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Fun Joel's Screenwriting Blog


-- On Screenwriting and Related Topics

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Location: Los Angeles, CA

I moved from NYC to LA in October, 2003. And though I still think NYC is the greatest city in the world, I'm truly loving life here in the City of Angels. I'm a writer, reader, and occasional picture-taker.

Monday, August 08, 2005

On Final Drafts

A brief post here, on final drafts and Final Draft.

First, only because I'm writing about Final Draft, I thought about something I saw recently that gave me a laugh. I was covering the manuscript of a new Carl Hiassen kids novel, and on the cover page, at the bottom, he had written: First Final Draft. He knew as well as anybody that it ain't the final draft until the ink has dried on the pages (or in our case, until the light has reacted on the celluloid). Funny.

Now, on to the real purpose of this post. There's been much talk abounding in the scribosphere about Final Draft versus Movie Magic Screenwriter as the preferred program for screenwriters. There have even been some interesting new programs to hit the market, such as celtx. I, however, have always used Final Draft, though I'm still using a woefully outdated version. So for a little while now I've been thinking about an upgrade.

Now I know that I could easily switch to MMS, but I'm just used to FD, and have always been pretty satisfied with it. The reason I want to upgrade is so that I can make use of some of the even better features, and also to ease collaboration. Still, the complaints that everyone has been voicing about FD7, its bugginess, and the poor tech support has gotten me somewhat worried. So I'm thinking, maybe I should just get a copy of FD6. It would still be an upgrade to what I've been using, but from what I hear, people didn't experience quite so many bugs in it.

Thoughts? Anyone know where I can get a copy of FD6, if I should decide to?

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Blogger Warren said...

I'm torn, and in fact keep switching back and forth between Movie Magic and FD with each project. I'm back to FD with this feature, and got 7.0, but it's driving me crazy! Love the notecards feature, but there are a million little things that I can't get it to do (view it at 110% instead of 100 or 125 only; view two consecutive pages at once). Moreover, it has always "dropped" lines near the end of each page for years. Why can't they figure this out!

Whoops, my comment turned into an anti-FD rant. I don't know, maybe I'll move back to Movie Magic. Have you checked out that celtx program? Know anyone that uses it? I'd love to see the duopoly destroyed.

8:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am using FD6 and love it. It has never failed me. I like what I see in MM too and used a trial version for awhile. For doing specs I didn't see much difference between them (for what I do with them). The only issue I had with MM and never followed it up was how to take out the dialogue (more) and (cont'd) brackets. I prefer to not use them and I have ti configured that way in FD. I see FD6 on ebay, but you have to read the fine print because most of them are academic version

12:03 AM  
Blogger Fun Joel said...

Sounds good. So tell me, what would be the practical difference to me if it is an academic version?

12:42 AM  
Blogger Rob Richard said...

I have an academic version of MMS - its exactly the same box. No practical difference at all. I would assume FD is the same way. I also tried celtx for a while... its was actually a fairly smooth process to write a first draft (especially considering its still in beta), but once it came time to start serious editing things fell apart fast. It isn't quite ready yet.

2:32 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

How funny, like whl, I have both and alternate. Although I'm currently working on a rewrite and decided to use FD twice in a row...

Personally, I feel like on the MAC, Final Draft (the new version 7 one) is quicker, easier and less error issues. No slowdown either.

6:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Academic is the same thing, they just discount the purchase if you can prove you are a student or a faculty member somewhere..I am currently seeing if a forged teacher certificate is cheaper on ebay than the software (smirk)

3:37 PM  
Blogger Matt Reynolds said...

I updated from Final Draft 7 to 7.1 from the website and now I've had no problems with bugs and what not. I'm keeping my fingers crossed though...

3:18 AM  
Blogger Andy Diggle said...

If you can find a copy of version 6 anywhere, buy it. Even if they have supposedly ironed out the bugs in 7, there are still various aspects of the designed functionality in 7 which really grate my cheese, such as the inability to work in Speed View mode (which I work in ALL THE TIME), and the inability to open and close the Scene Cards as a separate window (in FD7 you have to split the screen between script and scene cards using a frame, which is MASSIVELY irritating and user-unfriendly).

Short answer: suck it and see. You can always download a free trial version from www.finaldraft.com.

3:50 PM  
Blogger Mark Treitel said...

Hey, I upgraded to FD7.1.1 Build 19 on the mac. I don't have the problems that I did on version 5. Version 6 basically worked, but there was a cheap upgrade sale which I took advantage of, because eventually, it will cost more to updgrade from 7 to the eventual 9. I don't use anything more than standard script features and find it's easier to do outlines on FD than MS word. However, I do see some lines on the screen, but it doesn't affect anything. Since I haven't had any problems, I have had no need to call tech support (which happened a lot more using ver. 5). However, using version 6, I had lots of problems using the collaborwriter. I'm not sure if it works on version 7, but it didn't work so good on ver. 6.

11:33 AM  

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