Who is this show for?

Is the Sci-Fi Maker Show for you?

The Sci-Fi Maker Show is for anyone making their own science fiction movie, video, web series, or short subject.

Shooting the trailer for Frackers
Shooting the trailer for Frackers, a science fiction comedy

Typically, we’re talking about the writers, directors, and producers.

The show is also for the other talented people who work on these projects, including:

  • Soundtrack composers
  • Special effects supervisors
  • Directors of photography
  • Casting directors
  • Set designers
  • Costumers
  • Make-up artists

Types of science fiction projects

The science fiction projects we cover on the podcast and this website include:

  • Major Hollywood science fiction releases
  • Network and cable TV shows
  • Science fiction programs for online streaming platforms, such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Instant Video
  • Independent projects
  • Micro-budget movies and shows
  • Web series (many on YouTube)
  • Self-distributed projects
  • “For fun” projects

Hollywood people

This show is for you if you work inside the Hollywood system. If this includes you, that means you could be interested in:

  • Finding an agent
  • Selling your script
  • Film festivals
  • Script contest
  • Finding a distributor
  • Working your way up through the system
  • Equity investors

Outside Hollywood

This show is for you if you don’t live in Los Angeles. If this includes you, that means you could be interested in:

  • Staying independent
  • Self-distributing your project
  • Holding your own screenings
  • Online streaming of your project
  • Pay per view
  • YouTube
  • Crowdfunding your film (Indiegogo or Kickstarter)

Bottom line

The lines between those working inside- and outside-Hollywood are blurring, so there is a lot of overlap between these two groups.

This show and website is for a LOT of people who consider themselves science fiction filmmakers. It is for anyone involved in the making of science fiction programs, regardless of:

  • Budget
  • Location
  • Funding source

We have a lot to cover – we hope you’ll stay with us!

As always


Your science fiction movie title sequence

Who were Maurice Binder and Saul Bass?

They were two of the greatest and most influential title designers in movie history.

Maurice Binder did the title sequences for 14 James Bond films, including Dr. No: the first 007 movie.

Saul Bass created title sequences for some of Alfred Hitchcock’s most iconic films, including North by Northwest, Vertigo, and Psycho.

This is My Science Fiction Title SequenceA great title sequence does much more than list the credits for the movie – it also helps build the setting and tone.

A title sequence can act as a gateway for the viewers; to move them from their ordinary world to the extraordinary world of the movie.

They can also be a lot of fun.

In this episode of The Sci-Fi Maker Show, we talk about creating a title sequence for your science fiction movie or video.

As always


Looking for conflict in Galaxy Quest

Episode 29 of The Sci-Fi Maker Show

  1. Last week, we talked about screenwriting software. We asked what software you use.
  2. The new Sony Alpha 6300 Mirrorless Digital Camera is out.
  3. The five types of conflict in science fiction screenplays.
  4. Conflict in the movie Galaxy Quest.

Rocket ship

As always

Resources (affiliate links)


Choosing screenwriting software

Your screenwriting software options

Does screenplay formatting terrify you?

Are you afraid that your script’s appearance will make you look like an amateur? Or, even worse, a hack?

The Sci-Fi Maker Film School is in session and here to help!

In this episdode of the Sci-Fi Maker Show, we talk about screenwriting software. Including:

  • Microsoft Word
  • Scrivener
  • Final Draft
  • Other options

Screenplay formatting can be intimating. Don’t get hung up on that.

It’s important to use the correct format even if you are going to produce your script yourself. Experienced cast and crew are used to working with that format.

Microsoft Word

Screen shot of screenplay written using Microsoft Word
Screen shot of screenplay written using Microsoft Word

Available for Windows and Mac for about a hundred bucks. There is a free trial available, too.

You can buy Microsoft Word as part of the Microsoft Office Suite or standalone.

You may already have Word. If so, there are templates, macros, and styles to assist with screenplay formatting.

It isn’t as elegant a solution as Scrivener or Final Draft, but many working screenwriters use Word.

I interviewed Kent Tolbert on the show recently and he’s doing just fine with Word. And he writes a LOT of scripts!

However, Word feels “corporate” to me. It is designed for business.

Also, different versions of Word have different looks and feels. It drives me crazy!

My favorite features are often cleverly hidden when I upgrade.

Also, when Word documents get large, Word gets wonky. I often encounter formatting problems and mysterious text changes.

Navigation with long scripts can be challenging.

Bottom Line

If you already have Word, try the screenwriting templates, styles, and mactos.

It may be all you ever need for writing your scripts.


Screen shot of screenplay written using Scrivener
Screen shot of screenplay written using Scrivener

Available for Windows and Mac for $45. A free trial is also available.

Scrivener is a powerful tool for all kinds of writing.

It has a reputation for being hard to learn. I did not find that to be the case after watching a couple of instructional YouTube videos.

Scrivener has a lot of features to help writers organize their writing and research.

It is organized around projects. Inside each project you keep your scenes, notes, research, and pictures (if needed). You stay inside Scrivener during research and writing.

You can name your scenes, tag them, and move them around. It is very flexible.

Outlining tools are available, including a cork board with virtual index cards.

Scrivener allows you to write your script in screenplay format easily.

It is easier and faster than Word.

Scrivener has the most features, but you won’t use all of them.

You can output your scripts into Final Draft 8 files. That’s pretty handly.

Bottom Line

If you do other types of writing, in addition to scriptwriting, Scrivener is probably the tool to beat.

Don’t be intimidated. Lots of writers swear by it.

Final Draft

Screen shot of screenplay written using Final Draft
Screen shot of screenplay written using Final Draft

Available for Mac and Windows for about $170. A free trial is available.

Final Daft is considered the industry standard for screenplay software.

It is easy to learn the basics of Final Draft. You can start writing almost right away.

I learned how to use it by watching a course on Lynda.com.

Not everyone loves it, but I do. It makes it easy to just focus on writing the script.

It has outlining features that work well and make it simple organize and reorganize your script.

Although it doesn’t have as many organizing features as Scrivener, it does offer more script formatting.

As the “industry standard,” Final Draft has many useful features designed for working scriptwriters.

It lets you creating shooting scripts with numbered scenes.

It also lets you lock down the script and manage script changes and versioning.

Bottom Line

Final Draft is easy to use, yet powerful. If you become a working screenwriter, you will not outgrow it.

Final Draft is also available for iOS – $15 for full-featured writer and free reader software. Find out more here.

Other options

Many screenwriters swear by Fade In as an alternative to Final Draft. It costs about $50 with a free trail for Windows, Mac, or Linux.

There are many other software solutions for screenwriting.

I recommend using the most popular writing tools for a few reasons:

  • There are more online resources and users which means you can usually find a solution for problems you encounter.
  • The companies behind the more popular writing tools are less likely to go out of business.
  • Co-writers are more likely to use them.

Don’t obsess over software options. Pick and tool and write.

Next time

More Sci-Fi Maker Film School goodness.

As always