Monday, September 14, 2009

Final Draft: Good program, but, come on!

An email I received today about Final Draft, a popular scriptwriting program. The version I use, 6, is about to have tech support discontinued, which I don't mind. But I do mind this:
Because authorizing version 6 is very much a technical matter, this service will also be discontinued on December 23rd. You will still be able to run the program in full mode on an unauthorized computer as long as the CD is in the drive when the program is launched. Once the program is open the CD can be removed. You will still have every program command and feature available to you, the same as the day you bought it. The only difference will be if your computer is not authorized, you will need to take this one extra step in order to open the application.
The CD, of course, is copy-protected, so once it dies, you're hosed (and, of course, one can't use Final Draft 6 on most netbooks now, since they lack CD drives). Thanks heaps, guys.
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At September 15, 2009 8:29 AM , Blogger Jonathan Ball said...

I use and love Final Draft, and haven't had a problem yet, but I now see them on the horizon. Sigh. It's enough to make you switch programs. DRM doesn't work. It makes products suck more for legitimate users and can always be cracked by non-legitimate users. Looking forward to seeing FlashForward at the Winnipeg festival.

At September 15, 2009 6:29 PM , Blogger Chuk said...

Time to switch to CeltX -- it's open source.

At September 16, 2009 1:03 PM , Blogger ryan mannik said...

Just use a CD decrypter to unlock the cd and copy the cd image to your harddrive. The necessary freeware and tutorials are online.

At September 18, 2009 3:33 AM , Blogger bobbyshane said...

Have you ever tried Ywriter? It's on version 5, is completely free and made by an Australian Comedic Sci-fi writer named Simon Haynes. It is one of the most intuitive programs I've seen for organizing drafts.

At September 18, 2009 3:45 AM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Thanks for the suggestions, guys, but the reality is that when you're writing for a series that's in production, you need to use what the series uses; FLASHFORWARD (the ABC series based on my novel of the same name) uses Final Draft).

I have indeed played with CeltX -- fine Canadian product! -- and am very impressed by it, though.

At September 18, 2009 10:57 AM , Blogger Jonathan Ball said...

The fact is that most people and companies (that I am aware of) use Final Draft. But since I don't have anything in production right now, and do most of my stuff independently, I think I will try using one of these other programs (just downloaded CeltX, as I am a Canuck as well) for a while. Final Draft is a great program aside from the occasional thing like this. And even though it costs more, at least the expense can be written off when the taxman comes.

At September 18, 2009 5:54 PM , OpenID cgyrask said...

Unless Final Draft is using a more nefarious version of CD protection, it should be possible to extract the CD image to a file on the hard drive (as mentioned above, and you probably don't even need a decrypter), and then to use a free virtual CD driver (like Daemon Tools Lite) to "mount" the image to a new virtual CD drive. This would work on netbooks as well.


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