Tutorial: Final Draft – Introduction

fd boxMany years ago I wrote and directed the video based tutorials for Microsoft Word, and to this day, I am in awe of just how flexible Word is, the power it has to assist in creating and formatting documents and the ancillary tools available such as indexing, table of contents, macros, styles and so on.

I know there are hundreds of features and functions that the average user probably doesn’t even know exist (and I lament the lack of proper hard bound manuals these days that allowed a browse through on a rainy cold afternoon).

Such things as outlining, spike and more are things everyday Word users can easily master and speed up workflow – if they bother to look for them!

But what, you ask, has this to do with a tutorial for a piece of software specifically designed for scriptwriting?

So Why Not Use Word for Screenwriting?

Well, as good and as flexible as Word is, by definition it is a tool that has to bend to accommodate your needs. Final Draft on the other hand has been designed from the ground up to satisfy the EXACT requirements of screenwriters, no matter you create for a 30 second TV commercial, school play, TV sitcom, Hollywood movie (although not too much of those at the moment so let’s substitute the Gold Coast and Perth in Australia shall we!) or a David Attenborough style documentary.

And everything in between.

The art of screen writing has evolved over the decades and there are well established rules that apply to screenwriting and the formats used.

And yes, using a combination of Styles and macros, you *could* get Word to mimic a portion of what Final Draft offers, but the extra tools in the package take it w-a-y beyond what Word can dream of, even if you factor in the integration possible with say Excel, Powerpoint, Access and so on.

These include not just automatic pagination and formatting according to industry standards, but advanced collaboration, speech to script, image integration, the ability to use alternate dialogues for different versions of lines, Beat Boards and story mapping with colour coding and much more.

Step by Step

In this series of tutorials, I’ll take you through step-by-step, the features and functions of Final Draft, letting you expand on your knowledge as we go (as against many tutorials that use un-associated snippets of info to demonstrate and teach).

They will also be in short bites; I have learned over the years that material is best absorbed in small nibbles rather than huge chomps, and via using a hands-on approach.


Before we start, you can download a trial version of Final Draft (for Mac or PC) at https://trial.finaldraft.com/ or you can leap in and buy it for a special price at https://store.finaldraft.com/final-draft-11.html

In the first full tutorial, we’ll come to grips with understanding the Final Draft interface.

Yes, it sort of looks like a word processor, but looks can deceive!

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