Final Draft is the venerable, respected, industry standard script writing software. It’s getting a little dated now though, version 8 was released in 2009 and was last updated to version 8.03 in 2011. Since then we have had a press release in 2010 telling us that Final Draft 9 was imminent and that it would be rolled out together with Final Draft Connect. The latter was to be their cloud-based integrated collaboration tool, a very useful feature and which would have looked innovative in 2010, rather than following in the footsteps of CeltX, its pseudo-open source rival. Instead we’ve had a launch of Final Draft’s iPad apps, the Reader and the Writer, to mixed reviews.
This just in! Final Draft 9 to be released in 2014. More details at that link.
It could well be though that version 9 is finally imminent, judging from this message on the official Facebook page:
So there you go: not before July, but definitely in 2013. Furthermore, Final Draft 8 is on sale for $50 off until the end of September 2013, pointing at an Autumn 2013 release for Final Draft 9.
From updates elsewhere, Final Draft 9 will include Full Screen and Retina support for the Mac, and Ribbon support for Windows, as well as Final Draft Connect cloud features. Also, the FDX file format will be updated to FDX v2, which will apparently be backwards compatible. Hopefully they’ll also include some of the slick features of the excellent Fade In, such as their extensive, if inconsistent and error-prone, import options:
Of some interest to me would be if FD9 were to implement some of the wonderful cross-media planning features of Scrivener, or the excellent scene meta-data features of Adobe Story, both features that are apparently present in the beta of Final Draft 9. Loglines, scene meta-data, a character arc tracker, synopses, all of these things are due to be a part of the new, and backwards compatible, FDX file format.
Personally, I do all of my planning, plotting and writing of ‘draft zero’ in Scrivener, regardless of whether it’s prose or screenplay or a comic script. But screenplay formats need to be that much tighter if they’re to be sent out to anyone else, so I export the draft script from Scrivener as an FDX, import it into Final Draft 8 and let it correct and verify the format. The page counts are generally pretty close though, as I use Courier Final Draft as my font for all scripts across all software.
Update 25th September 2013: Added Beta details from alt.screenwriters.
Update 6th February 2014: Since Final Draft 9 was released on the 6th of January, I did a side-by-side comparison between FD9 and Fade In Pro.