From Script to Screen

Pretend lets you tell your story.

Pretend helps create and develop stories from writing to rough cut.

You have a story idea. Great, now what? Going from a concept to a finished piece is a complex journey for anyone.

First, visualize the story for yourself. Even if you have a completed script, you still need to visualize the final result. Words on a page aren't images and sound on a screen.

Next, communicate the story vision to others such as cast and crew. The script alone isn't enough, they need to see what you want in order to help you make your story. Making a movie is a collaborative art, not individual like writing or painting.

A good director has the whole film visualized in their head or on paper or, ideally, in some digital form that is easily shared. That vision can change. You have a great idea on set or the scene isn't working or maybe the weather isn't cooperating. But having a story visualized gives you a starting point for both you and your crew.

Pretend aligns creative teams with the story's vision. And aligned teams are more efficient which keeps budgets in line.

So how does Pretend work?

Pretend combines story development with post-production tools into a single story-based production application.

Start with an outline and write the story while Pretend auto-formats the screenplay. You can also add notes and plan shots in the story editor.

As you write the story, your project organizes itself using the story structure. You can then add reference material, storyboard art, clips, and website links to each scene or shot. Make storyboard videos with temp audio or edit full video rough cuts. You even have titling and effects tools for color-correction or animation. Then render your final piece out to file, Vimeo or Youtube.

Pretend keeps the story as the backbone of the project throughout production for both those creating it and those making it.

"Anyone can create something everyone can watch."
- Robert Kyncle, YouTube

Pretend lets you develop your story from screenplay to rough cut and beyond. From films to branded content, you and your team can make better stories with a more efficient production.

Growing a Story

Make the story the center of every creative decision for you and your team.

The core of Pretend is story, and to help you with the development of your own story, Pretend has established a process through the use of Story Groups.

Story Groups help you organize and compartmentalize your plots and story assets. This makes it easier to focus on specific components of your story throughout the chaos of production.

What are Groups and Story Groups?

Story Groups are containers that hold story elements. These elements can be scenes, sequences, video and audio clips, storyboards, and they can even contain another Story Group. You can even create Groups to add related items like reference material, web links or 3rd party files. This results in a hierarchal structure of different groups. A common one is the Show/Sequence/Scene/Shot structure as seen below.

Common show structure
A scene with shots and overall scene music

Any group, story or not, has its own timeline. These timelines can be opened by double clicking on any Group in the library.

Although Groups can be created for many reasons, the main ones are Story Groups. The main Story Groups include Shows, Scenes, and Shots. Other Story Groups are built from these so let’s examine them.


The Show Group is the highest group in Pretend’s hierarchal structure. It’s special in that it is meant to contain your entire narrative. By double clicking on this group in your library, you’ll be able to view your entire story. Every show has a screenplay associated with it, whether its blank or not.

In the show’s inspector, you can see story information like synopsis and logline as well as setup information like resolution and frame rate.


In Pretend, just like in most scripts, a scene is an event where characters interact over time.

When you load a screenplay in the story editor, the scenes are sequentially added as groups in your library (under your show). These Scene Groups each have their own timeline, which you can access by double clicking on a Scene in your library. You can also view all of your scenes’ timelines in sequential order by double clicking on your Show in the library.


Shots Groups are represented by containers within a Scene Group. Although available, you don’t have to use Shot Groups. You can simply use video clips on their own if you’d like. So why use shot groups?

Shot Groups are more than a video clip in Pretend. It’s a story container that can hold anything associated with that shot.

Shot with video and audio clips
Shot with multiple layers and audio clips

In its simplest form, a Shot Group contains a single video clip. If that’s all you want, you’re better off using the video clip by itself and skip the Shot Group.

A Shot Group is useful if you have several takes of a shot. You can then use your Shot Group to contain all your takes, rate them, and only display your favorite take in the timeline.

A Shot Group is also useful for linking audio clips specific to the shot, like footsteps sounds synched to a video clip of someone walking. If you move the Shot Group around in the timeline, you can rest assured that all of your synched audio will move with the video clip.

A Shot Group can be used to stack clips as layers in a composite shot. Open the Shot Group in the timeline to adjust timing or place one clip over another.

You can also use a Shot Group to contain reference material along with your clips for that shot.

Shots Groups can automatically display a clip when added to a timeline

A Shot Group in the library can hold anything associated with the shot. However, when that Shot Group is added to a Scene Group’s timeline, you need to choose which item will be seen in the final edit.

To speed this along, a Shot Group added to a timeline will automatically take the highest rated video clip, or still image if there’s no clip, and add it to the Shot Group’s timeline. Audio clips are not considered for the default clip.

If no ratings are available, the 1st clip added to the Shot Group will be used. If multiple clips have the same rating, the 1st clip in is the tiebreaker.

The duration of your Shot Group in the timeline will match the duration of the default clip. This is just a starting point that you can change as you like, just as you can replace the default clip with any other clip.

You can turn off this "first-in" default under Preferences. A shot added to the timeline will then be empty until you add items from the library.

Using Story Groups as organizers

You can also add a general story group wherever you like. A Story Group can be used to organize your story into acts, sequences or even series and seasons. For example, add a story group below a Show Group and use it as an Act Group or Sequence Group to hold Scene Groups. Or add a story group above a Show Group and use it to hold other Show Groups from that season.

What about plain old Groups?

Groups are like Story Groups except they have no story-related features. A Group can be used as a folder in the library to hold a bunch of notes and reference material for a specific part of your show, for example. Or label the Group as “Rejected” to hold the rejected clips of a scene.

Even though a Group can hold library items as a folder would, they also have timelines. You can open a Group’s timeline in the timeline panel by double clicking on that Group in the library. You can use the Group’s timeline to rearrange media assets. You might make a “Dailies” Group, then open it as a timeline to add takes from the day’s shoot to render out for review.

Another example could be a company logo with a sound effect that you want to drop in over an opening scene. Drag the Group with the media from the library down to the timeline on a track above a Scene Group to do so.

A Quick Tour of Pretend

Lets begin by seeing how you work with Pretend.

The Interface

  1. The Screenplay Editor The Screenplay Editor allows you to write your script directly in Pretend. If you already have script written, you can import it as a Fountain file (Fountain files are the most common type of script file formats and are available for exports in almost every screenplay interface). The Screenplay Editor also helps you by auto-formatting your script and by using your scene headings to create Story Groups in your Library. Learn More
  2. The Editing Panel The Editing Panel contains all of the items listed below.
  3. The Library The library is where you will be able to find all of your Groups as well as organize all of your media assets for your project. It uses your story structure to help you organize all of your media. Learn More
  4. The Viewer The Viewer allows you to view your project and media assets. It also allows you to view the different color channels of a video clip. Learn More
  5. The Inspector The Inspector allows you to review and modify your Library’s media assets. You can add effects to your footage using the saturation controls or even animate transitions between different clips. Learn More
  6. The Timeline The Timeline is used to edit your project using all of the different editing tools. You can even add a story arc in your timeline to keep track of your plot points and character progression throughout your story. Learn More


The User Interface

Your Project

The Story Editor

Plotting and Story Arcs



Editing and Effects: 1

Editing and Effects: 2

Editing and Effects: 3

Editing and Effects: 4

Animation and Exporting

The End

The Screenplay Editor

In the beginning, there were some words...

The Screenplay Editor is one of the two windows that appear when Pretend opens up, you can also access it by selecting View > Show Screenplay Editor in the Top Menu Bar.

It’s in the Screenplay Editor that you’ll be able to write your own screenplay for your project, or import an already existing one. It’s also where you’ll be able to bridge your project from script to production by lining your shots, and organizing your Story Groups.

Using the Screenplay Editor

  1. The Screenplay Editor
  2. The Navigation Panel - Learn More
  3. The Text Editor Panel - Learn More
  4. The Navigation Panel Menu - Learn More
  5. Sync Timeline Button - Learn More
  6. Story / Shot Buttons - Learn More on Story Mode or Shot Mode

The Text Editor Panel

The Text Editor is the main text interface in the Screenplay Editor. It’s where you will be able to modify your script when in “Story” mode and line your shots in “Shot” mode. The Story and Shot buttons at the top switch between each mode as we examine them below.

"Story" Mode

The Screenplay Editor starts out in “Story” mode, which allows you to write your own screenplay. Pretend auto-formats your writing into standard script form (recognizing scene headings, actions, character names and dialogue) so that you can focus on your story.

The Screenplay Editor begins with a show/scene/shot story structure but you can add Story Groups to use as acts or sequences.

If you already have a script written, you can import it as a Fountain file using the File menu, File > Import > Import Fountain Screenplay...

Fountain files are a common type of screenplay file format and can be exported in most screenplay applications. If you load an existing screenplay, Pretend will recognize your different scenes and create Story Groups for them in your Library.

Import a Screenplay

When creating a new project through the Project Browser that appears when first opening Pretend, if you’d like to import an existing screenplay, select “Use Screenplay” under the Story Structure options and then select a Fountain screenplay file from the file browser.

To import an existing screenplay into a project that’s already been started:

  1. Choose File > Import... > Import Fountain Screenplay... from the Pretend top menu bar.
  2. Select a Fountain file screenplay from the File Browser.
  3. Hit “Open” and the screenplay appears in the Screenplay Editor with all of its scenes listed in the Navigation Panel.

Importing a new screenplay in an open project will create a new Show in addition to your current one. If you only want the imported screenplay, delete the old one by simply selecting it in the Library and hitting the “Delete” key.

Writing a Script

  1. If the story editor is not visible, select View > Show Screenplay Editor from the top menu.
  2. Double-click on the default "Show" in the story navigation panel on the left and enter your title.
  3. If it's not already selected, click on the Story button in the upper bar. This lets you edit the story.
  4. Now in the Screenplay Editor panel on the right, edit the default scene heading, "INT. LOCATION - TIME". Change "INT." to "EXT." if needed, "LOCATION" to "HOUSE", and "TIME" to "DAY".
  5. Hit return, and add an action description. An extra line space is added since it's standard format for a screenplay. Hit return twice after the last action, then enter a character name in all caps. Hit return again and enter some dialogue. You'll see everything snap into standard format.
  6. To add a new scene, type in "INT." or "EXT." with a location and time. You don't need to type in caps. Once "int." or "ext." are typed in, the header uses only caps.
  7. You could also select Add Scene from the Screenplay Editor menu to get a template scene heading (INT. LOCATION - TIME) which you can then edit.
  8. In the navigation panel on the left, double-click on the scene heading and label the scene. You will see markup for a label in grey, directly below the scene header in the Screenplay Editor. Labeling the scene lets you use the navigation as an outline. Note the actual scene header in the screenplay stays the same but changing it now has no effect anymore in the scene name in the navigation panel.

Voila, you’ve made your first screenplay using Pretend!

Remember that most elements (such as scene headers or actions) need an empty line before and after the element in order to format properly. An exception is that character, parenthetical and dialogue elements don’t need an empty line separating them.

Changes to the scene structure in the Screenplay Editor sync with your Story Groups in your Library (in the Video Editor). See the library and timeline sections to learn more.

Important note, if you delete a scene in the Screenplay Editor, it is also deleted in the Library and Timeline. Meaning that if you delete a scene, it will also delete its Scene Group in your Library, along with any media attached to it (though not the original source files on disc).

Export a Screenplay

To export a screenplay out of Pretend:

  1. Select the show, in the library, for which you would like to export a screenplay.
  2. Then choose “Export Fountain Screenplay...” from the Screenplay Editor menu at the bottom left or by selecting File > Export... > Fountain Screenplay... from the Pretend top toolbar menu.
  3. Choose where you would like to save your file in the browser window that appears. As of now, screenplays can only be exported as Fountain files.

Screenplay Format Types

Pretend formats the screenplay as you type. Screenplays in the film industry follow a standard format. Let's review the main types below to see what Pretend looks for while formating.

Scene Headings

These begin with INT. (interior) or EXT. (exterior) followed by a location name (such as OFFICE or STREET) and the general time such as DAY or NIGHT.

Begin by typing "int." or "ext." (lower case is fine) to indicate this is a scene header and it switches to all caps automatically.


