After skipping the Cannes Film Festival for several years, screenwriting software developer Final Draft returns in 2010 in a big way.
The Calabasas company will use the international festival to announce a new version of its popular program used by professional and amateur film and television writers the world over.
Final Draft Connect will go beyond what is now offered in Version 8 in that it allows for simultaneous collaboration between writers and stores every version of the document for future use, said Final Draft founder and President Marc Madnick.
In the past, the company has played it close to the vest in giving advance information about updated versions but this time Madnick wanted to get an early buzz going about the software, set for release in 2011.
“I do not want to sit on this,” Madnick said. “The user base is excited about this and that gets me excited.”
The improvements made to the software are just a natural progression the company has always followed with each version since Madnick and a roommate wrote the first one in 1991.
But an odd thing began to happen in focus groups with writers: they were suggesting the very changes the company was already pursuing. It was the first time Madnick had seen that happen.
“It was a perfect match,” he added. We were wanting and desiring to go to a new level and the customer base was looking for that exact same thing,”
The Final Draft engineering department will design and develop the new software. The engineering team has long been with the company so there is no learning curve, Madnick said.
Details are still being worked out to make Final Draft Connect available for portable devices.
The company’s announcement is scheduled for May 13 at the booth it will share with MovieSoft, a reseller of film and TV production software.
While at Cannes, Final Draft will make upgrades available for version 8 of its software, sponsor scriptwriting workshops for festival attendees, and sponsor the Emerging Filmmakers Showcase at the American Pavilion and award its software to filmmakers of the program’s top 12 films.