Do you have a screen play rolling about in your head? I’m in the process of the 10th, 12th, 20th revision (lost count) of an animated film script this weekend. If you’re feeling the urge to make a dream come true I can offer one piece of advice – start with scriptwriting software like Final Draft.
Some years back I saw Final Draft at an NAB show in Las Vegas. They had both a film version and a two column package most often used for video scripts. We had our own two column script style customized from Word so we passed on the AV version.
I didn’t give Final Draft another thought until a friend and I started the process of writing an animated film. Electronic files were passed back and forth, back and forth, back and forth—and soon we realized the long paper trail of revisions was killing off our creative time. (Word processing programs don’t easily format scripts to Hollywood’s industry standards.)
Enter Final Draft to our writing team. (Note, if you’re co-writing you’ll need to buy your own software. Cost is about $250.) If you’re a student you can get a discount. You can download a version or buy the package. Both come with a DVD produced by a successful screenwriter. We found it to be a bit slow moving at times but the info was generally good.
Final Draft is in its 20th year and we have the 8th and latest version. One thing we appreciate most, besides the formatting, is the index cards function. It keeps all the ideas right at the appropriate scenes. No sticky notes hanging all over the office. Another time saver is the memory function, like a cell phone it remembers the character names. Type a couple letters and the words pops on screen.
Exchanging scripts is so easy now. Formatting stays set. Changes are easy to show and both writers can work off the same document. It has a high level overview of all the scenes and easy functions to switch scenes. It also tells us the percentage of script time for each character. At one point, one of our lesser characters took over the main character! A huge goof easily caught by Final Draft.
So get going on your dream script! Make it Hollywood ready to read or risk losing your big chance. Doing the correct formatting shows you’re a serious screen writer. Also be sure to look on-line for movie script samples that match your genre. Before writing our animated script it helped to look at the construction and character development of scripts from movies like Shrek, Ants, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
I’ve only scratched the surface of Final Draft. Main thing is the program is user friendly and you can start writing almost immediately! http://www.finaldraft.com/index.php