Actions usually follow scene headings, though they can appear throughout the scene. They describe what is happening in the scene.

Hit return after a scene heading to switch into action format.


The indented name of a character written in caps.

Hit return twice after, say, an action to get an extra line, then type the name in caps. Hit return again and it indents into character formating.


Follows the name of the character currently speaking.

Hit return once after a character name and type to automatically format as the dialogue.


A parenthetical is text in parentheses to describe the context of the dialogue. Most of the time, it appears under the character's name. Sometimes it also appears next to a character's name such as (V.O.), which means “voice offscreen”.

Typing "(" will make both "(" and ")" for you.


Usually ends with a TO: such as “FADE TO:” indicating a shot transition.

Type the transition (such as "CUT" or "FADE") in caps, followed by a "TO:" and the transition will format correctly on the right.

Screenplay Editor Tools

Now that we've seen the format types, let's look at how to edit in the story editor.


Click to insert, double-click to select a word and triple-click to select a paragraph. ⌘A to select all text in the panel.


Hit ⌘Z to undo and ⌘+⇧+Z to redo. Or select Undo or Redo from the upper Edit menu.

New Screenplay

Making a new Show automatically creates a new screenplay. Right-click in the nav panel or click the menu button (...) in the lower left and select Add Show.

Save Screenplay

Select "Export to Fountain..." in the Story Editor menu to bring up a browser and save as a text file. Also, saving a Pretend project file will include your screenplay for later use. Or print out the screenplay as a PDF, although it cannot be reloaded directly in Pretend.

Add New Scene

In the Story Editor, make sure there is an empty line above, then type in a scene heading starting with “INT.” or “EXT.” (not case sensitive). A new scene appears. Continue typing the rest of the scene.

Or right-click on a selected scene in the story navigator panel, then choose Add Scene. A new scene appears after the selected scene.

Add a Story Group

To add a general story group, right-click on a selection and select Add Story Group. You can also select Add Story Group from the Story Editor menu at the bottom-left of the navigation panel.

Generally, you use these as Acts or Sequences to group scenes so just drag the story group to the correct level and rename as something like "Act I". Then drag the scenes underneath slightly to the right.

Delete Scene (or Story Group)

Select a scene and hit Backspace or select Delete from the bottom left menu button.

Important, this will delete both the story group and its contents, including in the library. So if you have assets inside the story group in the library that you want to keep in the project, move them out first.

Add Action

Hit Return after the scene heading to begin a paragraph in Action format. Hit Return again after an Action paragraph to start another Action paragraph. To finish with actions, hit Return twice so you have an empty line above a new element.

Add Character

Character names are in uppercase. When you type in caps, Pretend assumes you are typing a character name (unless you type INT or EXT).

There is autocomplete for existing character names. When the autocomplete pops up a list, use the up/down arrow keys to choose and hit TAB or Return to accept the option.

Add Dialogue

Hitting Return after a Character line makes the next paragraph into a Dialogue.

Add Parenthetical

Typing a “(“ after a Return from a Character or Dialogue line is a Parenthetical. An insertion point appears between two parentheses. After you enter text, hit Return after the “)” to go next to a Dialogue.

Add Transition

Typing in uppercase ending in “TO:” will format a Transition.

Add a Section

This is the same as adding a Story Group. Type a hash mark (#) before a line to make the first level, two hash marks to make the second level, and so on.

An extra line appears after the section when you hit Return which is standard in Fountain.

Note that you usually give an extra line space except between a character and dialogue. Hit Return once after the character name and type the dialogue.

Below is a list of what Pretend typically expects to follow each story element.

•  Scene -> Action,

•  Action -> Action

•  Character -> Dialgoue

•  Parenthetical -> Dialogue

•  Dialogue -> Action

•  Transition -> Scene.

If you want to override having a word in all caps format as a character, hit return twice. The extra line will cause it to be in Action format.

Sometimes you may want to force a format on a line. Look under the Force submenu in the contextual menu for the selected element you want to force. Or you can use Fountain markup to force a format if needed with the following markup.

Force a Scene Heading

Type a period (.) before the heading.

Force an Action

Type an exclamation point (!) before the action line.

Force a Character

Type an "at" symbol (@) before the Character name.

Force a Transition

Type a greater-than symbol (>) before the Transition line.

Text Editor Menu

Right-clicking in the editing panel brings up a contextual menu.


Cut/copy/paste with ⌘X / ⌘C / ⌘V or select from the upper Edit menu.


Choose Bold from the contextual menu. Or do it yourself by enclosing the text in double asterisks like **text**. The asterisks appear grey to show they are non-printing and the enclosed text is bold.


Choose Italic from the contextual menu. Or do it yourself by enclosing the text in asterisks like *text*. The asterisks appear grey to show they are non-printing and the text is italic.


Choose Underscore from the contextual menu. Or do it yourself by enclosing the text in underscores like _text_. The asterisks appear grey to show they are non-printing and the text is italic.


To add a note, choose Insert > Note from the contextual menu. Or enclose the text of the note in double brackets such as "[[ take a look at this later ]]". You can add a note anywhere. The note is in grey to show it's not to be in a printed formatted screenplay.

Page Break

Choose Insert > Page Break from the contextual menu or do it yourself by typing === on its own line. The three equal signs are in grey to show they are not printed.


You can comment out any part of the printed screenplay by selecting the text, then selecting the Comment option. Or you can also do it by enclosing the desired text with "/*" at the start and "*/" at the end of the text.


A synopsis is a summary of what happens in the story. Type an equals sign (=) before a line of description. Normally, a synopsis line is after a section but it can appear anywhere. The markup is in grey indicating it's not meant to appear in a printed screenplay.

Title Page

You can either use Insert > Title Page from the contextual menu or do it yourself. Just enter keywords followed by text. The keywords are "Title:", "Credit:", "Author:" and "Draft Date:" which appear in grey to show they are not printed.


Forces an action by placing an exclamation point (!) before the action line.


Forces a character by placing an "at" symbol (@) before the Character name.

Scene Header

Forces a scene heading by placing a period (.) before the heading.


Forces a transition by placing a greater-than symbol (>) before the Transition line.


Centers the selected text by enclosing the text with > and < to center the text.


Select Edit > Find (or ⌘ F), to open a Find widget at the top of the story editor panel. Enter the text to find. Hit the backward/forward buttons to go to the previous/next word.

Check the box before Replace to open a second text field for replacement text. to replace all or one at a time. You can type in a keyword to begin a search.

Hit the Done button to exit.

Spelling and Grammar

This is an OS-supplied command that checks spelling and grammar.

"Shot" Mode

The Screenplay editor can be switched to “Shot” mode using the switch right above the Text Editor. In this mode, you can line shots onto your script, which creates a Shot Group below its corresponding Scene Group in the Library. It’s in this Shot Group that you’ll be able to drop clips or other media assets associated with this shot.

When in “Shot” mode, these shots will also appear under your scene names in the Screenplay Navigation Panel. However, in order to focus more on the story, these shots will not be visible when in “Story” mode.

Shots lined in your script will also appear in your Library structure. You can double-click on a shot in the Library to open the shot's timeline in the Timeline panel.

Shots also appear under the scene in the Library but not automatically in the scene's timeline. You must drag the shot from the Library to the Timeline to actually use it in the scene. This makes sense since you haven’t made any editing decisions yet. Otherwise, shots remain in the library as extra coverage.

Add a shot

When in “Shot” mode, click anywhere over your script in the Text Editor and drag down to make a shot line—this process is called “shot lining.” The length of your shot is represented by the length of the line on your script, and what is covered in the shot is represented by the portion of the script above which you have traced your line.

You can change the length of a shot after it has been traced by simply selecting an endpoint, and dragging it out to where you would like it to be. The name of each shot will start with its scene number and finish with a letter that will be assigned in alphabetical order, starting again with “A” in each scene (example: 1A, 1B, 1C, 2A, 2B).

Delete a shot

To delete a shot, simply select the shot you wish to delete and hit the “Delete” key. You can also select “Delete” from the Navigation Panel Menu.

Modify the shot

To change the length of a shot after it has been traced, select an endpoint and drag it up or down.

Shot Info Balloon

Click on a shot label to open a Shot Info Balloon. In this pop-up window or “Balloon,” you can enter a shot’s description, framing, movement, angle, and type of lens. This information will also be shown in the shot’s inspector.



Blank (default), EWS (Extreme Wide Shot), VWS (Very Wide Shot), WS (Wide Shot), FS (Full Shot), MS (Medium Shot), MCU (Medium Close Up), CU (Close Up), ECU (Extreme Close Up)


Blank (default), Aerial, Bird's Eye, High Angle, Eye-Level, Low Angle, Worm's Eye, Slanted


Blank (default), 18mm, 24mm, 32mm, 50mm, 70mm, 85mm, 105mm, 135mm


Blank (default), Arc, Crab, Dolly, Dolly Zoom, Follow, Pedestal, Pan, Whip Pan, Tilt, Tracking, Trucking, Pull-Back, Zooming, Locked-Down


Master, Insert, Establishing, Cutaway, Reaction, Over the Shoulder (OSS), Point of View, Reverse Shot. Two Shot, Handheld, Sequence Shot (over long time or whole scene), Deep Focus, Rack Focus, Crane, American)


Enter more description in the text box.

The Navigation Panel

The Navigation Panel on the left-hand side lets you organize and move around your Story Groups and different scenes that have been created for your project. Select a scene or Story Group to jump to that part of your script in the Text Editor.

The show title is at the top of the Story Group stack, you can change the show title by selecting it and pressing “Enter.”

You can also move your scenes and Story Groups around by selecting and dragging them to where you would like for them to be. These changes will be represented in your script as well as in your Library structure.

You can hide the Navigation Panel by clicking on the toggle switch above it.

Navigation Panel Menu

The Navigation Panel Menu can be opened by clicking on its icon at the bottom-right of the Navigation Panel (…) or by right-clicking anywhere in the Navigation Panel.

Note that if an option is unavailable, it will be grey. For example, you can only add a Story Group when the show is selected at the top of the Navigation Panel.

Add Show

This adds another Show to the project and switches the screenplay editor to the new show. Switch to another show from the list of project shows at the bottom.

Add Show is only available when you have selected a show.

Add Scene

This adds a scene below the current selection.

Add Shot

Only available when you're in Shot mode, Add Shot adds a shot to the selected scene as a one-line length lined shot.

Add Story Group

This lets you add a group to help organize your screenplays, such as an act or a sequence. For example, you could right-click on the show title and choose "Add Story Group", then rename the group as "Act 1". You can then move the desired scenes to that Act 1 level.

Each time you want to add a new act or sequence, make a new story group.

In the screenplay editor, you can only insert a story group between a show and its scenes.


Click the name, hesitate and click again to switch to rename mode. Enter the new name.

Scenes use the scene header as a default label that you can change. If you rename the scene, a label grey markup appears under the scene header in the screenplay editor. The actual scene header in the screenplay is not changed. This lets you give the scene a more descriptive name in the navigator which helps with the outline.

Note that modifying the scene header in the screenplay editor is echoed in the default label of the scene in the nav panel. However, as soon as you rename the default label in the nav panel, that link is removed and changing the scene header in the screenplay editor has no effect in the nav panel. The scene's label markup takes priority.


Select a story group and hit the Delete key to delete that story group and its contents. You can also right-click the group or click the navigation menu button and select Delete.

Export to Fountain...

Opens a browser to save the screenplay in Fountain format, which is readable in any text editor.


Prints the formatted screenplay. You can also save as a PDF with the PDF menu button in the lower-left of the Print popup window.

List of Shows

Any shows in the project appear here. Select one to switch the screenplay editor to that show's screenplay.

The "Sync Timeline" Button

When writing your screenplay, you can use the Sync Timeline button to update the timeline so it is in sync with your screenplay. Note that the duration of the scene clip in the timeline will adjust to match the estimated time according to the number of lines in your scene.

What is Fountain?

Fountain ( is a simple format used to write, edit and share screenplays in plain text. You can write a screenplay in Fountain form using any text interface.

Since a Fountain file is written in plain text, and can be imported into almost any screenwriting software, it is a great format for archiving screenplays.

