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FINAL DRAFT for iPad is Finally Here! …and it’s only a reader?

Hooray (sort of)! Final Draft is finally coming to the iPad (sort of)! Isn’t that great? Sort of.

It’s been the topic of heated discussions since we launched over two years ago. Its progress has been covered at length in multiple HHH articles (see links below).  And, it’s easily the most anticipated Screenwriting app ever to come to a mobile device.  Screenwriters around the world have been waiting for Final Draft to come to the iPad.

The good news: Final Draft has finally set a release date for their mobile app (Feb 16th).  The bad news: This is not the application we were expecting.

The app is officially called Final Draft Reader, and as you guessed, it’s meant for reading Final Draft scripts on the go.  It has no screenwriting functionality at all. Zip. I’m sure that will come as a major disappointment to many.  I admit, I was bummed when I heard the news.  But the fact is, Final Draft never said they were releasing a screenwriting app.  That was all of US!  Here’s what they actually said:

In order to integrate with future Final Draft products, we’ve redefined the development roadmap of our Final Draft Mobile app…The Final Draft Mobile app for iOS will augment the overall Final Draft user experience, providing our community a seamless creative work flow between the Final Draft desktop client, Final Draft Mobile, and future Final Draft services.

So, while the app isn’t what we were anticipating, it DOES align with what they promised. Therefore, we must judge the app based on its own merits, and not based on what we hoped it would do.  So, what does it do?  It allows users to review and annotate scripts in the Final Draft format on their iPad. Simple as that.

I’ve been using Final Draft Reader (under NDA) for a few weeks now, and I have to say, it works quite well.  It’s simple, but solid.  I’d go into all the features, but there aren’t that many.  Read. Annotate. Share.

Their own marketing department tells the story quite nicely:

Like no other mobile scriptwriting app available, the Final Draft Reader app displays Final Draft™ scripts on your iPad exactly as they appear on your desktop – perfectly paginated to industry standards. You can effortlessly import your Final Draft version 8 scripts into the Final Draft Reader app to read and annotate anywhere, anytime.

Bottom line is this.  It’s a good app, but I’m still bummed.  It’s the sort of bummed feeling one gets after hearing mountains of rumors about a 3D, brainwave reading iPad that can make coffee and fold laundry, only to watch Apple announce the iPad 2.  Yeah, it’s AWESOME… just not what we were expecting.  And… there’s always a chance Final Draft will release a screenwriting app down the line. That said, if you’ve been looking for a way to read and annotate screenplays in the Final Draft format, check out Final Draft Reader on Feb 16th.

Want the app for free? Final Draft is hosting an app giveaway!  Enter here.

What do YOU think about this?  Are you looking forward to using this app?  Share your thoughts in the comments!

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I enjoyed reading this brief ScreenRant story, so I thought I’d share it here. It describes how Destin Daniel Cretton, the director of Marvel’s Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings, was forced to direct an important scene via his iPhone while in the hospital for the birth of his child! Sadly, it doesn’t divulge the details of that unusual workflow, but it’s an excellent reminder that we’re all toting the world’s most versatile piece of filmmaking gear in our pockets and purses!

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3 Responses

  1. Here’s one additional thought. The best use for Final Draft Reader might be on set, receiving colored revision pages digitally. Could be helpful I suppose… but then again, when I’m directing, I like folding the day’s pages, and jamming them in my back pocket.

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