No, Final Draft isn’t on the iPad yet… but that doesn’t mean you can’t read your Final Draft screenplays in the meantime.
While there are many terrific apps available for reading scripts in the PDF format (i.e., GoodReader, PDF Expert), there’s only ONE app whose primary purpose is to read native Final Draft documents (.FDX) on the iPad. That app is FDX Reader by Quote-Unquote Apps ($7.99).
The app has been around for a few weeks now. You may have heard about it on other sites, but I chose to hold off discussing it on HHH for one important reason: It didn’t really work.
The original release was crashtastic. I was unable to display any script with an omitted scene (which is pretty much every script in my collection). And it ignored dual dialog (completely removing it from view)! I emailed the developer and got a very quick response informing me that they were already aware of the issues, and would soon be releasing an update.
Well, that was then and this is now. Multiple updates have been released, and things are right with the world… mostly.
The app now performs as expected, easily opening any FDX file (brought in through iTunes, Dropbox, or as an email attachment). Scripts are presented in a very pleasing color pallet (easier to read than black & white). The interface is simple and elegant. You flip through pages with a simple swipe, or by pulling a page slider along the side. When you close the app and return to it later, it puts you right back where you left off. The app doesn’t provide any annotation tools, but I can’t take points off for that since the developers clearly state that FDX Reader is for READING only. That said, I’d love to see annotation tools added in future versions.
The missing dual dialog bug has been squashed, but FDX Reader still doesn’t display dual dialog in two-column format. The current version displays the dialog stacked instead of side by side. Hopefully, that will be changed down the line.
A couple of bugs remain. I loaded up several of my old scripts and found a couple of insignificant display errors. And, I still had an occasional crash (two crashes during a 6-hour reading marathon).
There’s one other pet-peeve I want to mention. Currently, FDX Reader does not offer the option to display each script page individually. Pages get broken up and presented as segments of a long virtual scroll. There’s something to be said for keeping the pages as the author created them. White space can be a powerful tool in the right hands. This is a minor issue… and like I said, it’s a pet-peeve more than a problem.
All in all, FDX Reader is a great solution for a very specific problem. Based on my previous experience with the developer, I’m fairly certain the app will continue improving with each update.
On a side note, there IS another app that will read FDX format, although that’s not its primary function. Screenplay will let you import and export FDX formatted scripts. That said, Screenplay is clearly a writing tool, and not designed for pure reading enjoyment.
Here’s the FDX Reader promo video:
This app has been removed from the App Store
I love your blog, thanks for all the great movie app info!
While I’m sure this is a great app, I’m curious why no one ever mentions ScriptWrite, an app for the iPad that lets you actually edit .fdx scripts. I use it all the time, in fact I do a lot of my actual writing on the iPad using ScriptWrite, although you still have to clean up the formatting on your laptop or desktop before sending it out to the world.
Have you tried ScriptWrite and just don’t like it? I’m just wondering why there’s all this attention for an app that is just a reader, and none for an app that allows you to edit the scripts?
Thanks for the kind words about the site.
You’re quite right. Honestly, I forgot that ScriptWrite added FDX support. I did my last full review of ScriptWrite back in 2009. Perhaps it’s time for an updated posting.
However, that the point of FDX Reader is to create a simple and elegant environment for those who are only reading scripts and not writing them (Producers, Directors, Department Heads, Agents & Managers, Development Execs, etc.). Sure, scripts can be read in authoring apps, but it isn’t as pleasant an experience. That said, I do most of my reading in GoodReader and PDF expert so I can annotate as I go. It’s all about tastes vs. needs. More options are a good thing, right? :)
I’ve been a fan of Scripts Pro since it came out a year or so ago. It allows celtx, fdx, and text editing. I think Goodreader is great for its purpose, which is a clear interface allowing for just reading, but for screenwriters who want to not only read but also write share, etc an app like Scripts will do them best.
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