Bela Lampert

Optioned Screenwriter
Yoga Instructor

Is Final Draft 11 Worth It?

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Is Final Draft 11 Worth Its Cost?

There are two sides to this question.

  1. You’re a fairly new screenwriter and somewhere along the way, maybe through internet research, in a writer’s group or some other place you’ve heard that Final Draft is “the industry standard” software when it comes to screenwriting.

Then, you maybe took a look at the price and now you’re thinking, geez, is this really worth it? Do I really need Final Draft to write my screenplay?

  1. You already own some older version of Final Draft, maybe even Final Draft 10, and now you’re thinking about upgrading and you’re not sure if the upgrade price is worth the upgrade in terms of functionality.

For New Writers

Let’s look at the first case first, the new writer scenario.

And the simple answer is, of course, it depends.

Let me give you a couple of my own opinions in order to facilitate your decisionmaking.

The official industry standard file format for screenwriting is not Final Draft, it’s pdf. So, as long as you can make a pdf in proper screenplay format, you’re fine in terms of the technical aspects.

Of course your writing should be really good as well.

It’s true though, that Final Draft is a commonly used file format for intercompatibility between different software packages. And that means, Final Draft is by no means the only software that reads or creates the Final Draft file format.

Almost any screenwriting software can do that.

Also, you should ask yourself, what is it that you want to use the software for? And by that I mean, for what steps of the writing process?

Final Draft is really good for the writing part. I use it too. Among others, to be honest. But it’s not so good for outlining and storing research, in my opinion.

It’s great for the production cycle, where you need locked pages, revisions, and all that jazz. But as a new writer you probably don’t need all that.

And if you use it just for the writing, you end up paying for a lot of functionality that you don’t even need.

And other screenwriting apps can do the writing equally well for a lower price.

Now, the decision is on you. I remember when I started out, there weren’t so many different applications to choose from, it was basically between Final Draft and Movie Magic Screenwriter. And I just wanted to own one of them and I was ready to pay the price because that made me feel more like a screenwriter.

Just firing it up gave me the kicks, like, woooow, I’m really writing a screenplay.

So, if that’s what you want, go ahead and get a license.

Just be aware that there are a lot of alternatives that can do the writing and formatting part equally well at a lower price. And they usually also export pdf and Final Draft file format.

If You Already Own Final Draft

If you already have a copy of Final Draft and you think about upgrading, here are my two cents.

There are a couple of little features that they added in version 11, but in my opinion it boils down to this:

In version 11 you get the possibility to export the Beat Board as a pdf, something that hasn’t been possible in version 10, you get a better collaboration feature, and you get alternate dialogues. And a night mode.

All good things, if you ask me. The question is, are they worth the upgrade price of $80?

Maybe. Depends on your situation.

On the Beat Board I have to say you CAN export it to pdf, but what you get is just one big, simple pdf. Nothing more. You can’t get the text out as text.

As of the rest of the functionality it’s just a matter of how much you use it in order to justify the expense or yourself.

If you want to see more about Final Draft 11, you can go to my Final Draft 11 Deep Review.