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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 3 December 2007
I have to say I disagree with many of the other reviews here; I've written several scripts using Final Draft 7 and, on the whole, I love it. The first release was buggy, but those bugs are long gone.

But... I only love it when it works.

Final Draft 6 used the CD as a 'key', and required it to be in the CD drive to run. That was a bit annoying, but I just left it in the CD drive all the time and forgot about it. Final Draft 7, on the other hand, forces 'activation' on you. You can 'activate' it on two PCs, and then it runs. It won't run on any PC which isn't 'activated'.

Which, in theory, is better. Unfortunately in practice it's awful. I installed it on my laptop a few months ago and a few weeks later it told me it wasn't activated. I reactivated it, and then a few weeks later I wanted to activate it on my desktop system (from which I'd previously deactivated it while the PC was being shipped across the Atlantic). It told me I'd used up my activations.

I then had to spend fifteen minutes on the phone to California to get them to allow me to use the software I'd paid for on my desktop system.

Which was annoying, but it was OK for a while since I then had it running on both systems with no problems. Until a few days ago when I tried to run it on my laptop and... guess what... it's not activated again.

Now, I have no desire to do the phone hold runaround to California again to get the software I've paid for running on my PC because it randomly decides that it's not the same laptop that it was previously activated on. Fortunately I've been able to go back to Final Draft 6, but I will be very wary of buying any future versions of the software, and I really can't recommend it to anyone while it forces compulsory activation _WHICH DOESN'T WORK_.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on 28 September 2004
This should be a great new version of Final Draft but it's been dogged by bugs: it's crashed, chewed up text etc etc and I wrote an at-the-end-of-my-tether review of it a few weeks back. However, to their credit, the company does respond to user's comments quickly and they've just put out yet another update. I'd still reccommend getting version 6 and waiting to see if the problems with 7 are solved. Don't get me wrong, though: Final Draft is a wonderful programme, if you're a screenwriter it'll change your life.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
I have been using Final Draft since version 4 and was one of the writers who nagged the BBC into approving it as a submission format, after becoming frustrated with their insistence on MS Word. FD is still better than Word for screenplays - what isn't? - but IMHO it is not the best screenwriting program. I have upgraded FD twice since then to v5 and v6 and have recently been trying a demo of 7. I have to say I have found nothing new, useful, or greatly improved in version 7.

A lot of the revisions added useless gimmicks like having the computer read your script back to you (as if a synthetic voice could ever make any script sound remotely interesting) as well as a handful of frustrating bugs. Back in v4, when FD was small and personal and you could still have conversations with the programmers I suggested adding a few basic wp functions useful for badly-self-taught typists, such as correcting transposed letters - I'm still waiting.

Three years ago a script editor introduced me to Movie Magic, aka Screenwriter 2000, and today that's the one I use for all my TV scripts. It just works better than FD and is far less buggy. It has commonsense features like the ability to change the case of a highlighted block simply by pressing f12, rather than faffing about with the mouse. Note that FD just switches the case - Peter becomes pETER - but MM changes the whole word to PETER. Thats the sort of common-sense detail that makes MM easier to use than FD.

Again, if in the middle of dialogue you type '(' Move Magic recognises you are going to a parenthetical and automatically adds a carriage return. After all these years and versions Final Draft 7 still doesn't! MM recognises names and capitalises them automatically, or puts them into uppercase if you like. It's just smarter than FD and less buggy.

Some people grumble that Movie Magic hasn't been upgraded for years - but that's because it works fine as it is. Why fall for FD's marketing and go for the latest version, when all it does is change the design of the buttons on the menu bar?

