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Why Use Screenwriting Software?

For nearly a century the image of a screenwriter hunched over a typewriter has been an indelible one. From William Holden using a traditional typewriter in Sunset Boulevard to Nicolas Cage typing away on his electric one in Adaptation, we are very familiar with the idea of screenwriters struggling with the blank page. But with Final Draft, the industry standard screenwriting software, the struggle is over.

Final Draft automatically formats your screenplay to industry standards so you can focus on what you do best – writing.

Screenplay format

You might think simply using a word-processing program on your computer will do the trick, but this isn’t advisable if you want to be professional —never give readers a reason to say “no”.

Although a word-processing program does include some basic formatting tools (fonts, styles, spellcheck, etc.), it doesn’t offer the formatting tools specifically tailored for the film and television industry. If an agent, manager or producer read a screenplay that isn’t formatted to industry standards, you’ll instantly be creating an obstacle for yourself. A skeptical reader will consider the script “amateurish” or “unprofessional”, and that’s all before they even dive into your story and characters. To ensure this doesn’t happen, your best option is to invest in a professional screenwriting program and use it to write your script. And yes, it is an investment. An investment in something tangible, as well as an investment in yourself and your career. The very fact that you purchased a screenwriting program tells industry professionals that you take your craft seriously and are familiar with and utilizing the very same tools they use.

But which screenwriting program should you invest in? Ideally, it should be the one that is used by most professionals in the industry, right?

Industry standard screenwriting software

For over 25 years, Final Draft has been the industry standard and market leader in screenwriting software. Final Draft is used by 95% of all Hollywood productions and is the best-selling screenwriting software worldwide. It is the first choice for both professional and aspiring screenwriters, producers, directors and industry executives. When rewriting a script and working on productions, the document files you share with other professionals should be one and the same: an FDX. It’s the signifier that you’re a pro.

Final Draft: The professional screenplay formatter

Scripts written with a regular word-processing program or a free web-based screenplay template can’t be used in professional film productions. They’re often retyped or must be converted to a proper FDX to get them ready for production. Screenplays written in Final Draft in our FDX format are ready for professional use.

Not in Hollywood? Final Draft is still the standard and used professionally all over the world, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, and over 60 other countries. There are dictionaries in English (U.S., Canada, and British), Catalan, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Swiss-German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese (Brazilian and European), Spanish, and Swedish. So whatever country you’re in, if you’re using Final Draft, you know you’re using the industry standard.

Final Draft formatting has its roots in the studio script standards established over one hundred years ago. Not a lot has changed since: the same proper pagination, the same format, the same twelve point Courier font (the Courier Final Draft font was built specifically for this purpose), and keeping to approximately one minute of screen time for every written page is still important. This pagination guideline was and is used for quick high-level script evaluations by writers, agents, producers, and studio executives when promoting, planning and budgeting projects.

And the award for best screenwriting software goes to…

In addition to the essential formatting tools, Final Draft also comes loaded with templates for all your other creative endeavors. Whether you’re writing a feature film, TV drama, play or graphic novel, musical or sitcom, Final Draft comes with files already formatted for these very purposes.

Final Draft 12 also has pre-writing tools that can help you in the early stages of developing a script which can be used in what we call the 1,2,3 workflow.

1. The Beat Board™ is a place to brainstorm, collect ideas, imagery, and then organize your scenes, sequences, plot and story structure. You can plan a feature film, an episode or season of show, or even an entire season.

2. The Outline Editor™ lets you create a linear story from your beats, outlined for the page with pagination or structure goals.

3. Writers can then instantly convert all of this creative story planning into a script outline or rough draft. Final Draft will show your Outline Paragraphs in the script, which you can use to bring your best draft to life. The outline paragraphs can be hidden to allow for a read through, or shown again to reveal your story plan as you write.

Final Draft 12 also offers templates that can help give you a framework for your script. A template is a reusable document formatted to industry standards or your personal preference. You can choose from customized templates to script, TV, graphic novel, and text templates. You can also choose the category Structure to find templates based on popular structural guides like Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat!, Chris Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey and Dan Harmon’s Story Circle.

Final Draft 12 also has numerous other features that make the screenwriting process easier and more efficient:

– Smart Type cuts down on keystrokes by auto filling commonly used characters, locations, and more.

– Inserting images into your script helps you to visualize your story.

– Collaboration Mode allows you to work with writing partners in real time around the corner or anywhere in the world.

– Alternate Dialogue enables you to store as many different versions of lines as you can imagine.

– Night Mode lets you work in an environment that’s easier on the eyes.

– Focus Mode gives you distraction-free writing.

– Sprint Timer allows you to set a period of time where you can focus on writing as many words as possible.

In addition to the various benefits of the software itself, once you purchase Final Draft and become a registered user, you also gain access to world-class technical support. Got a formatting question? Our staff is on hand via phone, email or chat to assist you with all your writing needs. Once you’re a Final Draft owner, you’ll also receive periodic updates, assuring that your copy of Final Draft contains the latest features and tools.

Stay connected and informed- beyond your script

Final Draft’s blog contains all the tips, tricks and techniques you need to get started in your career, as well as industry news, reviews and interviews with famous filmmakers. You can also connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, while our YouTube channel features numerous helpful tutorials and industry interviews. Sign up for our newsletter so you’ll never miss a thing.

“Even if you don’t own a computer, I recommend buying Final Draft.”

JJ ABRAMS

With Final Draft, it’s never been easier to write your screenplay. So whether your mind goes to a writer staring at a blank page or typing away with inspiration, know that the right screenwriting software will assist you on your writing journey.

You may be just starting your career, but with Final Draft you will already be using the pro’s screenwriting software.