How fast can a writer pound out a script? Pretty quickly, thanks to Final Draft 6. Like version 5, this incarnation is a full-featured yet uncomplicated application customized for screenwriters and playwrights. Both beginners and experts at formatting scripts can begin writing within minutes of installation. Final Draft 6, which now runs on OS X as well as OS 9, has a sleeker interface than its predecessor, and it’s cross-platform, so you can send scripts to and from Windows machines. Final Draft doesn’t include animation capabilities and multimedia script formats (as does Final Draft’s higher-priced competitor, Screenplay Systems’ Movie Magic Screenwriter 2000). But most writers, especially newcomers to scriptwriting, will find that Final Draft is more than adequate.
The latest version’s interface, like version 5’s, provides you with all the tools of a word processor but eliminates hours of formatting time and repetitive typing, so you can concentrate on content. Simply press the return or tab key to execute a macro or shortcut command, and the Elements window offers a list of formatting actions. You decide which elements–dialogue, character, or shot, for example–to add. With one keystroke, you’ve got a professionally formatted script.
Writers will find it easy to integrate Final Draft’s new features–tools such as ScriptCompare, which lets you compare two versions of the same script on screen, and Format Assistant, which catches formatting errors–into their routines. The program also lets you export scripts to PDF when you’re submitting them electronically.
Final Draft provides multiple templates derived from scripts of TV shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. You can use paragraph styles such as scene headings and dialogue to give your work a professional look, even if you’re writing your very first script.
The user manual includes helpful tutorials, and the interactive Ask The Expert window outlines story development step-by-step and helps you identify and solve problems with plot, character, and structure.
Macworld’s Buying Advice
Final Draft 6 is similar to version 5, but it’s OS X native. That, its Ask The Expert feature, and its enhanced interface make upgrading worthwhile. Final Draft delivers timesaving tools for scriptwriting and no major drawbacks.