We’ve all heard of it, the industry standard for scriptwriting software Final Draft. Version 8 comes with a wide array of new tools and improved functionality.

The good news is that it’s really quite easy to get started with Final Draft, particularly if you have some idea of how film or TV scripts are constructed. Even if you FD01don’t, Final Draft makes the learning process so smooth it’s really just part of your work flow. The software keeps your work in order, properly formatted, properly structured, and yet never gets “in the way.”

If you’re unsure of how to structure your script, you can use one of over 50 television and movie templates bundled with the application. There are dozens more available on the Final Draft website too (when you provide a valid customer FD02number before downloading). Templates come in many different flavors including, movie script, TV shows, graphic novels, and even good old-fashioned manuscripts.

The single greatest feature in Final Draft itself is its intelligent and intuitive smart element formatting. The software watches what you type and anticipates what you are doing next. With only the tiniest bit of learning, you’ll find yourself zooming through scripts faster than Stephen King can knock-out novels.

Plus my favorite new tool in version 8 is the Speech Tool. This lets you assign the Mac OS X system voices to the characters in your script, to have them read-aloud. There is enormous value in hearing another voice read your dialogue back at you! All you have to do is choose which character gets which voice up in the tools menu, then hit play?

There is also a new Scene Navigator and Scene View tools which provide handy ways to view, structure and manage your script without scrolling through a hundred or so pages every time you need to check scene order, or remind yourself exactly when a certain plot point happened.

Also packed-in to version eight is improved page formatting and counting, workspace management, powerful production features for preparing a finished FD03script for distribution or revision, a neat new toolbar, and a new XML-based file format which improves compatibility with modern productivity software and other script-writing tools.

Just as a professional graphic artist can’t get far without learning Photoshop, anyone who’s serious about screenwriting and filmmaking should have a copy of Final Draft.

For more information, visit Final Draft at www.finaldraft.com

LibbyBloodLibby Blood, Associate Editor

Libby Blood has a passion for all aspects of filmmaking. Throughout her four years in Advanced Media Production at El Dorado High School, she created countless PSAs, commercials, spot features, live events, music videos, and two award-winning short films. Now graduated, Libby is currently working on two feature films with well-known producers, as well as working with MTV Verge and Nick Cannon's Celebrity High TV. She is also stretching her wings with a full length documentary as well.