As of now, Pretend can only import existing screenplays if they’re Fountain files. If you’d like to import a screenplay into Pretend but only have a PDF version of your script, check out these references to turn your PDF into a Fountain file:

Highland (

Writing with Fountain Markup

Pretend formats while you type but you can also use Fountain markup. You can either type in the markup yourself or choose from the Text Editor Menu.

Use Fountain markup to embed notes in your script you don’t want to appear in a printed screenplay. These notes will be displayed in grey throughout your script until you’re ready to print.

Check out the Fountain site ( for complete syntax info.

The Library

Use the story to keep track of everything.

The Library is where you will find all of the Story Groups and media assets (video, audio, references, 3rd party files) for your project.

Pretend uses the shows, scenes and shots of your script to create a Group hierarchy in the library. These Groups (Scene Groups, Shot Groups, …) will act as containers, holding any related assets (video clips, audio clips, web links, images, ...).

  1. Story Structure Panel
  2. Item Panel
  3. Tag Panel
  4. Library Menu
  5. Import Assets
  6. Export Selection
  7. List/Thumbnail View Button
  8. Thumbnail Size
  9. Item Search
  10. Asset Type Filter
  11. Media Smart List

In the Library, you will find the Story Structure, Tags and Items panels. The Story Structure panel lets you organize and navigate assets by Story Groups such as scenes. The Tags panel uses tag-words to further filter your assets. And lastly, the Items panel displays the assets contained in the Group or Tag you have selected.

The Library Menu

Click on the ellipsis icon to open the Library Menu options. This popup menu’s options refer to the current panel being used so if you have the Story Structure Panel selected, the menu options will affect that panel.

The Story Structure Panel

You can use the Story Structure Panel (or Story Panel) to navigate your Library. It uses a story outline made of Groups to organize all of your story assets, such as video and audio clips. At the top of this panel is the name of your Pretend project.

Below your project level is the Media Smart List, which is where you will find all of the media that you have imported into your project. If your “Media” list is selected, you will be able to view all of your project’s assets regardless of where they are in your story structure.

Clicking on a Story Group on one of your story levels will display the assets associated with that Group. By default, the Story Structure Panel only displays Story Groups, Groups and Lists. If you’d like to view media assets in your Story Structure panel, you can uncheck “Structure Only” in the Library Menu.

Add a Story Group

You can add a Story Group (Show, Scene, Shot, …) or Group by selecting “Add…” from the right-click menu. You can also click on the Story Structure Library Menu on the bottom-left (…).

Note that when you have a Story Group selected in the Library, you can only add a Group that is equal to or below the Group you have selected. Meaning, if you want to add a Scene, you’ll need to have another Scene selected (or Show). Having a Shot selected won’t let you add a Scene since Scenes are above Shots in the hierarchy.

Adding Assets

You can add assets to any Story group (such as adding a video clip to a Shot Group) by selecting that Story Group and importing into it. You can import in several ways:

  1. Drag a file from the Finder over to a Story Group in your Story Panel or directly into the Items Panel.
  2. Select File > Media > Import Media...
  3. Click on the “Import Asset” button on the bottom-left of the Library.
  4. Click on “Import File” from the Library Menu when a Group is selected.
  5. Or open a Story Group’s Timeline and drag a file into it.

To view a Story Group’s Timeline, double-click on it in your Library.

Story Structure Navigation

You can organize your story’s structure and assets through the Story Panel. For example, add all the takes of a shot to its Shot Group. Or add shots to a scene. If you move the scene, all its items move with it.

Drag and drop a Story Group to move it in the story structure. For example, drag a scene up or down to reclaim its place in your story. The changes you make to your story structure in your Story Structure Panel will also be made in your Screenplay Editor’s script and Navigation Panel.

Story Panel Library Menu

The options in the Library Menu (found on the lower-left side of the Library), change depending on which panel or asset you have selected. Let’s explore your options when in the Story Structure Panel.

You can also access these functions by right-clicking on an item in the Story Panel.

Add Show

Adds a Show to the project. This option is available when the selection is from the project level all the way down to a show level.

⌘ 1

Add Scene

Adds a Scene. Only available when you have a show, scene or a story group below a show selected.

⌘ 2

Add Shot

Adds a Shot. Only available when you have a scene selected.

⌘ 3

Add Story Group

Adds a Story Group. Only available when the selection is from the project to the scene level. Story groups are organizers so you might group some scenes into a story group and call it "Act 1".

⌘ 4

Add Group

Adds a Group. A group can be anywhere in the project. Groups are in the library and timeline but not the story editor since it's not story-specific.

⌘ 5

Add Story Arc

Adds a Story Arc. Drag the arc down into the timeline. It will take the duration of the timeline's existing contents.

Open "Selection" in Timeline

Opens the selected group in the timeline if it's used in a timeline. You can also double-click the group to open it in the timeline.

Open "Selection" in Trim Window

Opens the selected video clip in a Trim window. You can also double-click the clip to open and trim. You can then drag the trimmed clip from the library to a timeline.

Rename "Selection"

Allows you to rename your selection.

Duplicate "Selection"

Duplicates your selection.

⌘ D

Delete "Selection"

Deletes the selection.


Import File

Select the story level where you'd like to add the assest, then pick Add > Import File from the Library menu. The asset file appears in the story group. When the story group is selected, you see the asset in the Item panel.

⌘ I

Export Selection

Exports a render of your selected story level. The Export window appears (see the In and Out section).

⌘ E

Structure Only

Shows only story groups in the Story panel while on. When off, media assets are also shown.

How to see all the media in your project at the same time.

While it's great to be able to keep all your media assets organized with groups, maybe you don't remember where you put a particular video clip. Sometimes you might want to see everything in a single list in the Items panel that you can filter and sort all at once.

The Media list lets you see all the media in the project no matter where it's located. Select Media, the top-level under the project, to see the project's full media list in the Item panel.

To make a media sub-folder, select the Media folder and select "Add Media Folder" from the Library menu (or right-click to pick "Add Media Folder" from the contextual menu).

To see where a particular asset is used in any timeline, switch to a List view in the Item panel.

If there is checkmark under the item's Used column, double-click it to open a timelines box showing all the timelines that use the item. Double-click on a timeline to open it in the Timeline panel.

The Tags Panel

The Tags Panel, located at the bottom-left of your Library, is where you will find the different subset groups that you have created with the use of tags.

How Tags Work

Let’s say you have an important prop (a “Samurai Sword”) featured in your story, and you want to keep track of each scene in which this prop is used, you would create a “Samurai Sword” tag and add that tag in each scene where that prop is used. This will then create a “Samurai Sword” tag container in your Tags Panel.

You can create tags yourself, but they are also automatically generated. You’ll notice that as you’re writing your script, Pretend will detect character names and locations to create tag containers for them. This way, you’ll easily be able to locate each scene or shot in which “Josh” is present, as well as each scene or shot that occurs in the “Bedroom.”

To filter your assets even further, tags can contain other sub-tags. Simply select a tag container and add another tag to one of its assets.

The checkboxes beside each tag container turns the tag filter on or off. Turning on a tag container will show any asset containing that tag. If a tag container with multiple sub-tags is checked, you will see all of the assets containing that main tag, regardless of which sub-tags are checked. If you would like to only view your sub-tags, make sure to uncheck the main tag.

Lastly, tags will only filter through whatever you have selected in your Story Structure Panel, so if you want to filter through your entire project, make sure to have your project level selected in your Story Structure Panel.

Creating a Tag or Sub-Tag

You can use the Tags Panel Library Menu to create a new tag. After selecting an item in your Tags Panel, click on your Tags Panel Library Menu and select “Add Tag.”

Tags will be placed into whatever you have selected in your Tags Panel. So, if you’d like to add a new main tag to your project, make sure to select the project level. And if you’d like to create a new sub-tag, make sure to select whichever main tag you would like for them to be placed in.

Adding a Tag to an Asset

Once you’ve created a tag in your Tags Panel, you can drag it to any asset or Story Group in your Library. Once added, the tag name will appear in the “Tags” column of your asset in the Items Panel. You can also drag an asset onto a tag in your Tags Panel, either way works.

Tag Box

A Tag Box contains all of the tags that have been assigned to an item. While in “List” view in the Items Panel, double-click on any item’s tag to open its Tag Box. Any current tags assigned to that item will be displayed in the box.

Within the Tag Box of an item, you can add or remove any tags by simply hitting the “Delete” key or typing in whichever tag you’d like to add. If the added tag doesn’t exist, it will create a new tag container for it in your Tags Panel, but if it does, an auto-complete list of tags will appear as you type a tag name.

You can also select an item in your Library, then click on the “Tags” tab of your Inspector to open that item’s Tag Box.

Removing a Tag from an Item

To remove a tag from an asset or Story Group, open the item’s Tag Box, select the tag you’d like to remove and hit “Delete.”

Delete a Tag from the Tags Panel

To delete a tag container, and therefore removing all of its tags from your project, simply select it in your Tags Panel and hit “Delete.” You can also select the “Delete” option from your Tags Panel Library Menu.

Tags On/Off Toggle

To turn your Tag filters on or off, click on the icon (power button) on the left of the “Tags” bar. When turning the Tags “Off”, the filters you have selected will be deactivated. Once you turn your Tags back “On,” whichever filters you had previously selected will reappear as such.

Collapse Tags Panel

Click on the V-shaped icon on the left of the Tags top bar to collapse or open the Tags Panel.

Tags Panel Library Menu

When the Tags Panel is active (Tags Panel must be selected), you can access the Tags Panel Library Menu by clicking on the Library Menu at the bottom-left of the panel (…). These menu options can also be viewed by right-clicking on an item in the Tags Panel.

Add Tag

Adds a tag to the Tag panel. Select the top level tag, then choose Add Tag to add a new tag to the end of the tag list. Click once, wait a beat, then click again on the tag name “New Tag” to activate the rename box. Or right-click the new tag, then pick Rename in the Library menu.

If you select a tag, then choose Add Tag, it creates a child tag underneath the selected tag. So, if you select Characters, then Add Tag, a new tag will be created under Characters which you could name, say, "John".

Reset "Selection"

Resets the selected tag.

Rename "Selection"

Allows you to rename the selected tag.

Duplicate "Selection"

Duplicates the selected tag. If you select a parent tag, all the parent's children tags will also be duplicated.

Delete "Selection"

Deletes the selected tag. If you select a parent tag, all the parent's children tags will also be deleted.

Structure Only

Shows only story groups in the Story panel while checked. When unchecked, media assets are also shown.

The Items Panel

The Items Panel, on the right side of the Library, is where you’ll be able to locate and filter through all of the different assets you’ve collected for your project.

How to use The Items Panel

The Items Panel shows you all of the different assets in whichever Group you have selected in your Library. You can use the Story and Tags Panels to navigate through the different contents of your Items Panel.

You can add items in lots of ways:

  1. Select File > Media... > Import Media... from the top menu.
  2. Click in the “Import Asset” button in the bottom-left of the Library.
  3. Select “Import File” from the Library Menu.
  4. Drag a file into a Story Group’s timeline. You can open a Timeline by double-clicking on a Group in the Library’s Story Structure Panel.
  5. Or drag and drop a file from your computer over a Story Groups name in the Library’s Story Structure Panel.

You can also add files to your project that aren’t supported by Pretend (non-native files). For example, you can drag a Photoshop file over to your Story Group, to keep as a reference. Double-clicking on that file in Pretend will open it up in Photoshop. This allows you to organize all of your outside material into your story structure.

Along with non-native files, you can also drag web links into your Items Panel to save any web page relevant to your project. Simply drag the URL from your web browser and add it to your Items Panel. These web pages could involve research, potential props, or even images for a “lookbook.”

Note that the Items Panel Library Menu is the same as the Story Structure Panel.

To copy an item, just hold down the Option key while dragging to a new location.

Note that FX controls are locked by default for library items. If unlocked in Preferences, you can, say, color correct a video clip in the library. When you add the clip to a timeline, any new color correction is on top of the library correction so you have two sequential changes. This can be quite useful but you need to be aware of what is happening.