I have to say that I don't write in collaboration with anyone and so I cannot pass judgment on Collabowriter, which I think comes bundled with FD. If you have a writing partner who can't be there in person it might be useful (presuming it works.) If you're just writing a straight movie or TV script go for Movie Magic. Look for a cheap copy of FD 6 somewhere, so when you've written the script in MM you can dump it into FD for submission, as thanks to early adopters like me Final Draft is an industry standard now. The problem is in my opinion FD has used that status as an excuse to sit back on its laurels and focus on marketing rather than product improvement.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 10 September 2008
Hey kids! Are you writing a script? Maybe it's a drama. Maybe it's a comedy. Maybe it's a corporate training video. Well don't worry - whatever it is, Final Draft will be able to screw it up for you. That's right - Final Draft!!! Not only is it fiddly to use, annoyingly un-intuitive and has some obstinate ideas about formatting, it's also prone to crashing or simply not saving your work every so often! And that's not all! Final Draft is also prohibitively expensive! Words cannot describe the disappointment when you first register it, only to discover it's not as good as Word!!! To use FD is to take a trip down memory lane, to a simpler, more bug-ridden time when computers were the poor cousin of electric typewriters, a novelty item that was OK to use if you wanted to play Jet Set Willy or fail to catch the Yorkshire Ripper, but not really a serious proposition if you wanted to write a screenplay.

And of course, because of pressure from various "writers", who think that software equals creativity, and can't be bothered typing out a character's name more than twice, FD is now the industry standard, meaning that reviews are superfluous and you have to buy it. Have fun!!!!!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 6 April 2007
Final Draft may be the industry standard for script formatting but it is an appallingly bad bit of software. Every new version seems to have more glitches than the last. I hate it. In TV and film, one page of a script is supposed to represent about one minute of screen time, so how can it be that a script written in Final Draft version 6 is about 10% shorter when it is transferred to Final Draft version 7? It makes no sense and can cause considerable confusion. Could it be a cynical marketing ploy to force users to upgrade? CollaboWrite doesn't work and many of the other features are just lame. No writer or producer I know likes this product, but it seems we are beholden to the exploitative, lazy creators until somebody else comes up with a genuinely good piece of scriptwriting software.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on 2 June 2006
As a user of Final Draft in a production situation, I can honestly say it is the most frustrating piece of software i've ever come accross. The person who said they're not trying is spot on, this might be a good package for writers (Although i've been told its not great for them either) but it certainly doesn't help when you go into pre-production on a film. Small issues such as sending a script from Mac to PC gives you a different page count (They have different fonts for each machine??!) to the fact that you can't select the amended pages only, you get into copy and pasting fun if you only need these pages on a document. Totally overpriced, although sadly there's no alternative for the industry at the moment. Amazon is the cheapest place to buy that i've found so far.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 6 April 2007
It's industry standard. We all have to use it. It's only a word formatting piece of software. Then why is this product so bad? I have to use Final Draft for eight hours a day, and it hurts. You need to "upgrade" every year because FD ensure that page numbers wander between versions, and yet the version I used eight years ago worked better than the one forced upon us today. There isn't room here to go into the many and varied ways this software falls down, it would take a 90 minute script to do it justice. Too bad that there are no alternative software packages to write it on.
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32 of 40 people found the following review helpful
I have never been so disappointed with a piece of software. The interface is crude in the extreme. The help system is even worse, with nasty, cut-and-pasted bitmaps. There is very little scope for customisation. All-in-all it looks (and feels) about 10 years old. When you consider that you can achieve almost all of this using stylesheets in Word the price they charge is a total ripoff. Plus, they have the audacity to charge extra for a British English spell-checker - I could get a Japanese one for Word for free if I wanted. These people just aren't trying.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 13 August 2005
I have been using Final Draft for quite some time and Version 7 proves why this is the industry standard in scriptwriting software. Not only does this program have all of the features I need for a professional looking screenplay, the company releases updates for the program regularly and it keeps improving. Things may have been shaky when version 7 was released; but this was well over one year ago and Final Draft 7 is now the most stable piece of software I have seen. Also, the package I received allowed me to install a British-English spellchecker for free when I inserted the CD. You don't have to pay extra for the spellchecker; it's in the package.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 9 June 2005
I've been using Final Draft screenwriting software right from the early days of floppy drives and no internet. I recently upgraded to version 7 and I have to honestly say that this is the best ever version of Final Draft. I've read that there were problems with the early release but I've (touch wood) not experienced any of these at all. Using the Index Card system in particular have made my scripts easier to manage and is a god-send. Well Done guys!
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