Final Draft 9 – Software Review


How many times have you gone to a movie and thought you could write a better script than what you just saw? How many times have you had an idea that you thought would make a great movie or TV show? If you’re like most people, you have thought about this a lot. But if you aren’t in “the business” you probably don’t have any clue how to get started.


Writing a screenplay, or script, is not like writing an essay or a novel. There is a formula involved. Final Draft 9 is software that makes writing a script easy. Granted, there is a slight learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, it goes easily.


Without looking at an actual script, I began using this software to see how easy it is. Yes, I was a bit confused because I have never written a script before. I have written several novels and stories, but never a script. It is definitely a different animal.

There are plenty of screenplays to download for free so after five pages of writing I downloaded one to make sure I was on the right track. There were a few things I had to change, but otherwise I was doing pretty well.


If you want to try your hand at writing a screenplay, first study one or two. You don’t have to read the entire thing, but you should know how it is set up. Then, install Final Draft 9 and start typing. Once you get the hang of the formula, the software does the rest. Yes, you still have to know how to write, and yes, you still have to know the basic format of a script, however this software is easy to understand and once you know how to set up a scene, it does the rest.


The software knows your characters’ names and stores them in a list so all you do is start typing and then select from the list which character is speaking or doing something. It’s easy to set up interior (INT) scenes and exterior (EXT) scenes. Final Draft 9 knows the lingo. Once you know the formula, the software helps you fill in the blanks. It formats everything to industry standards, and is recommended by Hollywood pros like James Cameron, Aaron Sorkin, and JJ Abrams, plus it is the preferred file format of the Writers Guild of America West.


Once you purchase the software, you may download different templates including those for some of the popular current TV shows. What I found helpful is the option to scan my pages with the software.  The software spotted the errors in formatting I had made, gave me the option to have them fixed automatically, and told me what I did incorrectly. So, besides spellchecking, Final Draft checks for format irregularities. That’s a benefit not only for us newbies, but also for veterans who might have “accidentally” made an error when typing. And, let’s face it, when you submit your fabulous script for consideration, you want it in the best shape possible.


You cannot simply install the software and start writing an award-winning screenplay without some understanding of the formula. However, once you familiarize yourself with how a script is set up, Final Draft 9 makes writing your Academy Award or Emmy Award script easy. The hard part is coming up with an original plot. Good luck!