Friday 27 November 2009

Anger ... rising ... or how Final Draft is pissing me off to no end lately...

Final Draft - it's an awesome piece of script writing software, ain't it?

Yes it is, and that's how I thought for two years of problem-free script writing. Now though, it's decided to act like an absolute bulbous arse, and has taken to freezing or crashing my computer within (generally) five minutes of being loaded.

Although this afternoon I left it open for a good ten minutes, then started writing for a good five or more ... and then it froze. Then I tried copying the text (all 116 pages) into a totally fresh instance of Final Draft, but that again buggered up after five minutes.

I did have a work around for a little while when this problem first started presenting itself a few months ago - copy the .fdr file from a different source (e.g. a floppy disc) and then go about merrily re-drafting the script. However, that didn't work this time (it worked twice beforehand, the two times I needed it to), so now I'm rather furious. I need to get the "Zero" script finalised before I can send it to the BBC Writersroom, but I can't do that with the software screwing me around like this.

Methinks a re-install is in order, and I just hope this solves the problem.

That said, I was farting around with the final draft of I Am Zombie Man 3 (a comparatively very modest 9 pages) for a good fifteen minutes with no problems ... but even if it's an issue of a corrupt file, how on earth would the corruption carry over by simply copying and pasting the text? That's nonsense.

Perhaps then it's an issue of length ... but then again last year I wrote The End, which was 130 pages long and that went just fine.

If memory serves I'm using Final Draft version 7 ... which, so I've just learned today, was notoriously buggy. Version 8 however, seems to be much more stable ... so perhaps an upgrade is in order if a re-install doesn't work?

Hell, perhaps an upgrade is in order anyway ... then I can stop screaming at my computer and fall in love with Final Draft again (and get Zero bloody well finalised already).


Danny Smith said...

This is probably a facepalm comment, but why not just use word?
Ive always done that and then formatted it myself and converted it to pdf and added a watermark, sure its a bit of a bother to do it yourself, but it seems a bit silly to rely on a program just to align text and set sizes and the like for you.

Nick Thomson said...

Well you can facepalm yourself, lulzorz, because I personally can't be doing with scripts written in Word. I used to do that a long time ago, and it always looks shit.

Even still, no way am I going to MANUALLY format a script that's 120 pages.

Anyway - I'm all set up with Final Draft 8 now.

The reason Final Draft 8 is so good, is that it does format everything for you. It remembers location names, character names, you can set each category of text (e.g. Action, Dialogue, Transition etc) to the certain type of text that you want for each (e.g. Bold, Underlined, Courier New etc).

As it automatically formats everything for you (in a whole range of different formats ranging from TV sitcom to Feature Film to a bunch of others), you don't have to worry about it - a couple of key presses that become second nature and you're able to just type your script as fast as you can think it. You never get halted.

Far from "silly", good Sir. It's incredibly useful - and that's just the basic things that Final Draft can do.

Hopefully it'll be a piece of software that'll serve me well the further I get in my career - indeed, it is the industry standard script writing software for a reason. :)