Using Final Draft: Week 1

A screenshot of my use of Final Draft next to a Scrivener file of my published novel. I’m able to use it for reference as I write the screenplay.

I’ve spent about a week working with Final Draft 11 and I’ll have to say I really like it. It’s pretty easy to use and immediately I found it to be completely user-friendly.

I set up my screenplay so that it would save not only to my hard drive but also to the cloud via google drive. For that, I simply selected “Final Draft 11” then “preferences” then “autosave/backup” and then “select new folder”. This led me to an easy link that allowed me to link my file to my google drive app that will back up my file every 15 minutes. If my computer goes down for some reason, I can retrieve the file from anywhere I can access the internet.

I began the screenplay by selecting “insert” then “act” so that I break down my screenplay in acts. After this I was able to easily set up scenes with either “INT” for interior or “EXT” for exterior as well as the place and time of day. Most of the functions are intuitive, controlled mainly with the “tab” and “return” keys. When I interrupt dialogue to write an action line, Final Draft places (Cont’d) out beside the character name so I don’t have to remember to do it.

So far I’ve been keeping my novel open in a screen to the right of the Final Draft screen. I have also created an outline of my novel for easy reference which has been condensed down to translate to a screenplay. I printed out the outline on paper to save screen space or I would do it all on the laptop. I like working this way, and I am simply transferring the dialogue from the novel to the scenes in the screenplay and relating any action as it arises.

I’m sure the screenplay will need some serious revision after I’m done, but since Final Draft makes it almost effortless to insert notes into the screenplay (they look like little red flags out to the right) I’m thinking it will make that process just as worthwhile and easy to proceed.

I’ll be posting more updates about the progress the next few weeks. However, I highly suggest you throw down the dough for Final Draft if you are a screenwriter or a first-timer like me. It makes the process so much more effortless to get ideas to the page. As a matter of fact, I don’t know why I haven’t written screenplays until now.

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