Why I finally bought FinalDraft

Tuesday · April 14, 2009 · 07:21 PM

I’ve been using the free Celtx script writing program. It’s amazing, literally one of the two key factors that fell into place when I was trying to figure out this screenwriting thing (the other was Dave Trottier’s excellent book The Screenwritier’s Bible, but more on that later).

Celtx is great, I wrote several scripts with version 1.x – it’s a completely functional script publishing system. It’s the first specialized script writing program that I’ve used and I was very happy with it. Except for one quirk. When I highlight text and delete it, I’d often get a line of the script reformatted into some weird mode where I couldn’t move past the deleted section. It made edits maddeningly slow and I’d have to use the mouse to fix the problem.

I upgraded to the latest version and it had the same problem, so I decided to jump ship and get a professional program (and if you buy it you can get a free upgrade to the next version!). Luckily my birthday was coming up :)

Stupid weird things in FinalDraft:

  • F3 doesn’t find the next occurrence of what I searched for previously.
  • Double the size of Celtx PDFs.
  • The spellchecker doesn’t like “pissed”, yet the profanity counter knows the word.

I had an ass-load of pain trying to get the scripts out of Celtx and into FinalDraft. I finally got it to work, mostly, but it was about six steps. First I exported the Celtx document to a text file. Then I opened the text file in an editor and munged the text. I loaded the munged file into FinalDraft, but basically no matter what I tried, I had to go and fix the script manually.

Ah, and MDI? Seriously? Didn’t that die with Windows 3.1?