I believe I’ve lamented my gripes with later versions of Final Draft (e.g., software bloat, etc.) elsewhere on this blog, but for what it’s worth, a few years ago I abandoned Final Draft as a screenwriting application. Yes, I know, it’s the “Industry Standard.” That recognition didn’t make using it any easier. After one too many bugs, I dropped it and figured I could always convert my script to .fdr format after getting a draft out if I really needed such a thing.
The problem is, I’ve struggled to find an application to replace it. Those applications have included Movie Magic Screenwriter, Celtx, and Montage. For my last script I bounced between Screenwriter and Celtx. But as I’ve dug into a new project for the last few months I’ve been trying out Adobe Story.
And I’m here to say I’m impressed.
I’m not going to go into a full review of the application, but the thing that really has me hooked is the elegantly-designed interface. The serious, deep-grey look of the application might not be for everyone, but it really helps me stay focused on writing without distractions, especially when engaging the full screen mode. Also, the scene navigator features a color coded interface that simply illuminates at a glance which characters appear in which scenes.
Some other things Story has going for it:
It saves your files to the cloud and can be used via a web browser, but it also has a downloadable application for use when working off-line and you can export your files for safekeeping on your own storage devices.
Its collaboration functions are fairly straightforward.
It imports scripts fairly seamlessly and exports in the all-imporant Final Draft format, as well as PDF, TXT, etc.
Finally, for those using the Adobe Production Suite, it interfaces with those applications. This last feature has me thinking about giving Premiere Pro a test run.
Oh, and the price is right. It’s free, at least through April 2012.
Aside from some minor, occasional bugginess (it’s still officially in beta), the major gripe I have with Story is that I can’t use it on my iPad because it uses Flash. At least not yet (see addendum below).
If you’re currently unsatisfied with the screenwriting application you’re using, even if it’s the “Industry Standard”, give it a look.
UPDATE 5/3/11: Literally a day after posting this, Adobe released the Story iPhone app. The app does not allow actual editing of scripts, only the reading of them and adding comments. Also, it’s an iPhone app, which means you have to use it on an iPad in windowed mode (or in the blurry 2x mode). While disappointing overall, it’s still a step in the right direction, particularly when one considers that the feud between Adobe and Apple over Flash might have meant no development at all for Apple’s mobile platforms.