Final Draft Comes to the Mac App Store
Though the screenwriter’s position in Hollywood’s food chain hasn’t changed much over the years — studio chief Jack Warner used to call them "schmucks with Underwoods" — the technology they use sure has.
Where once the lowly Hollywood scribe toiled away on a typewriter, having to face the slings and arrows of carbon paper, Liquid Paper, not to mention the intricacies of script formatting, that all changed with the introduction of the personal computer.
By the mid-1980s, software to format scripts had been introduced and suddenly, the "schmucks with computers" (as they would probably now be called if Warner were still around running a studio), had found something to make their life a little easier.
One of those programs is Final Draft (Windows/Mac), considered by many to be the flagship of screenwriting software. The people who use it reads like a Who’s Who of Hollywood: Aaron Sorkin, Alan Ball, Tom Hanks, Oliver Stone, J.J. Abrams, and James Cameron, among countless others. The numerous films and TV shows where it has been used include "Transformers," "The Dark Knight," and any of the "Lord of the Rings," "Harry Potter" and recent "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies.
It’s not just the denizens of Hollywood who use Final Draft. Ask just about anybody and they’ll admit that if they don’t have a recently completed script in their backpocket, they most certainly have an idea for a movie or TV show. Walk into any Starbucks anywhere in the world, and there is no doubt someone sitting in a corner laboring over a screenplay. Chances are they’re writing it on Final Draft, the number one selling screenplay writing software in the world.
And now, Final Draft’s reach is about to expand, as the program is finally making its long-awaited debut today on the Mac App store. Priced for a limited time at $199 through the end of October, the price will eventually go back up to Final Draft’s regular price of $249. The latest release of Final Draft is fully optimized to work with Lion OSX and takes advantage of the new way OSX handles documents.
Interestingly, unlike previous versions purchased on the Final Draft website or through other retail channels, which only allowed two installs on two separate machines, the version bought on Apple’s Mac Store will allow installs on as many computers as an Apple iTunes account holder has.
Obviously, this makes for a very compelling reason to buy Final Draft from the Mac App store — unlimited installs versus two. But to officials at Final Draft, the ability to download multiple versions to multiple computers, hence possibly cutting into sales, is a non-issue.
"As for the App Store model, we are actually quite encouraged by their approach as we understand that writers will often have a variety of places where they need to use their tools," a company spokesperson told Daily iBall "Going forward, we are looking at a variety of licensing models so this is a test bed for us in a sense."
And let’s not forget that many of Final Draft’s customers use Windows computers and are still limited by the two install-two machine rules.
"Since about half of our customers are Windows users as well," the spokesperson added. "We simply see this as yet another distribution channel and feel that if we provide our customers with a variety of ways to purchase our product, everyone wins."