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By Michelle Donnelly · June 8, 2015
If you’re anything like me, ideas come at the least opportune moments: in line at the grocery story, on the bus, camping in the back woods of northern Michigan…just about whenever my computer is not sitting in front of me as I’ve sat down to work on my screenplay. Seeing as all day long I visualize scenes in my head, think about my characters and run dialogue, it makes perfect sense. So while my computer is safely sitting on my desk at home, it leaves me to jot my ideas down in my iPhone notes. Because, what is always with me? My iPhone, followed second only to my iPad. Yes, I’m somewhat ashamed to admit I’m one of those people. But I’d hazard a guess that I’m not alone.
To the rescue is the Final Draft Writer app. Here is the part where I confess that I love Final Draft. I mean, not in a screaming teenage girl at a Beatles concert kind of way, but in a, man they honestly and truly get what helps screenwriters be productive kind of way. So when I’m on that bus or hiking obscure trails in the middle of nowhere, I now have an easy option to capture creativity when it strikes.
There are so many functions that make this app excellent. It’s easy to navigate between scenes and you can quickly move between script elements. With character highlighting and the search function in general, I avoid the frustration of wasting time going over my script to find something that I usually never seem to actually find. Add to that, spellcheck, colored and dated revision pages that manage my changes and an easily scrollable page view. Slide to the right of your script in the script listings and it’s simple to rename your script. Syncing to Dropbox is a breeze, but I really love that I can email as either an .fdx file or as a PDF. Worried about the text being too small? For those with crappy eyesight, like me, there is even a zoom function.
Other cool features:
SmartType: begin to type scene headings, locations or characters and the app remembers those, so no need to continually retype
Reports galore: among others, there are character, cast and location reports that break down the total number of times and the percentage of words for any character, complete with scenes, dialogue and location occurrences, as well as statistic reports that identify the number of words, paragraphs, scene headings, shots and, amazingly enough, even a profanity report
ScriptNotes: allows not only me, but also others to make notes to my screenplay
Quite simply, Final Draft is the industry standard. For good reason, it’s the go to across the board. But, I’m oddly particular when it comes to the money I spend on apps. In fact, I have relatively few. Final Draft Writer quickly became my favorite. For me, it is comprehensive and functional. The app is not just a weak substitute that holds me over until I can get to my computer. Since having downloaded, I find myself rarely at my desk, bound to my computer. Everything can be done on my iPad, or iPhone if I’m on the run. No more lugging my laptop around. My back is already thanking me.