Final Draft Version 8
- Final Draft 8 combines powerful word processing with professional script formatting in one self-contained,
- Easy-to-use package specifically designed for writing movie scripts, television episodics and stage plays
- Television show, screenplay, stage play and graphic novel templates are included to help get you started
- Have your script read back to you by assigning different male and female voices to each of your characters with text-to-speech
- New XML file format for compatibility with a wide variety of other products
- No need to learn about script formatting rules. Final Draft automatically paginates and formats your script to industry standards as you write
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Final Draft version 8 Prof scriptwriting software
Use your creative energy to focus on the content; let Final Draft take care of the style. Final Draft is the number-one selling application specifically designed for writing movie scripts, television episodics and stage plays.
It combines powerful word processing with professional script formatting in one self-contained, easy-to-use package. There is no need to learn about script formatting rules--Final Draft automatically paginates and formats your script to industry standards as you write.
Its ease-of-use and time-saving features have attracted writers for almost two decades positioning Final Draft as the Professional Screenwriters Choice. Final Draft power users include Academy, Emmy and BAFTA award winning writers like Oliver Stone, Tom Hanks, Alan Ball, J.J. Abrams, James Cameron and more.
New in Final Draft Version 8
- Scene Navigator
Manage and view all the important details of your scene in this sortable floating palette
- Page Count Management
Now you have even more control about what fits on a page
- File Format (now XML)
Outline your script ideas in story development software and seamlessly read them into version 8
- Scene Properties Inspector (SPI)
Add scene titles and colors to track your story lines, characters, etc.
- Scene View
Outline your script ideas and re-order scenes in this high-level overview
- Remember Workspace
No more searching for the correct draft you were just working on
Story Development Features
With the Scene View you can look at your script from a 5,000 foot view and select, drag and drop one or more scenes to reorganize your ideas as you outline. Insert new scenes easily, and hide or show information important to you such as the scene's action, title and summary. Scene View also displays a scene's color so you can quickly identify one scene from another. Print your Scene View or just view it alongside the script. With a double-click you can sync the script to instantly go to any scene you've selected in Scene View.
Manage the pace and flow of your story and keep track of up to 9 categories of information related to your scenes. The Scene Navigator is a sortable, customizable floating palette that displays details about your script such as a scene's title, color, page number, length and location, and best of all it syncs with the script with a single-click. As your script progresses you can pick and choose the columns of information that are relevant for that phase of writing.
Scene Properties Inspector (SPI)
Track data specific to each scene in this new floating palette such as the scene's story beats that will eventually make up the Action, Characters and Dialog of the scene. Add and edit your scene's title such as 'Villain introduced', and add color to the scene to help you track things like storylines, character arcs, and material you need to get back to later. Like the Navigator, the SPI will display the details of whatever scene you're working on in your script so that you have your summary notes handy as you need them.
This improved feature has double-sided cards that display the script's scene on one side and the summary on the other. The Summary View allows you to enter ideas directly into the index card such as your basic outline, notes, sequence or act markers, comments, locations, blocking... anything you need to build and organize your story. You can also color your Index Cards to help organize themes, character arcs, A and B stories, etc. Select and rearrange multiple cards at once if you need to re-order your scenes or print your Index Cards directly on 3x5 or 4x6 cards for use in the 'traditional' way if you want to visualize and organize scenes outside of the application. Double-clicking on a card in Split Panel View will automatically sync the scene selected with your script.
File Format (now XML)
Final Draft version 8, has a new file format that we have shared with a number of technology partners to make the writer's overall experience better. Now you can save to the new Final Draf't file format in a variety of products. Your information can then be opened directly in Final Draft with perfect format and structure. No more reformatting in Final Draft and no more re-typing or lost information!
Final Draft Testimonials
"My entire writing staff uses Final Draft. Even if you don't own a computer, I recommend buying Final Draft."
What do other Hollywood professionals have to say about Final Draft? View testimonials (PDF format).
The Panels System
Like most writers, you probably need to keep a lot of ideas at the front of your mind while you're writing. With the Panels System, you can split your screen into separate panels and view your script pages in one panel while you view another section of the script, your Index Cards or Scene View in the other panel. With the Panels System you can compare two scenes' dialog and pacing side by side even though they may be separated by a vast number of pages. If you want an overview of each scene, use the Index Cards or Scene View on one side and the script in the other. A double-click in any scene will keep the panels in sync.
