There are good reasons to have, and even occasionally use, Final Draft. But if you’re a new writer just starting out, or even a seasoned professional beginning a new project, almost none of them apply to you.
Here are three myths of Final Draft’s necessity:
Myth 1: Only Final Draft Can Make a Submission-Quality Screenplay
You’ve heard the warnings: If you don’t use Final Draft, “they can tell,” and they’ll put your script at the bottom of the pile — or into the circular file.
Like many myths, this one has roots in a former truth. It was once the case that aspiring screenwriters would resort to style sheets in generic word processors to mimic screenplay formatting. But try as they may, crucial aspects of the formatting eluded these systems.
Today, there are many apps that can export and print a perfectly perfect Hollywood screenplay, and Slugline is one of them.
Myth 2: The Studio Will Want a Final Draft File When We Go Into Production
Maybe. But you’ll only face that possibility after lots of hard writing work. We made Slugline because we know that’s the hard part. Slugline is full of great features that help you write. But its most important feature is that it doesn’t have any complicated production tools cluttering up your writing experience.
You may work on your screenplay for months, or even years. There’s no need to spend that entire time wearing your uncomfortable gown or tuxedo, preparing for the possibility of being nominated for Best Screenplay. When that glorious day comes, you can change outfits — just as there are numerous easy ways to convert a Slugline file to a Final Draft document when you’re good and ready.
So write in your sweatpants.
Myth 3: Final Draft Has Features Writers Need
There might be one or two features Final Draft has that Slugline is missing that actually pertain to writing. We’re still in version 1. But the more writers we talk to, the more we see that even in our earliest release, we’ve focused on the features that matter most. Here are just a few, none of which you’ll find in Final Draft:
- Integrated, customizable outlining driven by text.
- Text-based notes that anyone can read or edit.
- A beautiful, retina-optimized user interface with zero clutter.
- The infinite compatibility and portability of a plain-text file format.
When I first bought Final Draft, the substantial monetary outlay made me feel like I was making a commitment to myself as a writer. I was taking the process so seriously that I was willing to spend 1% of my annual salary on it.
Years later, when I paid full price for Final Draft again (because my original purchase was tied to physical floppy disks that I no longer had), I felt the same thing.
But Fountain breaks down the wall at which would-be writers once gathered, scraping together their pennies in the hopes of finally being able to tell screen stories. Fountain turns every text editor into a screenwriting app. And Slugline makes writing in Fountain an elegant, writer-optimized experience.
There’s no longer any software standing between you and writing your movie. But there is an app passionately trying to make the process more creative, rewarding, and streamlined—and that’s Slugline.
It’s all you need to write your movie. And nothing you don’t.