List/Thumbnail View Button


You can toggle between “List” and “Thumbnail” view by clicking on this Button.

By selecting “List” view, your assets will be displayed as a line item, with all of its properties being displayed in the different columns of your Items Panel.

By selecting the “Thumbnail” option, your assets will be displayed as icons of which you can change the size with the help of the Thumbnail Size Slider.

While in Thumbnail View, press on the spacebar to play an item in the viewer (press it again to pause).

Library Asset Viewer

When in List View, there is a small viewer at the top of the Items Panel to screen whichever asset you have selected.

Reorganizing Columns

You can drag the column header left or right in the Items Panel to reposition the column.

You can also resize the width of a column by clicking on that columns border and dragging it in or out.

Lastly, you can right-click on a column header to display a list of all column types for you to choose from. If you’d like to remove a type of column from your Items Panel, simply uncheck it in the right-click menu.

Click on a heading to show the ascending/descending icon to sort the column. Reset the column order by right-clicking the icon for a menu and select Reset Sort.


Thumbnail Size Slider

Click on the magnifying glass, located next to the Thumbnail icon, to reveal the Thumbnail Size Slider. Push the slider up or down to make your thumbnails bigger or smaller, respectively.

Item Search Box

Click on the “Search” icon in the lower-right side of the Items Panel to open a Search Box, and enter the name of whichever asset you’d like to find.

Click outside of the bar menu to exit the Search Box, or select “x” to the right of the search to remove your current search entry.

Asset Type Filter Button

Click on this icon to open a list of filters, organized by type of media.

Select from the options to display a specific type of assets. You can select “All” from the asset type options to view all of your different types of assets.

Trim Viewer

In the Items Panel, double-click on a video (or right-click on the clip and select “Open Selection in Trim Window”) to open a Trim Window.

Once open, use the yellow handles to set your in and out points (where you would like for your clip to start and end). When ready, click “Trim” to adjust the length or “Cancel” to exit the Trim Window.

Note that once you’ve trimmed a video, you can still edit the in and out points of your clip once you drag it into your Timeline.

Another way trim unused clips is to trim them in the palette (see the Palette section under Edit). The palette shows unused items in the current timeline.

Story Arcs

Pretend lets you see your story through story arcs shown in the timeline. You can make an arc for a whole show, scene, character or whatever.

First select a story group in the story navigation panel of the library. Then, either right-click or open the Library menu and select Add Story Arc.

The new Arc appears in the Item panel of the Library in the selected group and as a new inspector. If you open the story group in the timeline, you can drag in the new Arc and make a new track.

Note the Arc clip is the width of the story group. Change the time range by dragging an edit handle, the small circle, at either end of the Arc clip. You are limited in adjusting the duration by the beginning and end plot points.

Four arc plot points are displayed by default to make the initial arc. You see one each of the Setup, Conflict, Climax and Resolution types.

Double-click to add or delete an arc point to the curve. Drag vertically to change the intensity or horizontally to change the timing. Right-click on a point to change the arc point type.

Hover over or drag an arc point. The arc point's type, description, intensity and timing appear next to the arc point. Setup and Resolution points are blue, Conflict points are green and Climax is red.

To delete an arc point, select it and hit the Delete key. If no points are selected, the Arc clip itself is deleted.

In the Inspector you can change arc point types, add a description and change the intensity. Arc points reflect what you have added or deleted in the Arc clip's curve in the timeline. In the General section, you can name the Arc and describe the main conflict, goal and barrier.

The Inspectors Panel

The Inspectors Panel, located in the upper-right corner of the Editing Panel, is where you will be able to display and modify information regarding your different groups and media assets (view timecodes, color correction, etc…). Make sure to have the correct asset selected in your library before using the Inspectors.

  1. Item Type The type of the selected item appears preceded by its icon.
  2. Item Name The name of the selection is either blue (indicating it is in the library) or orange (indicating it is in the current timeline).
  3. Duration The overall length of the selection.
  4. The Info Tab General information and controls which vary depending on the selected item.
  5. The Tags Tab Lets you add and delete tags describing the item for filtering.
  6. The Script Tab Only appearing when you have a story group selected, the associated script appears for reference while editing.
  7. The FX Tab The FX tab appears when an item can have color or transforms applied.

The top bar inside the panel will display information regarding the group or asset selected. When a group or media asset is selected, the bar will display the group or asset’s type, name and duration.

Below the top bar, you’ll find the Inspectors Panel Top Menu Bar. This is where you’ll find the four different icons, each representing their own Inspector Tabs.

The Info Tab

The Info Tab in the Inspectors Panel is meant to display information regarding whichever type of group or asset you have selected. Depending on what item you have selected in your library, the Info Tab will display different types of information.

Click on the different types of items below to see how they affect the Info Tab:

  1. Project

  2. Story Group

  3. Show

  4. Scene

  5. Shot

  6. Video

  7. Audio

  8. Image

  9. Group

  10. List

  11. File

  12. Arc

  13. Text

The Tags Tab

The Tags Tab in the Inspectors Panel displays all of the Tags associated with whichever group or asset you have selected. Note that you can also find these Tags in the Library’s Item Panel when in List View (in the Tags column).

Adding a Tag

To add a Tag to a selected item in the Library, click inside the Tag Box and type in the name of the tag you would like to add and press Enter. If the tag you’re adding already exists, an auto-complete list of tags will appear as you type.

Deleting a Tag

To delete a Tag, select it and press Delete.

The Script Tab

The Script Tab in your Inspectors Panel is where you will find the portion of the script corresponding to a particular Story Group, such as a Show, Sequence or Scene. Note that the Script Tag only appears when you have a Story Group selected.

The Viewer

Seeing is believing.

The viewer is the window into your project. This is where your selected media assets will be displayed for you to view.

Viewing Media Assets

Select any media asset you would like to display in your viewer. The name of the asset selected will appear above the Viewer if selected from the Library. If selected from the Timeline, the name will be that of the Timeline’s Story Group. Note that the icon to the left of the asset’s name will be blue when you select an item from the Library and orange when you’ve selected an asset from your Timeline .

Viewing Timelines

To view what’s in your Timeline, make sure to have your Timeline Panel selected and press play (Space Bar). Remember, the Timeline starts playing from wherever the Playhead is located. You can drag your Playhead to any part of your Timeline by clicking on the timecode at the top of your Timeline.

Panel Menu Viewer Options

Inside the Global Bar, to the right, is the Panel Menu, which allows you to hide the different panels within Pretend.

Click the Hide Viewer function to get rid of your Viewer. Click it again to bring it back.

Viewer Menu Bar

At the bottom of your Viewer is the Viewer Menu Bar. You can hover over one of the menu items with your cursor for a pop-up description of that function.

  1. Fit / Zoom
  2. Channels
  3. Pan & Zoom / 2D Transform / Framing
  4. Playback Controls
  5. Viewer Volume
  6. Loop On/Off
  7. Full Screen

Playback Controls

Press Play to play through all the clips in your Timeline from the Playhead position. Click again to Pause. Pressing the Space Bar also toggles between Play and Pause.




Keyboard Shortcut

Go to Start

Moves playhead to beginning of timeline.


Previous Edit

Go to the previous edit. Repeated clicks will continue moving back in a pattern of moving to the beginning of the current clip, then end of previous clip, then beginning of previous clip and so on.

Step Back

Move backward by single frame.


Play/Pause toggle


Step Forward

Move forward by single frame.

Next Edit

Go to the next edit. Repeated clicks will continue moving forward in a pattern of moving to the end of the current clip, then beginning of next clip, then end of next clip and so on.

Go to End

Moves playhead to end of timeline.


Channels Pop-up Menu

Click on the Channels Menu for a pop-up of all the different functions. You’ll be able to view any of these different channels independently, including Color, Red, Blue, Green, Luminosity and Alpha Channels.




Keyboard Shortcut


Displays the combined red, green and blue channels of the image.



Displays only the red channel of the image.



Displays only the green channel of the image.



Displays only the blue channel of the image.



Displays only the luminousity of the image.



Displays only the alpha channel of the image.


Zoom Menu

The Zoom Menu allows you to modify the size of your Viewer.

You can also press (⌘ +) or (⌘ -) to zoom in and out, or select one of the preset sizes available. If you’d like for the Viewer to occupy all of the available viewer space, select Fit.

Viewer Navigation / Transform / Framing Menu

Choose between viewer controls for pan/zoom, transform, framing and text. Transform and Framing are fully explained in the FX section of the User Guide. Text is explained in the Editing section of the User Guide.





The default mode is a Pan icon but in this mode, you can pan and zoom. Just click and drag in the viewer to move it around. Hit ⌘ + to zoom in. Hit ⌘ - to zoom out.


Opens the Transform on-screen controls. See Transform in the FX section for a full description.


Opens the Framing on-screen controls. See Framing in the FX section for a full description.


Opens the Text on-screen controls. See Making Titles and Text in the Editing section for a full description.

Misc Viewer Controls




Keyboard Shortcut

Full Screen

Enlarges the view to full screen mode. To exit Full Screen, either click the icon or hit Esc or ⌘ F.

⌘ F


Playback keeps repeating from start of selection.



Click the Volume icon for a volume slider. Note this adjusts the playback volume, not the output volume in your actual show.



Edit with the story by your side.

The timeline uses the story structure to organize a show. The script is right in front of you to help keep the story in mind as you work.

You can start dragging in clips from the Finder to a track in the Timeline and start editing. But why edit like you're in a regular editor? Pretend edits in sync with your story.

Story groups are like boxes in boxes, or better, glass boxes in glass boxes with all contents visible. A scene might be made of some shot groups, a music clip and a narration clip. A shot might be a foreground image, background video and an audio sound effect clip. You drill up and down the story groups to construct the visual story.

The Timeline has three main parts:


Move around your project using breadcrumbs to view and edit. The breadcrumbs are like you would find in a website except it uses your story structure for levels.

You also have tabs to store different timeline views for quick access.


The workspace displays the contents of the current story group in the breadcrumbs. Double-click a story group in the current timeline to open it in the timeline workspace. Or select it in the breadcrumbs which will also open it.


The palette holds unused library items. You can open this in the timeline to trim unused video clips before adding them. This lets you work with footage with the library closed. Hit P to toggle the palette on and off.

We examine each of these in the following sections.

The Global Bar

The blue bar above the timeline is the global bar which is always visible.

It holds items that apply to the whole app like the timecode display. A timecode has 4 sections of hours/minutes/seconds/frames separated by colons. It displays the location of the timeline's playhead and what frame you see in the viewer.

The panel on/off toggles are to the right side. If you aren't using a panel or need more room for another panel, toggle it off. Click these to toggle on and off various panels like the timeline or library.

You also have the sparse view toggle on the far right. This turns off a lot of buttons in different panels for a more uncluttered look. You hover to reveal hidden buttons while in sparse mode.

More on Story Groups

The Timeline uses the project's story structure to make story groups. We looked at story groups earlier but lets talk a bit more about them.

A group is a container of items while a story group is a container based on a story level like a sequence, scene or shot. A story group can contain screenplay text, video, audio, images and other story groups. You can navigate to story groups to either view or edit them.

A story group can contains scenes so you can use one as a sequence or act. Then, you can add a music track which spans several scenes in the sequence. Or you could add a logo to overlay several scenes.

You can drill down and up the story chain. If you are in a scene timeline, double-click a shot to open the shot's timeline. You can also open it by double-clicking on the shot in the library. Or click on the scene name in the breadcrumbs to go back to the parent scene. Click and hold the scene breadcrumb for a story navigation menu to go back to a shot in the timeline.


Move around story groups in the timeline using breadcrumbs. Then, refine that by zooming and panning, and even save different timeline views with tabs.

Navigate story groups with breadcrumbs

You'll find the breadcrumbs above the timeline in the middle bar. Breadcrumbs show the hierarchy of the story groups such as Shows, Scenes and Shots. So, breadcrumbs focus on what you see in the current timeline.

A story group in the library displays everything so a scene might have, say, 10 shots and some reference pictures. If you open the scene in the timeline, you might have only used 6 shots. So the breadcrumbs will only show the 6 shots. You won't see the remaining 4 shots or the reference material.