Television show, screenplay, stage play and graphic novel templates are included to help get you started. Looking for an old series no longer on the air? The Final Draft Online Template Library is updated regularly and allows registered users to download additional templates directly from finaldraft.com.
Page Count Management
Our new Leading Style in version 8 allows you to adjust the spacing of the entire script or you can select individual sections of text and adjust their spacing to help manage your page count
Built-in Spell-Checking and Thesaurus
The vastly improved spell-checking engine comes with English (US) and a built-in thesaurus plus the option to install one of 15 additional language spell-checkers and thesauri. The application provides real time auto-spell check, catches capitalization errors and will assist you in finding synonyms. With definitions for 80,000 plus words from Merriam-Webster and a full thesaurus, you have all the tools at your fingertips. In addition, all the words you added to your user dictionary from version 7 will automatically populate your user dictionary when you install version 8.
It's important if you are working among multiple drafts to make sure that you are editing the correct one. With the new Workspace preference, you can have Final Draft open all the files you had open, in the order you were working on them, the last time you worked in Final Draft.
Final Draft Courier Font
Having a consistent page count that production companies and studios can depend on to help them estimate their budgets is crucial when working on a script. That's why Final Draft offers its own font that will ensure proper pagination on both Windows and Macintosh. With version 8 we have made the font easier on the eye so you can better endure when you're writing for long periods of time.
Printing and PDF Options
Now, not only can you print your script in its entirety, you can choose which sets of revisions you want to print and you can print other views such as the Scene View and Index Cards. We've added the ability for you to print directly on 3x4 or 4x6 index cards and print your script directly to PDF so you can decide whether to send a full script or subset of pages to someone via PDF. The Title Page is also conveniently available as an option to include in your PDF or printed output.
Use the Statistics Report to check how much content you've completed in a writing session to help you manage your writing goals. You can also track things such as your ratio of Action to Dialog and whether there may be some unnecessary profanity in your script if you're attempting to 'clean it up.'
These effective pop-up windows hold your ideas, suggestions or scene fragments that you've cut but don't want to toss without taking up space onscreen. Use ScriptNotes to provide feedback on a particular scene when reviewing your partner's script or print your ScriptNotes as a report for easy reference when reviewing your script.
Tab and Enter functions
You can install and start using Final Draft within minutes due to the easy-to-use Tab and Enter functionality that helps format all of the various types of script elements to Industry Standards.
Compare two drafts of the same script (.fdr or .fdx) and Final Draft will highlight any changes, allowing you to easily see the differences from one file to the next.
Text to Speech
Have your script read back to you by assigning different male and female voices to each of your characters. You can even assign a narrator for action and other non-dialog script elements. Powered by the text-to-speech engines built-in to Windows and Mac OS -- it's like having a live script reading in your computer.
Write, edit and discuss a script with other Final Draft users in real time, over the internet, anywhere in the world. You can transfer 'control' back and forth between individuals so that one person makes changes at a time, ensuring that information isn't lost during rewrites.
This useful tool checks your script for common formatting errors, such as missing dialogue, extra spaces, carriage returns and blank elements. You can set it to run every time you print or only when you want it to.
Final Draft scripts are identical on both Windows and Macintosh platforms and can easily be exchanged between both.
Final Draft is a preferred file format and the only scriptwriting software with an authorized agreement with the WGAW online registry service.
Final Draft Tagger 2
This updated stand-alone application reads any Final Draft script and enables you to "tag" elements within the script [cast, costumes, props, etc.] and export the results into most scheduling applications. Tagger allows you to select text from the script and add any element with a click of the mouse in any category for that scene--or for any or all scenes where that element appears. The element text is highlighted and color coded, and can be customized to suit the way you like to work. Created with the help of veteran Assistant Directors, Producers and Unit Production Managers, Tagger means no more going over a paper script again and again with highlighters.
