from Brandon Rhodes (via Brian W. Kernighan) and have been using it ever since. Here's how he explains it:

By starting a new line at the end of each sentence, and splitting sentences themselves at natural breaks between clauses, a text file becomes far easier to edit and version control. Text editors are very good at manipulating lines -- so when each sentence is a contiguous block of lines, your editor suddenly becomes a very powerful mechanism for quickly rearranging clauses and ideas.

Splitting each clause of a sentence into separate lines more clearly highlights the structure of a sentence. Apparently, Buckminster Fuller called it "Ventilated Prose". The effect has been so profound that I now write by hand in this way. (There's even an xkcd comic about it.)

BBEdit Movement & Selection Shortcuts

This package of scripts and text-filters aims to substantially improve your movement and selection abilities when writing prose in BBEdit.


Recommended Reading for Screenwriters - Adventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman - Elements of Style - Maps of the Imagination - Bambi vs. Godzilla, On Directing Film, & True and False by David Mamet - Poetics - Into the Woods by John Yorke - Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell - Visual Display of Quantitative Information - War of Art by Steven Pressfield - Wordplayer.com A Partial List of Movies Released in 2007 - 3:10 To Yuma - Assassination Of Jessie James By The Coward Robert Ford - Atonement - Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead - Black Snake Moan - Bourne Ultimatum - Bug - Charlie Wilson's War - Eastern Promises - Gone Baby Gone - Hot Fuzz - Juno - Knocked Up - Michael Clayton - No Country For Old Men - Ratatoullie - Rescue Dawn - There Will Be Blood - The TV Set - The Wind That Shakes The Barley - Zodiac Software I Love - Arq - BBEdit - vim - git - gitup - fzf - pandoc - princexml Harrison Ford Movies, 1980-2000 - Empire Strikes Back - Raiders of the Lost Ark - Blade Runner - Return of the Jedi - Temple of Doom - Witness - The Mosquito Coast - Frantic - Working Girl - Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - Presumed Innocent - Regarding Henry - Patriot Games - The Fugitive - Clear and Present Danger - Sabrina - The Devil's Own - Air Force One - Six Days and Seven Nights - Random Hearts - What Lies Beneath Write Like a Programmer - Learn command-line software - Learn to use regular expressions - Write in plain-text - Use version control - Learn to code a little so you can make tools for yourself

Places to Eat in Los Angeles

Valley - Coffee Commissary - Jinya Ramen Bar - Joe's Falafel - Olive & Thyme - Porto's Bakery - Quenelle - Lemonade - Umami Burger - Tender Greens Silverlake / Echo / Atwater - Proof Bakery - Tomato Pie Hollywood-ish - Bludso's BBQ - Food Lab - Joe's Pizza - Kettle Glazed Donuts - Little Dom's - Mozza Pizzaria - Olio - Palms Thai - Salt's Cure - Stella Barra Pizzaria - Stout - Sycamore Kitchen - Tender Greens - Terroni - Umami Burger - Tatsu Ramen - Jar - République Downtown - Baco Mercat - Bar Ama - Bottega Louie - Wurstkuche - Grand Central Market West Side - Balconi Coffee Company - Huckleberry - Joe's Pizza - Milo & Olive - Nanbankan - Plan Check - Tatsu Ramen - Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle East Side - Din Tai Fung - Intelligensia - Bulgarini Gelato - Din Tai Fung - Golden Deli - La Cabanita - Luscious Dumplings - Union (Pasadena)