If you want to write a screenplay, you don’t want to waste your time customizing an ordinary word processor like Microsoft Word or Pages. While you can do this, it’s clumsy and makes writing harder. Instead, get a dedicated screenwriting word processor.
In the past, Final Draft has been the Hollywood standard because so many studios rely on its file format. Although rival screenwriting word processors can easily import and export Final Draft files, many Hollywood studios still rely on Final Draft. Yet for years, Final Draft was far more expensive than its many competitors with the exception of Movie Magic Screenwriter, which costs as much as Final Draft.
That meant for novice screenwriters, it was usually cheaper to buy and use a rival screenwriting word processor than buy Final Draft or its main rival, Movie Magic Screenwriter. That’s still the case today, but Final Draft 10 offers three major new features that may make the price of Final Draft 10 worth the investment.
First, Final Draft 10 offers a new Beat Board that acts like a cork bulletin board for storing and rearranging ideas. The Beat Board makes it easy to plot and structure your story before you start writing then actual screenplay. One huge problem with any screenwriting word processor is that people often start writing without any clear plan or structure. The end result is almost always a complete mess.
By using Final Draft 10’s Beat Board, you can color code ideas and structure your thoughts before you start writing. When you’re ready to start writing, you can refer to your ideas on the Beat Board. The Beat Board alone makes Final Draft 10 a must-have upgrade from any earlier versions of Final Draft.
A second new feature of Final Draft 10 is the ability to store alternate lines of dialogue in a script. This lets you store multiple versions of dialogue and quickly switch out text until you find the exact right words you want to use. Although the ability to store and view alternate lines of dialogue might seem trivial, it’s still a useful feature that you can’t truly acknowledge until you try it for yourself.
Without this alternate dialogue feature, you’d have to store alternate dialogue versions as a note or even in a separate program. The switching between different dialogue versions was cumbersome. Final Draft 10 makes switching alternate dialogue a simple and easy process.
If you work with a partner, the greatest feature of Final Draft 10 is the ability to collaborate in real-time over the Internet. Unlike Google Docs that allows multiple people to edit a document simultaneously, Final Draft 10’s collaboration feature only lets one person at a time edit a script. However, whoever has editing control can always pass that control to another person so it’s possible to have two or more people collaborating on the same screenplay although only one person can edit it at a time.
Final Drat 10’s collaboration feature is a huge time-saver since you can work in real-time and send text messages back and forth. For greater flexibility, you can also use a voice calling program like Skype so you can chat as you collaborate.
So Final Draft 10’s three greatest new features include:
- The Beat Board for organizing your ideas like placing index cards on a bulletin board
- The alternate dialogue feature for swapping different lines of dialogue in a screenplay
- The real-time collaboration feature that lets multiple writers work on the same file over the Internet
If you’re just a solitary writer, the Beat Board and alternate dialogue features may be most useful to you, which are features that rival screenwriting word processors may not offer. If you work with a partner, Final Draft 10’s real-time collaboration feature is a huge time-saver and advantage.
You may still want to investigate rival screenwriting programs because they’re much less expensive, but Final Draft 10’s features make a strong case for just using the industry standard screenwriting word processor instead.