Talking Draft

Rod with his trusty dictaphone machine

Rod Serling was an award winning screenwriter, playwright and TV producer who massively shaped the early years of TV. He penned scripts for Kraft Theatre, Studio One, The U.S. Steel Hour, Playhouse 90, and 12 feature films. Most famously, Serling wrote 92 Twilight Zone episodes and 36 scripts for his TV series Night Gallery. This staggering output was aided by his dedicated use of The Talking Draft Method.

The Rod Serling Collection

Rod Serling recorded his scenes on 1,152 dictabelts which are now in The Rod Serling Collection finally getting the digital preservation they need. 


According to the Rod Serling Memorial Foundation, the writer began dictating scripts early in his television career to save time. The Foundation, which has been administered by his family since his death at age 50, suggests that his use of The Talking Draft Method greatly “influenced his writing and his mastery of dialogue.”

Rod Serling doing a “Talking Draft”

Researchers the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theatre Research where Serling’s tapes are being digitized have listened to his dictabelts to find that the writer not only dictated the dialogue without speaker notes (eg. “How are you? / Quite bad. / Can I help?”) but Serling also seamlessly included action lines containing scene descriptions and character descriptions. This approach remains the core of the Talking Draft Method.


For decades, dictaphone machines were used by politicians, business executives, doctors, screenwriters, and others to record correspondence, notes, and drafts of screenplays. They or their assistants would then listen and type up the tapes for review.

President Kennedy technology
President Kennedy dictating correspondence
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Agatha Christie dictating one of her novels

Often, documents would be reformatted and revised again. Even with all those post-recording steps, the dictaphone speech-to-text process was FAST. And for screenwriters it was especially useful. 

Rod Serling’s use of the Talking Draft Method made his prolific output (hundreds of scripts) legendary in his own time. Serling was able to remain in a creative flowstate for the runtime of his stories, and in one sitting produce a first draft. This is surely a huge factor in his enviable accomplishment of 100+ produced scripts before age 50.

Today, has cut down to one easy step all of those post-recording steps which have long bothered Hollywood production assistants. We are the only way to automate the time-tested and time-saving screenwriting method which was proudly used by one of the greatest writers to ever work the craft.

With, rather than have your transcribed text get painstakingly reformatted by hand later, you format it as you improv your scene… A.I. does the rest. We have also automated beatsheet generation with our free beatsheet calculator which we call our ScriptOutliner. Simply fill up your outline with scenes and then “Talk your Draft.”

Rod Serling in the creative flow

The Talking Draft Method has been the fastest way to produce a first draft since its invention in 1936. This method is an inspired use of technology to capture the power of the creative flowstate, which in the hands of a master storyteller like Rod Serling, is the key to generating a mountainous legacy of classic hits.

If you’re a screenwriter or playwright, try The Method today for free.

Join our beta and enjoy Talking Draft for fREE.

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