Final Draft’s latest screenwriting software upgrade is a winner!
I wasn’t that impressed with the Final Draft 9 upgrade, so I was a bit skeptical when Final Draft 10 was released. I am happy to say my doubts were unjustified.
FD10 is a big improvement over FD9. As a professional screenwriter I gave it a real-world test drive by writing a few TV scripts with it and I found it easier to use and time-saving.
Listed in italics, below, are the main improvements as advertised:
"Total freedom to organize your ideas as they come to you completely within your .fdx file."
I love this addition. The Beat Board adds a big missing step into the Final Draft screenplay development process. I have always been a big fan of getting a bird’s-eye-view while developing my stories and the Beat Board makes this very easy. You can create easily viewable, moveable and editable boxes with plot points, scenes and notes that really help give you the control that only a bird’s-eye-view can.
"High-level view of your story that allows you to easily preview and navigate to scenes."
Story Mapping enhances the Beat Board by allowing you to link the Beat Board boxes to your script so you can easily go back and forth as you develop story and move into the script stage.
"Work on your script remotely in real time with your writing partner(s)."
Alas, I am one of those lonely writers who never works with a partner, so I haven’t had the opportunity to use Collaboration. But if you live in Hollywood and your writing partner lives in Sidney, Collaboration is a very handy tool that allows for two or more writers to work on the script in real time.
"Store alternate lines of dialogue within the script for easy reference."
This is a great one if you often come up with various lines of dialogue for the same speech. Just click on the icon to view your alt. dialogue. A great tool if you write in two or more languages. Because the alt dialogue is hidden it doesn't alter the apparent length of the script as it does when you just write alt dialogue one speech after the other.
"Create your screenplay's structure within your .fdx file using Structure Points."
Structure Points allow you to link your Beat Board boxes to a viewable story timeline with page numbers. This further helps organize your beats and allows you to place them in the correct position in your script.
Header & Footer Improvements
"Add file names to your Header & Footer automatically."
Final Draft has extensive header/footer capabilities that are great if you write production scripts and need to identify the various drafts and draft colors. Whereas you used to have to type your script title into the header, now, if you name your script document with the title of the script, you can automatically insert it into the header by just adding the Script Name field.
Scene Numbering & Revision Menu Options
"New and improved scene numbering options in line with industry standards, plus enhanced revision tracking."
And a Whole Lot More...
One of the things not mentioned in FD10’s promo is the improvements they’ve made to the Quick Access Toolbar. This is the customizable upper strip on the main program screen. The Quick Access Toolbar allows you to add your own selection of menu icons so they are always visible and can be activated with one click. Whereas some of the most useable menu items were not available in FD9, now virtually everything is available.
For instance, I often want to capitalize text that I’ve already written, such as character names or vital elements of scenes that I want to stand out. I used to have highlight the text, right-click on it, then search the fly-out menu for Styles, left-click that, then search the next fly-out for All Caps, then click on that. Now all I have to do after highlighting the text is click the All Caps icon. Bingo!
I also often wanted to change the color of text so that certain things would stand out while I was writing, such as scenes that needed fixing. In FD9 I had to click on Format, then click on Font, then click on the color. FD10 now has a Quick Access icon with a color fly-out that makes it much faster. Click-click!
These are just two examples of the new Quick Access icons that speed up writing. There are many more.
FD10 also has a handy new tool that allows you to search and replace character names throughout the script and everywhere else. Where is “everywhere else”? Well, one of the most useful elements of Final Draft is the Navigator Pane. It allows you to see your script as short line descriptions that can be clicked on to take you anywhere in the script you want to go. But one of the things that always bothered me about FD9 was that you might have fifty instances of your character’s name in the Navigator, which meant that if you changed that character’s name you had to go into every line of the Navigator and manually change it. Now all you do is a global character name change and Voila! It’s all done.
There are more improvements to FD10, but nowhere near enough space and time in this blog to list them all. Suffice it to say that if you are a Final Draft user this is a very valuable upgrade which I highly recommend.
To find out more about the product and/or purchase it go to the Final Draft site, here.
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