In the breadcrumbs, click and hold on a story group. A list of that group's siblings appears. Choose a sibling story group to select it and see it in the timeline. If a story group has children, you can open the sub-menu to choose a child story group (as well as any child of a child).

For example, if you click on the Scene level of the breadcrumbs, "Sc1: Inn Room" might show a menu of Shots 1A, 1B, 1C and 1D. If you select Sh1A, that shot appears in the breadcrumb stack. If you click on Sc1 again, the selection moves up one level and Sh1A disappears from the end of the breadcrumbs.

To go to a higher level, pick the level to select it.

Note that the Item panel in the library shows "used" and "unused" in the Used column of the list view. Until you add a story group from the library to the a timeline, it is not considered used.

The number of lines in a screenplay estimates the initial length of the scene in the timeline. For instance, if a page tends to run a minute in the final film, a 10 page screeenplay estimates to run 10 minutes. This is a starting point so adding video to the scene will change the initial scene length.

Go Up a Level

Click once on the desired level in the breadcrumbs.

Open a Child Group

Double-click the child story group in the parent's timeline workspace.

Move Back/Forward

Click on the arrow buttons on the left of the breadcrumbs to move back or foreward to previously viewed timelines (much like a web browser).

Move Anywhere

Click and hold on a breadcrumb level to see a tree menu of all story groups below the selected level. Select the desired story group to open it in the timeline. This is a quick way to move around your story in wide steps.

Adding story groups and clips to the timeline

Zoom, pan & fit in a timeline


Click to zoom in while pressing Z (or ⌥ Z to zoom out). The center of the zoom is where you first click.

Or use the zoom slider in the timeline's top bar to horizontally resize the timeline. You can also click the Zoom In and Zoom Out icons on either side of the slider.


Press H while dragging to pan.

Or use the vertical and horizontal scrollbars in the timeline to pan.


Hit F to fit the zoom to the selection. No selection fits all contents to the width of the timeline panel.

Timecode Display

Displays the current timecode and frame rate.

Timeline Tabs

Timeline tabs let you have different views of various timelines available. There is only one timeline open at a time but you can open many timelines in different tabs.

Every time you open a new tab, you are actually creating a new timeline that you can also see in the library.

After adding a first tab, the default "Timeline 1" under a Timelines group appears at the end of the project in the library's navigation panel. Any new tabs created will show new timelines under the Timelines group.

You can rename the tab timeline's name in the library to see it reflected in the timeline tab.

If you add an asset to the new tab's timeline (either in the library or timeline panel), it is kept in the library even if you close the tab.

However, if you delete a tab while its timeline is empty, the timeline is also deleted in the library so you don't have a bunch of empty timelines floating around.

It is also removed from the library if you open another story group in the new tab while its timeline is still empty.

Deleting a timeline in the library that is currently shown in a tab will also delete that tab, unless it is the last tab remaining.

Add Tab

Click the circled "+" icon at the end of the last tab to add a new tab. The added timeline will be empty. Double-click on a story group in the library or timeline to see it in the tab's timeline workspace.

You can open the story group in a new tab by holding the command key while double-clicking a story group. This works in either the library or timeline.

Delete Tab

Click the circled X icon to the left of any tab name to delete the tab.

Move Back/Forward Tab

If you have more tabs than can be seen, use the arrow buttons at the far right of the tab line. These will move the line of tabs back and forth to reveal more tabs.

Reorder Tabs

Drag a tab left or right horizontally to move the tab to a new place in the tab order.

Timeline Menu

The ellipse icon (...) on the far left is the timeline menu. Click to see a menu of timeline-related options.

Add Track

Adds an empty track to the timeline.

Enable Scrubbing

Acts as a toggle so it plays in the viewer as you move the cursor over a clip.

Enable Razor

Turns on the razor tool until you toggle it back off. While on, clicking on a clip with split it into two clips.

Jump to Playhead

Moves the timeline view to wherever the playhead is currently. Useful if you have panned or zoomed to a different area and want to snap back to the playhead position.

Move Playhead to Point

This moves the playhead to your current cursor position, the opposite of Jump to Playhead. Most useful if you use the M shortcut.

Zoom to Fit

Resizes the timeline view to fit the current selection. If no selection, fits all the timeline content into view.

Zoom In

Zooms in the timeline.

Zoom Out

Zooms out the timeline.

Show/Hide Palette

Shows or hides the palette.

Zoom In from Cursor

Zooms in using the cursor position as the center, wherever you click. This one is not in the menu since it's a quick key/mouse shortcut.

Zoom Out from Cursor
⌥ Z

Zooms out using the cursor position as the center, wherever you click. This one is not in the menu since it's a quick key/mouse shortcut.


The timeline workspace in Pretend is where you mix media assets to build your final edit.

Add Media to the Workspace

Drag a media file to the timeline, from either the library, a file browser or the palette. If you drag below the last track, a new track is created to place the dragged clip.

A timeline clip displays the name, animation toggle, disable, lock and volume buttons.


Click on a clip to select it. The clip's inspector appears in the inspector panel. Move the playhead to the selected clip to see it in the viewer.

Drag a box over clips to select multiple clips. Or hold down the command key while clicking on different clips. Click again while holding the command key down to unselect.

Double-click a story group clip to open it in the timeline. Hold down the command key while double-clicking to open it in a new tab.

Note that there is no cut/copy/paste in the timeline. Duplicate an item in the library and drag the duplicate to the timeline.

Track Header

The track header is at the beginning of each track in a timeline. It has enable, lock, volume and resize buttons along with a track menu button.

Track Header Controls

There are several buttons visible, from top down - menu, disable/enable, lock/unlock, mute, and resize. Since the menu list is longer, lets look at the other buttons first.


Toggle the Enable off in the track header. The track is now disabled and not used though it is visible in the timeline. Click it again to turn the track back on.

In an audio clip, a Disable acts the same as a mute.


This toggle button locks the track to prevent further editing. The track contents are still seen when playing. Locking prevents any changes to that track.


Toggles the sound on and off. When an audio is embedded in a Quicktime video clip, use Mute Audio to mute the track but still enable the video.

Resize Track

Drag the bottom of the track header to resize the track vertically.

Double-click the Resize button to toggle between collapsed and expanded.

Note that as you shorten the track header, icons for Disable, Lock and Mute will be hidden.

Reorder Track

Click on an empty part of the track header. Then drag the track header up or down to a different track position.

Track Header Menu

The track menu button is an ellipse (...) icon at the top of the track header. Click with the left mouse button to see the menu.

Add Track

Adds a general track below the current track. You can add anything to this track.


Choose Delete Track to delete the current track. Note that you cannot delete a locked track.


Duplicates the current track.


Choose Collapse/Expand Track to collapse or expand the current track vertically.

Double-click on the Resize button to toggle between expanded and collapsed tracks.

Track Priority

The higher track has visual priority over a track below, like a stack of photos. If you have two tracks with a smaller video on top of a larger resolution video, the viewer will show the small video over the large video.

Editing in the Workspace

Pretend has a full set of basic editing tools. You use most of them through the edit handles, small circles on the corners and sides of a clip selection.

The viewer splits into multiple views of each affected shot. It's easy to see the effect of each edit handle by trying it and seeing the effect in the viewer.

Lets look at how you edit in Pretend.


Click on the interior of a clip to select it. Drag a box over multiple clips. Or hold the command key while selecting multiple clips (click again to de-select).

The clip appears in a orange box with 8 circular handles. Each handle performs a different kind of edit as you will see further down.


Drag a clip over another clip. This highlights the clip, signaling you've selected it to replace the clip. If you release it over the highlighted clip, the dragged clip will replace that clip as a ripple replace. The rest of the surrounding clips will collapse or expand depending on the length of the replacement clip.

To do an overwrite replacement, hold down the command key before releasing. The clip will leave a gap in its old position. It will overlay other clips wherever you drop it, depending on the length and placement.

To leave the original clip and replace using a copy, hold down the option key while dragging. You can combine the overwrite and copy keys.


Select a shot and drag to insert it in a new position. The highlighted insertion line shows where the clip will insert between two clips. This is a ripple insert by default. The surrounding clips will collapse or expand to accommodate the length.

Click and drag a shot to the beginning of another shot to insert before that shot.

Click and drag a shot to the ending of another shot to insert after that shot.

To do an overwrite insert, hold down the command key before releasing. This will either overlap surrounding clips or leave a gap.

To leave the original clip and insert using a copy, hold down the option key while dragging. This also works while holding down the command key when in overwrite mode.

Add Empty Clip

Double-click in a gap between two clips to add an empty group. The group type echoes its neighbor's type so if it's between two scenes, it will be a scene clip. This clip edits normally except that it has black frames.

When the empty shot is added at the end, it fills the gap between where your cursor is and the last clip of the track. So if you double-click with your cursor further away on the track then the empty shot will be bigger.


Select one or more shots and hit the Delete key to remove the selection. Note that this is a ripple delete so the rest of the track will collapse to fill the space. To leave a gap, hold down the Command key while deleting.

Ripple Trim

The left and right side handles do ripple trims. A ripple trim will push or pull the rest of the track on that side as you move the handle.

While dragging the handle, the viewer shows two views. The left side handle shows the previous clip's last frame next to the clip's starting frame. Vice versa for the right side handle. If no adjoining clip exists, only black appears on that side.

Overwrite Trim

The lower left and right corner handles do overwrite trims. Moving an Overwrite Trim handle can overlay an adjoining clip or leave a gap.

While dragging the handle, the viewer shows two views. The left handle shows the previous clip's last frame next the clip's starting frame. Vice versa for the right handle. If no adjoining clip frame exists, only black appears on that side.


Dragging the top middle orange handle will slip the shot. This changes the selection's In and Out points by the same amount. The adjoining shots don't change. This looks like you're moving the clip within a static box.

Four views appear in the viewer. The first view shows the previous shot's Out Point (this stays the same). The second view shows the selection's In Point. The third view shows the selections Out Point (both of these change). The fourth view shows the following shot's In Point (this stays the same).


Drag the bottom middle orange handle of the selection. This will slide the shot. It changes the previous shot's Out point the following shot's In Point by the same amount. The selection's In and Out Points don't change. It looks like you're moving a static clip over other clips.

Four views appear in the viewer. The first view shows the previous shot's Out Point (this changes). The second view shows the selection's In Point. The third view shows the selections Out Point (both In and Out stay the same). The fourth view shows the following shot's In Point (this changes).

There is a limit in how far you can slide. You can't slide to the right if you've reached the end of the previous clip so the two clips stay connected. Otherwise you'd have a gap. The same is true moving left so you're limited to the start of the following clip.


Drag the orange handle on either upper corner of a selection to roll the shot. A roll only changes the ending of one shot and the beginning of the next shot. So if you move 5 frames to the left, Pretend will cut 5 frames from the shot on the left and add 5 frames to the shot on the right.

Two views appear in the viewer showing the new Out and In points of the adjoining shots.

Editing Frame-by-frame

To move any type of edit by single frames, click once on the edit handle and use the arrow keys to move by frames. Click away to exit. As with any edit, a tooltip appears displaying the edit type, timecode and delta (the change from the last edit).


The Razor will cut the selection into two shots.

Hit X to go into Razor mode (or select Enable Razor from the timeline menu). Click at the desired point to split the clip or group in two. ⌥ + click a clip to split all tracks at that frame. Hit X again to exit razor mode.

Using Audio

Editing audio clips are much like any other clip so edit handles work the same. Each audio clip displays a waveform which is useful for aligning with other video or audio clips.

To fade the audio clip in and out, animate the volume gain for the beginning or end of the clip. You can also use this to, say, lower the volume of a music clip while a character is speaking. See the FX Animation section for more information.

Working with Parent Timelines

While inside a shot group's timeline, increasing the duration does not automatically extend the shot duration in the parent scene's timeline. The scene controls the duration of a shot in it's domain. However, in case you're one to forget to make the change in both places, Pretend lets you change the parent from inside the child story group

If you are in a child timeline that has a parent (such as a shot that is in a scene), the parts not visible in the parent will be dimmed. You can either move up a level to change the shot duration in the parent or just adjust the parent handles available in the child timeline.