From the ability to omit scenes, lock pages and A-pages as well as set your revision colors, version 8 provides you all the tools you'll need to take your script through production. With version 8, we've created a new feature that will automatically track the page header's revision color so you can issue one set of revisions or all of them as needed. Merging pages that have been cut once a script is locked is also a snap. With new how-to tutorials, you have step-by-step instructions on how to merge pages without affecting your overall page count. Final Draft also includes standard revision colors in each film and television template.
Title Page, Cast Pages and Locations Pages
All of the Final Draft Television Templates come pre-set with easy-to-use information for each series such as the specific cast list and typical sets/locations. Our Standard One-Hour and Half-Hour Templates will also help you get started on pilots by providing what information should appear in the finished product. The added bonus is that the Title Page uses its own numbering for tracking the following pages so it won't add to your overall page count.
Final Draft offers seven different reports to give you quick facts about your script. The Scene Report, for example, provides a snapshot of the scene's length, cast, starting page number and location. The Location Report will inform you how often a location is used and will group the scenes by INT/EXT. The Character Report includes an 'appearance summary' so you know how frequently one character speaks, versus the other characters, as well as the total word count for the character. Use the ScriptNotes Report to get a quick scan of all the notes in your script based on each scene and page. The Statistics Report will allow you to track daily writing goals by displaying how many words you've written along with details on the types of elements you used and what percentage of the script they make up. Need to cast your characters? You can instantly create then print or email Character Sides for any speaking parts in your script.
Top customer reviews
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I fall into the latter category.
(Although I envy beginners their enthusiasm for formatting and begrudge them none of their excitement at entering the world of screenwriting -- that phase doesn't last more than a few months.)
If you're a professional screenwriter, especially for TV, then you pretty much have to use this program until someone comes out with something better that fulfills all the professional requirements needed by TV and film production companies. Sad, but true. Sad because, since this is a business of art, it would be nice to have a really elegant program upon which to ply said art. But FD gets the job done.
Final Draft support has been spotty over the last fifteen years I've been using it. Sometimes good, frequently not. They are quite a small company, and management has not always been... "people-oriented," shall we say? Many a show (I work mostly in TV) has suffered through innumerable glitches and crashes over the years, and there are still -- even at version 8 -- some oddly persistent problems:
-- nonstandard Mac interface (for example, pressing the Command and the , keys simultaneously should select Preferences like every other Mac program. It does not.)
-- still has many pagination bugs.
-- still has display issues that corrupt the display of the script occasionally.
-- nonintuitive interface that feels rather Windows 95 instead of Mac OS X.
-- bugs in the Revision Mode presets.
-- inability to set certain defaults in a new script, such as making Character Name follow Dialogue automatically. Instead, you must reset this every time you make a new script. For some reason, the programmers think an action line follows every piece of dialogue in every script.
-- company resources spent making useless features like speaking your script out loud and using index cards instead of fixing bugs.
-- thesaurus is barebones.
-- the "feature" called CollaboWriter that supposedly lets you collaborate online with a distant partner is nonfunctional. It has never worked in the real world. BTW, it doesn't work on Movie Magic Screenwriter, either. Do a google search and you will find that not one single reviewer or user has ever managed to get this "feature" to work. So, how they can advertise that their program has this function is beyond me. (I would LOVE to be proven wrong on this, as it would be extremely useful.)
EDIT: A colleague just showed me how to collaborate over the internet: use Skype! Do a video call, and then check the little box that says "share screen," and your partner can see your entire screen as you type! This is awesome and works very well.
-- since many writers are still using version 6 (or if they're unlucky, 7, which you should avoid at all costs) it would be nice to make a default "save" so that you could automatically save as an .fdr file instead of .fdx. It would also be nice to have a default zoom level and window positioning on the screen.
They are a small company, and they don't sell millions of copies of this software, so I think they make the bulk of their money by selling upgrades to new versions. They're not making enough to have a big customer service department, and the quality of that service has gone up and down over the years.
I pointed out a few bugs in the latest version (8x), and the head of the company told me, and I quote: "Yeah, we're not fixing those." He didn't even have the decency to lie to me and say he'd address in in a future incremental upgrade! You know, in Hollywood, when you don't care enough to lie -- that's bad news. He also made on odd confession to me. He said "You know, we don't sell nearly as many copies of this as people think we do." Hmmm...that explains a lot.
