Final Draft Tips

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Scene Numbers


Is it possible to adjust the scene numbers that Final Draft creates on the script? Example, it split one scene into two, and I'd like it to go back into being 1 longer scene. Another different scenario: I have a scene (let's say, sc 35A) that is 'interrupted' by a flashback (we'll call it sc. 36), and I'd like to continue that first scene after the flash back (call it 35B). Is this possible to modify, or am I stuck with the numbers Final Draft generates? A broader question for this, is it confusing to have scene numbers that aren't sequential? The script is non-linear so it becomes tricky.


I'd have to experiment with FD to check. I've never needed to do it. Before we go there, may I ask you a question?

Are you the director for this screenplay? Directors will place the scene numbers the way they like them. If the writer adds them, the first thing the director will do is remove them.

In case you are the director, let's discuss lettered scene numbers. If you have scenes 35 and 36, then a scene inserted during photography would become 35A. Calling a scene 35A before the production rundown is locked seems odd. Adding a scene during shooting would then become 35A1. Unless you're already in production, you're making it too complicated.

Is this is a spec script? If so, I would urge you to exercise restraint with flashbacks and fantasy sequences. Studio readers have a quota. They will get lost as they rush through a complicated script.


Our concern is, how do we make it obvious in the shooting script that one scene is the continuation of another?


It's typical to shoot out of order. The director or the AD will create a production shooting schedule that re-orders the related scenes together so that you don't have to break down between scenes. It will be obvious that it's a continuation when scenes in the same location shoot back-to-back.

It's the script supervisor's job to track continuity. You may need to go over the script and rundown with her to make sure it's clear.

Remove Extra Characters


I´ve been working on a script and after several versions of it FD keeps on saving characters from all versions. How can I update my characters list and save only the ones that appear on the final version?


{Document/SmartType} {Characters} {Rebuild}

Remove Blank Lines


Do you know how to eliminate the space between the character and dialogue? I've spent 3 hours trying to figure it out.



Do you know where you're going?


That depends how the space got there. If you have double-spacing turned on you could try turning it off. If it really is an extra line, it's a bit more tricky. Copy-and-paste the document into Word. In Word use Search-and-Replace to replace ^p^p with ^p. Copy-and-paste the document back into a new screenplay document in Final Draft.

Format Montage


How can I format a "series of shots" and "montage" in Final Draft? The text in each shot should wrap beneath the text, not beneath the letter of the outline, but I just can't figure it out how to do this in Final Draft.

It should read like this:

A) John runs down
the street.

But in Final Draft it read like this:

A) John runs down
the street.


Controlled with the hanging indent and margin controls just above the document in FD.

More on montages:

Print scenes for actor


Can I retrieve all scenes for a specific actor? Lets say I need to hand out text for rehearsal for an actor and I want to print out only the relevant scenes is there an easy way to do so?


To print character sides on Windows:

{File}{Print}{Character sides}

To print character sides on Mac:

Same as for Windows, but change {Copies and Pages} pulldown to {Final Draft} in Print dialog.

To print only the character's lines (not sides):

{Tools}{Reports}{Character Report}

Printing character sides is a choice in the Print dialog. After picking Character sides you can choose which character's sides you want printed. The "sides" are scenes that an actor reads for an audition, typically.