The parent handles are at the top of the parent boarders. Dragging a handle will do a ripple trim in the parent timeline with two viewers so you can see the cut.

For a roll trim, hold down the Command key, then drag the parent handle.

For a slide (moving the start and end points at the same time), hold the Shift key first, then drag the parent handle. This shows four views as you make the trim.

Parent handles are available in any child story group below the Show level.

Making Titles & Text

You can make titles, captions and credits with the text tool.

Create Text

Create the text clip directly in a timeline. Open a story group in the timeline, place the playhead where you want it to start, then click on the text button (a big "T") in the upper left of the timeline panel.

A text clip appears which you can select to modify in the inspector panel or in the viewer within on-screen controls. Note that you can also select the text tool (under the on-screen controls popup menu) in the viewer, then double-click in the viewer to create a text object.

A text clip will appear in the top track beginning at the playhead position with a default duration of 5 seconds, if there is room for the default text clip duration. If there's not enough room, a new track is added at the top and the text clip is placed there.

Double-click anywhere in the viewer to create more text objects. Each new text will have a text clip appear in the timeline.

You can trim the duration like any other clip in the timeline.

FX controls are also available so you can animate the overall opacity, for example. While using the on-screen text controls in the viewer, you won't see the rendered effects so you can see the actual text while modifying.

Note that animation works on the whole text clip, not individual character selections (even if you select all the text) so make sure nothing is selected before animating.

You will see a text item appear in the viewer in insert mode as a dotted line rectangle with handles.

Insert Mode

When you first create text, you select the default text and start typing new text. By default, the text is white, centered and 120 pixels in size in a text box.

The text box can be modified in height and width. The text will wrap lines to fill the text area. Drag the handles to change the available text area shown.

Clicking on the text creates an insert point or drag to select multiple characters and modify just those characters (like the color or size).You can also make an insert point, then shift-click another insert point to select that range of text. If you drag the center square inside the text box, you can move the text box position.

Note that if you select characters or words together that you previously modified separately, say, one word size is 100 and the other is 200, then the size value box will be blank. If you change the size to 150, then both words will now be 150 in size.

Now you can edit the text. In the inspector panel, you can modify the clip name, duration, font, size, alignment, spacing, fill, and outline for the selected text. Shadows and background can only be changed for the entire text box, not selected text.

Text Inspector

When you select a text clip in the timeline, the text inspector appears. See the Text Inspector page under the Info Tab list in the Inspector section to learn more about each parameter.

Create a Background for the Text

By default, the text has a transparent background but you can turn a background on which matches the text box size. Change the padding to add to the margin of the text box for more spacing around the text. You can change the color and opacity by clicking the color box.

If you leave the text blank, this is also a way to generate a colored frame.

Transforming Text

Use the transform on-screen control in the viewer to scale, rotate and translate the overall text clip. You can also use the transform controls in the FX panel of the text clip. See the FX Transform section for a full description.

To go back to insert mode to change the text, select the text area tool from the viewer on-screen controls menu (a hand icon is shown by default).

Animating Text

You can animate text just like you can animate effects like color or transforms (see Animation). Any attributes in the text info tab with animation controls to the right of the attribute can be animated.

Note that text animation works on the whole text clip, not smaller selections within that clip, so it will give odd results. If you want to animate letters or words separately within a larger text group, split them into separate text clips on overlapping tracks, then animate both in sync.


The palette lets you close the library panel yet still see unused contents of the story group.

A painter has unused colors on the palette ready for application to the canvas. Like a painter's palette, Pretend's palette shows unused media from the current story group in the timeline ready to be added to your timeline. You can select, trim and add the clips into your edit.

Click on the timeline menu button to select "Open Palette." If you reopen the menu, it now says "Close Palette." Or you can hit P while in the timeline.

You will see any unused contents of the current story group from the library. The clips are at the bottom of the timeline in a single row that you can scroll back and forth. Select a clip, trim it using the circle handles and drag to the workspace.


Effects for image and sound.

You'll want to change something about an image. Make it bigger or redder or crop it or whatever. Pretend comes with effects built-in.

If a selected item has an FX tab in its inspector, it will have a set of standard effects ready to go. Most of the time, you see Color, Orientation, Framing, and Tranform.

You can open an effect by clicking on the open button on the left side of the effect's header bar.

Common FX Controls

The effects inspector has some common buttons found in most of the effects. The header bar displays an on/off toggle, open/close button, the effect name, and finally a reset button.

On the far left, you will see a Power button, an on/off toggle for the effect. So if "on", the effect is used and can be seen in the viewer. If "off", the effect is not used. The default is "on".

The Reset button returns all effect values back to the default. If you have any animations in the effect, it deletes them. Within the inspector, you will also see Reset buttons for individual parameters. This also deletes parameter animations.

The Animation control is off (grey) by default. See the Animation section below for more information on creating an animation.

The Accelerator button is usually to the left of a value input box in each effect. Click to increase the steps from slow to fast. This toggles through three speed levels.

Change parameter values by typing in the parameter field, clicking on the stepper, or dragging the parameter field label. The last option is a virtual slider. The cursor will change over the parameter name to show a virtual slider is available. Orange outlines indicate a value that just changed.


Color controls correct common color problems. Examples are over/under-exposed shots or improper white points for the lighting. Color modifications stay linear to preserve image data for later creative grading.

Most people's eyes adjust to see a white paper as white in most lighting conditions, but cameras don't. To balance your shot, use the temperature to correct the white point. Tweak the tint if it looks a little green or magenta.

Adjusting the White gain, is like changing the exposure. You are trying to get the widest range of highlights and shadows between the white and black points. But not so much that you clip your whites or crush your blacks.


The White knob adjusts the gain of the while point up or down, which modifies the exposure. The black point stays fixed while the white point rises. This also scales the rest of the in-between values. Think of it as if you hold one end of a rubber band fixed in one spot and stretch the other end in and out.


Temperature modifies the white point along the blue-yellow axis. This compensates for different lighting conditions.


Tint moves the white point along the green-magenta axis. This is perpendicular to the temperature axis of blue-yellow. Use this after a temperature modification, if you have, say, a green tint from a florescent light.

You can look at temperature as an X axis and tint as a Y axis,. The two let you move around a plane to map the white point to a new location.


The Black knob moves the black point up or down. The while point stays fixed and the black point is raised, which also scales the rest of the in-between values.


The Saturation knob globally adjusts each pixel between full color and a neutral grey.


The Opacity knob controls the transparency of the item.


The Orientation inspector lets you rotate, flip, or flop a clip.

Rotate 90

Rotates the image by 90 degrees clockwise. Click two times to rotate 180 degrees and three times for 270 degrees.


Reflects the video or image around the vertical axis.


Reflects the video or image around the horizontal axis.


The Framing inspector is a combination of crop and frame tools. You can crop using either the inspector or the on-screen Framing controls in the viewer.

Click the Hand icon (or Transform icon if that's what you last used) in the viewer to bring up a menu. Then select the on-screen Crop tool. In the viewer, you can drag the left, right, top and bottom sides. Drag the corner handles to crop while maintaining the aspect ratio. Drag the image to reposition it within the crop box.


Crop each side in pixels with Left, Right, Top and Bottom controls. The values are relative to how far in the crop is from a side. So a value of 100 in the Left value box means that 100 pixels are removed from the left side. Toggle on the Lock button beside Aspect Ratio to lock the aspect ratio while adjusting the crop box.

If the lock next to aspect ratio is active, the crop tries to maintain the aspect ratio of the image, it does this by cropping the other sides. Turn off the lock, and only one side changes at a time.

Aspect Ratio

Choose an aspect ratio from the popup list (16:9, 4:3, 3:2, 2:1, 2.39, 2.35:1, 1.85:1, 1.43:1, 1:1, or Custom). This reshapes the crop box in the viewer to the chosen aspect ratio but you can change it with any side handles. To keep the aspect ratio fixed, only drag the corner handles. Or click the lock icon beside the Aspect Ratio value box.


Choose from the Fit popup (None or Letterbox). Letterbox fits the image to the width or height of the viewer frame to keeps the whole image inside the frame.


You can transform a clip with either the Transform inspector or the on-screen controls in the viewer.

Transform in Inspector

The Transform inspector panel lets you move, resize and rotate an image or video. Enter a new value in a parameter field, click the steppers next to the field or use the virtual slider by dragging from the parameter name. The cursor changes to show the virtual slider availability.


Translate the video or image in X and Y.


Rotate the video or image in degrees.


Scale in X and Y. The scale link is on by default. Scaling in X or Y will scale the other parameter by the same amount. Toggle the link icon between the X and Y fields to turn off the link. You can then scale in X or Y independently.


Moves the pivot or center of the transformation. Note that the pivot can only be changed in the inspector, not the viewer on-screen transform controls. This minimizes the chance of accidentally moving the pivot.

Transform in Viewer

The Transform has an on-screen control. It lets you move, resize and rotate an image or video in the viewer.

In the lower left of the viewer, there is a popup menu showing hand (default), crop and transform icons. Click the Transform button to show the transform on-screen controls.

Drag any corner to scale keeping the aspect ratio. Drag the side handles to scale in one direction only. Drag in the middle cirlce to rotate. Drag anywhere else inside the transform box to move the image.

Hold down the Option key while dragging a handle to scale around the opposite corner or side as the pivot point. Hold down the Shift key while dragging a handle to corner handle to scale freely around the pivot point.

Reset the pan (translation or change in position) by double-clicking anywhere in the transform box except the circle. To reset an overall scale, double-click a corner handle. To reset an X or Y scale, double-click a side handle. To reset only the rotation, double-click in the rotation circle.

Of course, you could also reset transforms in the inspector.


You can animate effects for timeline clips in two places, the inspector and the timeline.

Lets look at the inspector first.

Animation in the Inspector

You can animate any parameter in an effect that has an animation control. By default, animation is off indicated by a squiggle icon to the right of the parameter.

1. To activate a parameter's animation, move the playhead over the selected clip to the desired frame for the first key and click on the squiggle. The squiggle changes to a filled diamond to show a keyframe on your new animation.

2. Adjust the parameter value of the new keyframe. Just change the value in the box by hand or drag over the label below the value box for a virtual slider. If animating a transform, crop or text clip, you can use an on-screen control in the viewer to tweak values.

3. Move the playhead to the next place you want a key in the clip. The diamond icon is now empty to show that while it is animated, there is no key at the current frame.

4. Change the parameter value to automatically make a new key. Or click the empty diamond to make a new key with no change in the parameter's value.

5. Now that you have two keys, move the playhead to the start of the clip and hit play to see your animation.

6. Use the "<" and ">" controls on either side of the animation control to move between keyframes.

You can also use the interactive controls in the viewer to change values, such as the Transform tool. If, say, Rotation is already animated then moving to a new frame with no key and changing the rotation angle will create a new key.

Sometimes you may want to make a new keyframe without changing the value. Move to a frame between two keys, and click the diamond in the animation icon. You will have a new keyframe with the interpolated value for that frame.

Animation menu in the Inspector

Click and hold on an animation icon for a menu of options shown in the table below.

Menu Option

No Animation

Removes all keys if animated

No Keyframe

Remove the selected keyframe


Make the selected keyframe interpolate linearly


Make the selected keyframe interpolate smoothly

Moving between keyframes in the Inspector

You can see if a frame has a key or if a key is ahead or behind in the timeline from the chart below. Move the cursor over the animation control. Previous/next arrows appear around the animation icon. Click on a highlighted "<" or ">" to move to the previous or next key.

A grey arrow means there is no key on that side of the key. A highlighted arrow on either side of the diamond means a keyframe is in that direction. Clicking on either highlighted arrow moves to the next frame with a key in that direction.

Animation in the Timeline

Change the clip to a simple animation curve editor by clicking the animation icon to the right of the clip name in the upper left corner of the clip.

Selected clip with animation button off:

Click the animation button on:

Click and hold the Channels button to select a parameter to view in the curve editor:

Animated parameters in the menu have a squiggle icon before the parameter.

