Roger surveys what he will be covering. The first stage of screenwriting, outlining, will be touched upon. The third stage, production, will be described in terms of what Final Draft offers for professional productions. The course focuses on the second stage, drafting, where outlines are turned into full-fledged screenplays with character arcs, plotlines, and dialog.
- Before we dive in, let's talk a little bit about what we will and won't be learning. Whether for a feature film, a television episode, a documentary, or even a business presentation, writing a script can be thought of as a three stage process. First, there's the planning or outlining. This is where you've taken the premise of your screen story, you're big idea and fleshed it out with plot points, also known as story beads, characters and maybe even some dialogue. This stage of script development is critical and I suggest you not skip it.
Very few professional screen writers sit down before an empty Final Draft screen without some sort of an outline in hand. For the purposes of this course, I'll assume you've completed this stage, although we'll be touching on it when we discuss Final Draft's Beat Board feature. If you need help with outlining, I suggest you watch our course, Screenwriting Fundamentals, with Mark Tapio Kines. The second phase of the writing process is the drafting of the script itself. It's the job most people have in mind when they picture someone writing a screenplay. You roll up your sleeves and build the script line by line with action description, character names, dialogue, and the other elements of a screenplay.
When you're done writing, you relax, for about five minutes, then you start re-writing, and re-writing. You get the idea. This is the stage of screen writing for which Final Draft was purpose built and it's the stage we'll be focusing on in this course. The third and final stage of screenwriting is production. Your movie has been sold and is now in the hands of dozens of professionals from the director to actors to costumers to set designers, and every one of them has got to be literally on the same page.
That means you've got to lock the page numbers so that they don't change even if the script does. Instead you must generate things called A and B pages and color code the entire script. If you're confused, don't worry. Final Draft can do all of this, but we won't be talking about it very much. A screenplay is a work of art. I requires inspiration, creativity, and perseverance. Final Draft can't give you any of those and neither can I, but what Final Draft can give you, is a professional grade toolbox that can let you hit that creative nail right on the head.
This course is a step-by-step, interactive journey that takes the aspiring screenwriter—or the pro who hasn't yet used Final Draft—from zero to sixty. While it doesn't cover every feature of this powerhouse software, it offers an overview of 80% of the tools a writer needs to go from outline to, well, final draft. Highlighted are the latest cutting-edge features in version 10 that enable brainstorming, alternate versions of dialog, and more. Your guide, Oscar-nominated screenwriter Roger S.H. Schulman, also offers insider tips and tricks to save time and improve the quality of scripts, and a bonus chapter on using Final Draft Writer on the iPad or iPhone—to take scripts wherever inspiration strikes.
- The history of screenwriting
- Basic script elements
- Reviewing the Final Draft user interface
- Customizing the Final Draft toolbar
- Using the new Beat Board
- Using index cards
- Creating your own macros
- Working with the Format Assistant
- Using the new Story Map
- Making revisions
- Importing and exporting scripts from Final Draft
- Working with Final Draft Writer for iOS