They said it would never happen. They said it couldn’t be done. And yet… Final Draft has just released Final Draft Writer for iPad, a feature rich screenwriting app that has the potential to take over the market.
I’ve been posting about this app for over two years. Not too long ago, Final Draft teased screenwriters with the release of Final Draft Reader, which contained no writing functions what so ever. This flustered more than a few iPad users.
Did they wait too long to provide a screenwriting solution? Are there too many competitors already in place? How the hell should I know? But, I can tell you this: From my brief time with the app, it looks like Final Draft Writer has been worth the wait.
As you’d expect, the app is meant to work seamlessly with your existing Final Draft files. You’ll be happy to hear that the iPad app provides exactly the same pagination you’d find in the desktop version of the app, so there will be no sudden changing page count surprises.
Like most iOS based screenwriting apps, Final Draft Writer provides on-screen shortcuts for switching between elements, and pop-up panels for inserting commonly used bits of text (INT, EXT, DAY, NIGHT, etc.) and recently used character names. However, this app does a MUCH better job at presenting that data. For example, in other apps, you might use one shortcut pop-up for INT vs EXT, and then another pop-up for your recently used locations, and then a final pop-up for DAY or NIGHT, etc. In Final Draft, all of the possible shortcuts for building a complete slugline are presented at once, letting you enter slugs as quickly as you can think of them.
Here’s the complete list of features (which is in no way complete):
- A4 & Letter Support
- Support for Production Scripts
- Scene Numbering
- Airprint Support
- Email Reports
- Script Note Reports
- Templates for Screenplay, Stage Play, TV – Drama or Sitcom
- Locked Pages
- Tab/Enter Navigation
- Script Reports
- Drop Box Integration
Other niceties include character highlighting (the same feature found in their Reader app), and free live support via email and chat.
While normally priced at $49.99, the app is currently on sale for $29.00 (sale ends Sept 30th). At fifty smackers, this is now the most expensive screenwriting iOS app on the market. Considering the quantity of free and low-cost screenwriting alternatives, it’s a little surprising that they would price the app so aggressively.
Then again, Final Draft is the industry standard, and Final Draft Writer offers several professional-grade features the others lack, such as the ability to display active and collated revisions with colored pages. Many functions found in Writer are typically reserved for desktop applications. So, perhaps the price is high because Final Draft expects to lose a few desktop customers to the iPad version. I know I’ll be sitting at my computer less from now on!
So, is Final Draft Writer the answer to all our mobile screenwriting dreams? Not sure yet. I’ll let you know after I’ve had some time to put it through its paces. Have you tried it yet? I’d love to get your feedback in the comments section below!