Script Cat: The New Final Draft 10 Is Here!
by Mark Sanderson, Scriptcat
Yes, it’s finally here—Final Draft 10. After graduating from film school, my first and only screenwriting software purchase was Final Draft and I’ve used it and loved it ever since. I can remember writing my fourth spec screenplay using Final Draft 1. Now ten versions later, I’ve written twenty-six of my thirty feature screenplays and all of my TV pilots using Final Draft. It’s the only screenwriting software that I use.
When I consult on screenplays, my biggest pet peeve is dealing with aspirants who don’t want to invest the money in professional screenwriting software recognized by the film industry. This is a blatant disrespect of the craft and immediately shows me they’re not serious about their career. Never use something that you formatted yourself.
Some of the cool new features of Final Draft 10 deal with outlining and structuring your screenplay. The new STORY MAP™ feature is a story-planning tool that offers you a high-level view of your story and allows you to easily preview and navigate to scenes. It’s displayed at the top of your script in a long strip and shows the page numbers and the length of your scenes in an easy view. I’m a huge advocate of screenplay structure and my producers never allow me to start my assignments until we have locked to story.
Another cool new feature is THE BEAT BOARD™ and it’s like having your own cork-board on the screen where you have to freedom to brainstorm and organize your ideas beat completely within your script file. You can write down ideas, story beats, or whatever you want in boxes and color code each one to your preferences. If you drag a beat box up top into the story map and release it, the feature will link to that page number. This is useful when you know you want to hit that beat at a certain page in your screenplay.
Another new feature is the ALTERNATIVE DIALOGUE element. If you write a line of dialogue, there will be a small “plus” sign at the end. If you click on it you can enter another version of the dialogue and it saves it in a box dialogue for easy reference later. You can toggle between the various lines and choose the one you like the best.
If you are working with a screenwriting partner, another useful new feature is called COLLABORATION. This allows you to work on your script remotely in real time with your writing partner(s). You can host or join a session, enter your name, the script’s title, and work in real time with your partner.
And with the STRUCTURE POINTS feature, you can create your screenplay’s structure within your .fdx file. They’ve also added new SCENE NUMBERING OPTIONS in line with industry standards, improved the HEADER and FOOTER allowing you to add file names to them automatically, and added the ability to bold your REVISION sets.
Overall, Final Draft 10 is a solid new version with strong features to help with your screenplay’s structure and collaboration. Check it out at the FINAL DRAFT website. As I always say, regardless of your methods, keep screenwriting because if you stop writing, you’re guaranteed never to have any shot at success.
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