Mobile screenwriting revisited

September 4th, 2012 | by | screenwriting


Last week Final Draft finally released its iPad-only Final Draft Writer, and announced that its regular price would be $49.99.

That $50 price tag for an app is pretty awesome. Not nearly as awesome as it would’ve been if Final Draft had the balls to ask a thousand dollars for it, but…pretty awesome all the same.

Final Draft Writer for iPad does a lot less than the $249.99 (regular price) desktop version of Final Draft1. Of course even at fifty bucks that limited functionality makes sense from Final Draft Inc.’s perspective as a company that wants to stay in business: they’re not going to cannibalize their more expensive core product for an iPad-only app. But it does make me wonder who’s going to buy it.

Are there any professional writers out there who need a limited subset of pro features who don’t have proper screenwriting software already installed on a laptop? Would any real writer actually choose to do critical on-set rewrites on an iPad instead of a laptop? Would anyone who realizes that a real film set is not a Starbucks let them? Will any of this Real Screenwriting be done in a bikini at the beach?2 And if the answer to all of those is no, don’t be ridiculous, but the iPad is still a great alternative to be able to use for some quick writing or revising on the go — well, what do you need a $50 app for? Why not just do that using any number of free-to-$5 apps, screenwriting-specific or not? Then take it home and drop it, seamlessly, into software that can handle it?

Don’t get me wrong: I believe Final Draft is going to sell a whole bunch of copies of Final Draft Writer. I’d just be surprised if, at some point, a few of those people don’t eventually ask themselves exactly what they paid for.

Or maybe not.

See, one of the really weird things about the introduction a while back of Final Draft Reader — which horrified FD users everywhere who had been impatiently waiting for the long-promised mobile Final Draft app and instead got a mostly unnecessary non-writing viewer (with a twenty-dollar price tag!) — was that despite all the freely expressed feelings of anger and betrayal, I saw multiple comments to the effect of, well, this sucks, but hey, it’s best to buy it anyway to show support for Final Draft and hope they eventually do release a writer app. One guy wrote:

When I saw the app…and read the word Reader next to it, I wanted to face-palm. When I saw the nineteen dollar and ninety-nine cent price tag next to it, I wanted to cry…So what did I do? I purchased the app.

Sure. I mean, if only there was some other option.

Anyway, to be polite: Final Draft, other than your $50 app price tag and your questionable advertising, welcome to the future.

The rest of us have been enjoying it for quite a while.

  1. And therefore, by definition, it does a lot less than Fade In Professional Screenwriting Software at $49.95. The mobile version of which is only $4.95, and is available for the iPad and the iPhone and Android. Just as a point of comparison.
  2. The dated, generically sexist ad they Photoshopped together to launch Final Draft Writer simply defies explanation in 2012.

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