Clip with animation button on with animated Rotation parameter selected:

The three most recently modified curves appear at the bottom of the parameter list for quick selection.

The animation controls in the clip (arrow icons around the diamond icon) work the same as in the inspector (see the previous section on animation in the inspector).

Add, delete or modify keyframes

To add a key, double-click anywhere on the curve. You can also go to a new frame and change the parameter value in the inspector. Or click the grey diamond in the animation control to add a key. Finally, right-click on a point on the curve and choose Add Keyframe to add a key.

To delete a key, double-click the keyframe on the curve or right-click to choose Delete Keyframe. You also delete the keyframe in the inspector. Note that you can't open a group with a double-click while in animation mode so you would need to toggle animation off in the clip first.

Drag a keyframe left or right to change the frame number. Drag up or down to change the key value. You can also use the left/right arrow keys to move the selected key 1 frame and the up/down arrow keys to increment the value.

To constrain movement, hold the Shift key down while dragging. Begin moving vertically to change value only. Begin moving horizontally to change the frame only.

Contextual animation menu in curve editor

Right-click the key to display the animation menu.

You can switch between Linear and Smooth interpolation for the selected keyframe, delete the keyframe, or pop up a text box to manually change the key's frame number or value.

Make the curve editor bigger

For more room to tweak your animation curves, you can increase the size of the curve editing area in the clip. To make it bigger horizontally, zoom in on the clip or select it, then hit F to fit the clip to the width of the timeline. Drag the bottom of the track header to increase the clip's height.

In & Out

Getting things in and out of Pretend

This section looks at how to import items and which items you can import. We'll also look at exporting your screenplay or finished piece.

But first, we look at the start page that appears when you open Pretend.

The Project Browser

The Project Browser has two main tabs, New and Recent. In the top left is the close button. In the top right is the help button which opens the Pretend user guide in your browser. The license button is in the lower left section. If no recent projects exist, the New tab page is displayed.

You can open it anytime while using Pretend through the top menu under Window/Project Browser.

The New tab has three sections. First you enter the title of the project file.

The next section is to choose the story structure. You can choose None if you want to make a non-story project. Choosing None only uses a default Show group where you can create whatever story structure you like from scratch. Or you can choose Show/Scene/Shot. This places a default show, scene and shot in your project that you can modify as you like. Or you can choose Screenplay and load in an existing screenplay. The story structure will be extracted from the screenplay.

The last section is for the format setup. If you leave the box checked, the first video clip into the timeline will set the format for that show. So if you drag in an HD clip, the resolution would be set at 1920 x 1080. You can change this later in the show's inspector. If unchecked, you choose the resolution, frame rate and audio options from the dropdown menus. Note that the first video clip sets the project, not audio or still image clips.

The recent page shows recent projects if any. If your project is not showing, close the start page and go to File>Open in Pretend's top menu.

Reconnecting Media

If you load a project using media that is no longer in the same location on your machine, the file path is not valid so the library can't load the media anymore. You need to reconnect the missing media.

If media is missing, the Reconnect Media panel will appear when opening the project, with the names and paths of the media. Below is the search path of the folder where the media is located. Pretend will search that folder and all the folders it contains. Click on the folder icon to the right of the pathname to locate the correct folder in the Finder. Then click the Reconnect Media button.

If all the media is greyed out, you have reconnected all the missing media and can click Close. If some media is still missing, you need to repeat with the correct folder until all media is connected.

Exporting via XML to FCPX

If you need to export your project into Final Cut Pro X, select File > Export > Export XML... and then save.

Animation and color correction, as well as some text parameters, are not transferred. Story arcs and other unique Pretend features are not included. Use this conversion as a base starting point for continuing your edit in FCPX.

To export into Premiere Pro, use a third-party application, such as Intelligent Assistance XtoC (Project X₂7), to convert the exported .fcpxml file into a .xml file.


There are four ways to import files into Pretend. You can import from the browser, top menu, story menu in the library or the Import button in the library.

1. From the Browser

An easy way to import things is to drag items from the file browser into Pretend.

Drag in the library into the Item panel or over a group in the Story panel.

You can also drag the files into the timeline. The files will also appear in the library under the story group of the current timeline.

2. From the Top Menu

File > Open

Opens Pretend project files.

File > Open Recent

Opens a submenu of recently used Pretend project files. At the bottom of the submenu, Clear Menu will remove the list of recent projects.

File > Import > Media...

Opens a file browser to select and import video, audio and still images.

File > Import > Screenplay...

Pretend can import screenplays in the Fountain format. This opens a browser to select the fountain screenplay.

You can also drag & drop from the browser or desktop.

3. The Library Menu

Select Import File from the library menu, lower left in the library, to open the browser. You can then import media into the selected story group.

4. Import button in Library

The Import button to the right of the Library Menu button also opens a browser for import.

File Formats for Import in Pretend

Below is a list of supported file formats for import in Pretend. You can also import non-supported formats. If you double-click a non-supported formats, it will open them in outside applications. This is useful in organizing reference material with scenes or shots.

Video Import Formats

Format Extension


Quicktime movie


iTunes Video


MPEG-4 video

Audio Import Formats

Format Extension


Third Generation Partnership Project


Third Generation Partnership Project


Advanced Audio Coding (AAC)


Audio Codec 3


Audio Data Transport Stream


Audio Interchange File Format


Compressed Audio Interchange File


Audio Interchange File Format (AIFF)


Adaptive multi-rate




Core Audio


Dolby Digital AC3 Sound


Apple MPEG-4 Audio


Apple MPEG-4 iTunes Book


Apple MPEG-4 iTunes Ringtone


MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 Audio Layer III (MP3)


MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 Audio Layer III (MP3)


MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 Audio Layer III (MP3)


MPEG-4 Audio


MPEG Audio Stream


Motion Picture Experts Group


Apple QuickTime Movie


Sound Designer OO




Waveform Audio File Format (WAVE)

Image Import Formats

Format Extension


Bitmap Image File


Adobe RAW




JPEG 2000






Portable Network Graphics


Photoshop document


Silicon Graphic Image


Targa or Truevision TGA










First, select something to export from the timeline or panel. This could be a story group or item, such as a video clip.

If you select nothing, the current timeline open in the timeline panel is exported.

There are three ways to export a selection out of Pretend.

1. From the Top Menu

File > Export... > Export Selection

Opens the Export panel.

2. The Library Menu

Export (Selected) opens the Export panel to export the selection. So if you have "Big Scene" selected, you will see Export "Big Scene" in the menu.

3. Export button in Library

To the right of the Library Menu button is the Export button. This is a shortcut to the export command in the story panel's library menu.

Below is a list of supported file formats for export in Pretend. Following that is a look at the Export panel.

File Formats for Export in Pretend



Apple ProRes4444

Apple ProRes422

The Export Panel

The top section shows various render destinations - File, Vimeo and YouTube. Click on the desired exports, then hit the Export at the bottom of the panel. Each icon will show a progress bar and cancel button while rendering. Each panel also has a Reset button at the top right.

Each export icon, when selected, reveals specific settings described below.

To upload to Vimeo, and set the title and other data, you need to enable all the permissions on the Vimeo login page to authorize Pretend to post to your Vimeo account, and update the video and account accordingly.

File Export Settings

The File export provides basic, video and audio settings to render to a file on your hard drive.




Enter a filename.


Choose a location for the file. Click the blue folder icon on the right to bring up a browser. Uncheck "Include Story Structure in Name" if you want a custom filename.

Video Checkbox

Uncheck if you don't want the video included in the output.

Video Format

Choose the video resolution from a popup list. Or choose Custom to enter another resolution.


Choose between JPEG, H.264 (default), ProRes 422 HQ or ProRes 4444.

Audio Checkbox

Uncheck if you don't want the audio included in the output.

Audio Channels

Choose between Stereo (default) or Mono.


Choose between AAC (default), Apple Lossless or PCM.



Video Checkbox

Uncheck if you don't want the video included in the output.


Choose the video resolution from a popup list. Or choose Custom to enter another resolution.


This parameter becomes active if you choose Custom for the Format parameter above. Choose between 16:9 (default), 4:3, 1.85, and 1.33 ratios or a Custom aspect ratio. Lock Aspect is checked by default.

Frame Rate

Choose between 60, 59.94, 48, 47.925, 30, 29.97, 25, 24, 23.976 or Current (whatever the current project frame rate setting is).


Choose between JPEG, H.264 (default), ProRes 422 HQ or ProRes 4444.


Choose between Best (20 mbps), Better (10 mbps), Good (5 mbps) or Custom (enter desired mbps).

Key Frame

Enter a value. Frame Reordering is on by default.



Audio Checkbox

Uncheck if you don't want the audio included in the output.


Choose between Stereo (default) or Mono.


Choose between 96, 48 and 44.1 khz.


Choose between AAC (default), Apple Lossless or PCM.


Choose between Average (ABR), Constant (CBR), Variable (VBR). Choose a Bit Rate between 96, 128, 160, 256 or 320 kbps.

Vimeo Export Settings

The Vimeo export provides settings for the account and saving to disk.




Enter a filename. Uncheck "Include Story Structure in Name" if you want a custom filename.

Use Account

Choose your account. If Offline, then Sign In.

Enable Video and Audio

Uncheck Video or Audio if you don't want one of them included in the output.

Video Format

Choose the video resolution from Larger (1080p - HD), Large (720p - HD), Medium (480p - SD) and Small (360p - SD).

Viewable By

Choose between Anyone, People I follow on Vimeo, People with a password, People I choose, or Only me (default).



Video Checkbox

Uncheck if you don't want the video included in the output.

Video Format

Choose the video resolution from Larger (1080p - HD), Large (720p - HD), Medium (480p - SD) and Small (360p - SD).

Frame Rate

Choose between 60, 50, 48, 30 (default), 25, or 24.

Picture Quality

Choose between Best (8 mbps), Better (4 mbps) or Good (2 mbps).

Audio Checkbox

Uncheck if you don't want the audio included in the output.


Choose between Stereo (default) or Mono.

Sound Quality

Choose between Better (256 kbps) and Best (256 kbps).

Save movie file

If checked, you can also save a file to disk while sending the render to Vimeo. Choose a location and name for the file. Click the blue folder icon on the right to bring up a browser.

YouTube Export Settings

The YouTube export provides settings for the account and saving to disk.




Enter a filename. Uncheck "Include Story Structure in Name" if you want a custom filename.

Use Account

Choose your account. If Offline, then Sign In.

Enable Video and Audio

Uncheck Video or Audio if you don't want one of them included in the output.

Video Format

Choose the video resolution from Ultra (2160p - UHD 4k), Huge (1440p - QHD 2k), Larger (1080p - HD), Large (720p - HD), Medium (480p - SD), Small (360p - SD) and Tiny (240p).


Choose between Private and Public.


Choose a category.



Video Checkbox

Uncheck if you don't want the video included in the output.

Video Format

Choose the video resolution from Ultra (2160p - UHD 4k), Huge (1440p - QHD 2k), Larger (1080p - HD), Large (720p - HD), Medium (480p - SD),Small (360p - SD) and Tiny (240p).

Frame Rate

Choose between 60, 50, 48, 30 (default), 25, or 24.

Picture Quality

Choose between Best (8 mbps), Better (4 mbps) or Good (2 mbps).

Audio Checkbox

Uncheck if you don't want the audio included in the output.


Choose between Stereo (default) or Mono.

Sound Quality

Choose between Good (192 kbps), Better (256 kbps) and Best (320 kbps).

Save movie file

If checked, you can also save a file to disk while sending the render to Vimeo. Choose a location and name for the file. Click the blue folder icon on the right to bring up a browser.


Note that these hotkeys work with the current active panel. So pressing a key in the viewer or timeline may produce different results.

Modifer Key Symbols

If you're not sure which modifier key goes with what symbol, you are not alone. Below is a handy reference.










Left Arrow

Right Arrow

Up Arrow

Down Arrow

Note that character keys are shown as upper case for clarity only. So, for an "F", you would just press the lower case "f" key.




Click and drag inside the viewer.