Anyway, version 8 for Mac works pretty well these days and I've had none of the fatal crashes and bugs of yesteryear.
I wish they would fix the online collaboration feature, but I don't know if they can since it would require resources they probably don't have. It seems oddly primitive that the only way to collaborate long distance is to save a file, email it, then repeat that process over and over. In these days of facebook and online chatting, we've gotten quite spoiled and you can't blame us wretched writers for wanting to see remotely what a writing partner is typing on the screen. But this is hardly an essential feature.
And you also can't blame us for holding residual grudges for all the times we've gotten burned in the past by this program. Writing is damned difficult, and when the actual software gets in the way, it's a ready target for our frustrations that may be stemming from the writing process itself.
Anyway, if you're a professional, you have to use this and you already know it. No matter what any review says. (Unless you don't need compatibility with a production company). If you're not a professional yet, but you really want to be someday, you may as well learn its quirks now. That way you can suffer along with the rest of us.
Bottom line: it works. It ain't elegant, but it works and it's solid these days -- I haven't had a crash in several years. (I've had pagination bugs and corrupted scripts but no crashes. Which reminds me -- SAVE your script after every few lines. Command-S on the Mac. I do it like breathing now because otherwise sadness will occur when files are damaged. Which is rare -- but it happens.) When they update the interface and address current bugs, I'll upgrade my review to 5 stars. But for now, they get 3. They lose stars for 10 years of frustration and failing to address current bugs. But they gain some for finally being stable, otherwise I'd give them a one.
Footnote: I'm writing this review as a professional screenwriter, for better or worse. For those just starting or contemplating starting a writing career, software is the least of your concerns. Don't obsess about it. No software in the world is going to make you a writer. No book is going to make you a writer. Go get celtx, a free screenwriting program and see how you like this writing thing. If you love writing and like your work, then go buy FD. It's a decent enough plow. Here's the best screenwriting advice I can give you: find your own voice. Don't try to fit in. Be original. You'll feel better and get hired more and be rewarded by the industry. (Unless you want to be a TV hack and turn out CSI episodes, then please suppress any originality. On the upside, the check from CSI will always clear and you'll have a very nice car.)
You cannot go wrong with Final Draft if you are serious about filmmaking or about writing for screen, television, or stage. The program is easy to use, and it is flexible. You can get started quickly, and you can easily redefine the settings for the standard styles ("elements") like Character, Dialogue, and Action. You can also add your own paragraph styles to use in addition to the standard ones that film uses. For example, for stage plays I use a couple of paragraph styles that are not part of the standard templates, but that is no problem. I just add the styles and save the whole thing as a template that I can use for any future scripts that need those additional styles.
Is Final Draft perfect? No, but it works very well, and it provides a fun experience. I have never enjoyed any scriptwriting as much as I did my work on an updated stage version of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" with Final Draft 5 ... and Final Draft has grown a lot since those days.
I have been using computers for writing since 1985, and I am an amateur programmer. Undoubtedly I have an easier time with software applications than the average user, but even I find some programs intimidating and confusing. Not so with Final Draft, which has a friendly interface. As you would expect with a dedicated screenwriting program, Final Draft keeps up with Mores and Continueds and reformats your pages as needed to insert MORE and CONT'D. It also has many other automated features that help your work to move along quickly.
The Reports feature is very nice. You can produce many helpful reports about your script, and you can organize a list of scenes according to things like location and day/night. The Reports feature is truly impressive. Even if you do not work in production, it is fun to generate reports to see various lists and data about your script.
I recommend Final Draft without hesitation if you want the best scriptwriting software available.
A couple of hours with this program and you can start putting screenplays together as though you were typing a letter in Word. If you already have an idea of what you're doing, this takes the drudgery out. If you're new, you can learn a lot --- fast --- while you're actually accomplishing things.
Set up your own keyboard shortcuts and you can just keep typing, without worrying about format errors. I've submitted a few screenplays, and each have been bang-on. Well, in format. I need to sell one. ;) [Agents, please?]
You get two licensed installations, which is handy for desk and lap. If a machine burns down, you can have the licensed copy un-installed, and set up a new one.
I gather from a friend with 7 that this is a vast improvement.