Zoom In

⌘ -

Zoom Out

⌘ =



Red Channel


Green Channel


Blue Channel


All Colors


Alpha Channel




Frame Forward

Frame Backward




Drag Mouse left or right to skim a clip

Show/Hide Viewer

⌥ ⌘ 1

Story Editor


Select All

⌘ A

Deselect All

⇧ ⌘ A


⌘ X / ⌘ C / ⌘ V


⌘ Z


⇧ + ⌘ + Z

Insert Character / Word / Paragraph

Click Once (insert point), Twice (selects word), Three (selects the paragraph).

Toggle between Story Editor and Main Window

⌘ ~

Show/Hide Story Editor

⌥ ⌘ 5



Add Show

⌘ 1

Add Scene

⌘ 2

Add Shot

⌘ 3

Add Story Groupc

⌘ 4

Add Group

⌘ 5

Show/Hide Library

⌥ ⌘ 2

Play/Pause of selected clip in Thumbnail view.





Delete with Gap

⌘ + ⌫

Razor tool


Play Selected Clips

Click + ⌥ + Play button



Next Edit

Previous Edit

Play Reverse




Play Forward



F (fits selection; if no selection, fits all)

Jump to Timeline Start


Jump to Timeline End


Zoom Out


Zoom In Around Clicked Location


Zoom In


Zoom Out Around Clicked Location

⌥ Z

Show/Hide Timeline

⌥ + ⌘ 3



Show/Hide Inspector

⌥ + ⌘ 4




⌘ S


⌘ Q

Full-screen View

⌘ F


⌘ X (only with clips in timeline and in Story Editor for Alpha1)


⌘ C (only with clips in timeline and in Story Editor for Alpha1)


⌘ V (only with clips in timeline and in Story Editor for Alpha1)


⌘ H



Select All

⌘ A

Add to Selection

⇧ + click or drag box

Select Multiple

⌘ + click


↩ (fields in Inspector confirm automatically)


⎋ Esc


⌘ ,

Top Menu

Below is a handy table of the top menu items with descriptions and shortcuts.



About Pretend

Software version & copyright info.

Pretend Preferences

General and other prefs. See the Preference section for full list.

⌘ ,

Hide Pretend

Hides Pretend.

⌘ H

Hide Others

Hides all windows except the Pretend window.

⌥ ⌘ H

Quit Pretend

Pretend goes bye-bye.

⌘ Q




Makes a new Pretend project.

⌘ N


Open an existing Pretend project from the file browser.

⌘ O

Open Recent

Open from a list of recent projects. "Clear Menu" removes all recent projects from the list.

Import... > Media...

Loads media files from a browser into the library under the selected group.

Import... > EDL/XML...

Loads an EML (CMX 3600 format) or XML cut list into the timeline.

Import... > Screenplay...

Loads an existing Fountain-format screenplay into Pretend as a new screenplay in your project under a new show.

Export... > Export Selection...

Brings up an Export window to output all or a part of the rendered project. See Export section for full description.

⌘ E

Export... > Fountain Screenplay...

Brings up an finder window to export a Fountain file of your currently selected Show's screenplay.

⌘ E

Export... > Export XML...

Brings up an finder window to export a Final Cut Pro X XML file. Transfers are approximate and some features like animation and color correction are not supported. Use as a base starting point.

⌘ E


Close the current project.

⌘ W


Opens a file browser to save the current project.

⌘ S


Copies the current project.

↩ + ⌘ + S


Renames the current project.

Move to...

Moves the project to a new location in the file system.

Revert to

Reopens the last saved, last opened or opens a file browser to pick another version.

Reconnect Media...

Opens the Reconnect Media panel. Use this if you still have any missing media that needs to be reconnected to the project. Otherwise, it is inactive if no media is missing.




Undo the last action.

⌘ Z

Undo Closed Tab

Restores the last closed tab as open.

↩ + ⌘ + T


Redo the last action.

↩ + ⌘ + Z


Cuts the selected item.

⌘ + X


Copies the selected item.

⌘ + C


Pastes the selected item.

⌘ + V


Removes the current selection.

Select All

Selects all in the current location.

⌘ + A


Search in the current location.

⌘ + F



Show Tab Bar

Toggle top tab bar for project windows. You can move between different projects in one window.

Hide > Player

Toggle to show/hide the Player.

⌥ + ⌘ + 1

Hide > Timeline

Toggle to show/hide the Timeline.

⌥ + ⌘ + 2

Hide > Library

Toggle to show/hide the Library.

⌥ + ⌘ + 3

Hide > Inspector

Toggle to show/hide the Inspector.

⌥ + ⌘ + 4

Enable Scrubbing

Toggle to scrub in the timeline.

Hide > Story Editor

Toggle to show/hide the Story Editor.

Hide > Project Window

Toggle to show/hide the Project Window.

Reset Default Layout

Return to default window layout.

Enter Full Screen

Enlarge the window to full screen. Hit Esc to return.




Minimizes the active window.

⌘ M


Zooms the active window to fill the screen. Choose again to revert to previous window size.

Show Previous Tab

Show the previous tab if you have multiple project tabs.

⌃ + ⇧ + ⇥

Show Next Tab

Show the next tab if you have multiple project tabs.

⇧ + ⇥

Move Tab to New Window

Opens the current project tab in a new window.

Merge All Windows

Merges all open project windows into one window with tabs.

Bring All to Front

Brings all Pretend windows to the front.

Project Browser

Opens the Project Browser. You normally see this window when starting Pretend.

Windows Currently Open

Shows a list of currently open Pretend windows. Select one to bring to front.



Pretend User Guide

Opens the Pretend User Guide in the default web browser.

Contact Us

Opens a new email to Pretend Support. Let us know if have any suggestions or run into a bug.


General Preferences

Timecode Start

Sets the starting timecode.

Time Display

Choose Timecode (default), Seconds or Frames.

Still Images

Set the default still image length in seconds or frames.


Set the default transition length in seconds or frames.

Sparse View

When checked, displays fewer buttons on the screen unless the cursor is nearby.

Use highest rated or 1st clip in when adding shot to timeline

When checked, dragging a shot into the timeline will automatically add a clip if one is found in the shot in the library. This is to speed up shot setup. It will take the highest rated visual clip, or if nothing is rated, the first clip added to the shot.

Lock Library Assets

When checked, locks assets in the library, such as video, audio and image files, so they cannot be modified with FX controls. If you uncheck, you can change color, transforms and other FX controls on the library asset. Any FX changes in the timeline will be on top of the library changes, so be aware of this when modifying. Also note that you can't change the source file of the asset when this is locked.

Show Welcome Screen at startup

Checkbox to show the Welcome Screen.

Story Editor Preferences

Font Family

Choose between Andale Mono, Courier (default), Courier New, Menlo, and Monaco for the screenplay font.

Font Size

Choose a font size 9-18 (default is 12).

Scene Headers

To more easily spot scenes, you can make all scene headers bold or underlined. Choose Double-Spaced to have two blank lines before all scene headers.

Appendix A

Prores codec supported in both input and output with Final Cut Pro, Final Cut X, and/or Motion installed. In order for Pretend to list ProRes444 and ProRes422 codecs as compress options in output, the ProApps QuickTime Codecs must be installed (manually) in addition to Motion/Final Cut Pro and/or Final Cut X.

License Acknowledgement

In addition to names listed below, any other names of other companies or products mentioned in the Pretend User Guide (including, but not limited to, those listed below) are the trademarks or service marks, or registered trademarks or service marks, of their respective owners. No association between their respective companies and Pretend LLC is inferred by their use.

RED® and R3D® are trademarks of, Inc.

Adobe® and Photoshop® are trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated.

Mac®, Mac OS®, Final Cut Pro® and QuickTime® are trademarks of Apple, Inc.

Highland® is a trademark of The Quote-Unquote Company.

Pretend Assistant

Send photos and videos directly from your iPhone to your Pretend project on the Mac desktop.

See a great location? Send a picture directly to the scene in your show. Or send story board drawings directly to the shot to see how it plays. Or record a video of a walk-through for a scene and add it remotely to the right scene in your desktop app. PA is perfect for working remotely and staying organized with your reference material.

Pretend Assistant lets you send pictures and videos directly to specific parts of your story on the Pretend Mac desktop app. Pick a scene or shot from your Pretend project, select a photo on your iPhone, and add it to your iCloud account. The Sync iCloud button highlights to show you have items ready to be imported into your project on your Mac desktop. Hit the cloud button to see a popup listing the items to be added. When you select OK, the media items are automatically placed in the correct story groups.

Download and open the app.

Download the Pretend Assistant app from the App Store, then tap to open (the app is labeled "PA").

Hit the "Get Started" button on the start page.

Navigating the story tree and adding media.

Now you are in the Library (highlighted in blue on the bottom bar) with your projects from the Pretend desktop app displayed. An instruction appears the first time you open it.

You can delete a project from iCloud by swiping left on the project name to reveal a red delete button. Tap Delete to remove the project. Note the project is still on your desktop Pretend app, you've just removed it from the iOS app and iCloud

To reload a deleted project back into iCloud and see it in the iOS app, just re-open the project on the desktop app. Every time you make a change in the desktop project, it updates in iCloud.

You can tap on a story group name (such as the show, scene or shot name) to choose it as the destination.

However, here we want to drill down to a shot so we can send a story board picture. Tap the blue ">" button to the right of "BAD_BIRDS Project".

This opens the show level below. The only show here is the "Bad Birds" show.

To go back up a level, hit the back button (<) at the upper left above the current story group level name.

We want to continue drilling down so tap the blue ">" button to open the first scene.

Now we're on the shot level. Note that since it is the last story group level, there's no blue ">" button to the side.

Tap on the shot name to select it.

Now you're taken to the Media page. This will display the photo library on your phone. An instruction pops up the first time you open it (not shown here).

Note the breadcrumb above the bottom bar showing the destination for the selected items.

Tap to see the image full screen if the thumbnails are too small.

Press "Select" in the upper right so you can pick your pictures. Tap "Cancel" where "Select" was in the upper right to abort.

Tap each thumbnail to select it. Tap again to deselect.

Hit the "Add 2 Items" button at the bottom left to add the items to the selected story group.

You are taken back the library where you can see a red circle showing 2 items. Tap the red circle to look at the items being sent to the project through iCloud.

Edit an item.

Here we are in another shot group, viewing an added storyboard item. Tap the image to edit it.

On the edit page, you can change the name, rating, and add a note.

Tap the image to see it full screen.

When you're finished, hit the back button.

Sync with your project on the desktop.

Now lets go to the Pretend app on your desktop. Note iCloud Sync button at the bottom bar below the library. It may be an empty cloud outline while your items are loading into iCloud.

When the iCloud icon is filled with a bright blue, you have items to download from iCloud. Tap the iCloud button to open a popup. Uncheck the checkbox of items you don't want to add, then hit Import.

To remove items from iCloud that you don't want, check those items and hit the "Remove from iCloud" button on the bottom left.

The default location for the items on your local drive is under your Movie folder but you can change it by clicking the folder on the right of the Download Location path or typing in your own folder path.

After you hit Import, you can see the imported items under the respective story groups in your project.

Send a picture or video directly from the camera.

You can also snap an image or video with your iPhone camera. Tap the Camera icon at the right of the bottom bar in the PA app.

You see your destination story group in the breadcrumb. After taking the picture, hit Use Photo to add it or Retake to try again.

Go to the desktop and tap the highlit iCloud button to see the Import popup.

Tap Import and see that it has been added.

Gathering reference material for a Lookbook

You can add to any group, not just story groups, such as a lookbook for reference materials.

Tap the Lookbook group. This is a separate group used as a folder to hold reference material. You could have subgroups under "Lookbook" for cast, locations, or whatever you like.

You are taken to the media page where you can tap to view fullscreen or hit Select to pick items to add to the Lookbook group shown in the breadcrumb at the bottom.

Select the pictures to add, then hit the Add button at the bottom left.

When the iCloud button on the desktop lights up, click it to open the Import window. Hit the Import button to add all items or uncheck any you don't want added first. Select any you want to remove from your iCloud and hit the Remove from iCloud button.

The items are placed in the right places in your project.

Pretend Assistant is a great way to explore and add to your project anywhere you go.