|MOVIE MAGIC SCREENWRITER 6 AND FINAL DRAFT 8|
My comparison between Movie Magic Screenwriter 6 and Final Draft 8 started in September 2010. As a writer, I had to decide the creative policy for my production company but there wasn't enough information available on the net. Most comparisons were short and quite old. Therefore, I decided to find out myself and purchased both these softwares online from Writers' Store. Trust me, if you are a professional writer, forget the MS Word macros, free software, other competitors. These two are far better.
But the question is which one is most suitable.
Answer: MovieMagic Screenwriter fits my needs perfectly. Your choice depends on what you want.
I am not connected to either of these two companies, so if their representatives think this comparison isn't fair, please remember this - Writers need relevant information and not marketing mumbo-jumbo. This is my way of helping my fellow professionals from whom I have learnt a lot through the internet.
For a completely fair evaluation, I will keep updating and editing this page as my script progresses. This will end by December 2010. If you want to add some data here, please write to me at zen @ indiatimes.com
|Criteria||Movie Magic Sriptwriter 6||Final Draft 8|
|Document Navigation||MMS has the incredible NaviDoc control. It displays the entire map of the script from the top (ACT level) right down to the bottom (NOTES level). This is valuable tool for planning your story and breaking it down into logical portions called "Outline Elements". These are colour-coded and even the display can be customized to suit your working style. This one feature made me choose Movie Magic for all my writing.||FD does not have this feature.|
|Customizing the Software||Here Movie Magic Screenwriter 6 offers a vast range of customization options which can be tweaked continuously to suit your style. Almost everything is customizable.||FD does not have the same level of flexibility.|
|Font||Movie Magic installs its own version of Courier font which is far more readable than the standard "Courier New" font or the one offered by Final Draft.||FD version of Courier font is better than Courier New, but not as well-rounded as the Movie Magic version.|
|Importing Text||MMS is excellent for importing an unformatted raw text file into a script format. If capitalization is correct then script import is almost 99% correct. Example: Text script of "The Dark Knight" was 141 pages in PDF format. This was saved as text file and imported into both. MMS gave a correctly formatted script of 162 pages.||FD is around 70% accurate and gave a script of 183 pages with some dialogues broken. Some blank lines were labelled as scenes.|
|Tagging||Tagging (props, characters etc.) is within the program and is updated with every modification. It is not colour coded and difficult to find in the script. But you can easily use the "Global" function so it convenient.||Tagging is done by a separate program called "Tagger" which is a pain even though it looks good with colour coding. But these colours are visible only inside Tagger, not in FD. So if there is a change, the script has to be imported again.
There is one advantage here. FD stores file in XML format which is directly readable by scheduling and budgeting softwares. I don't know how that helps in tagging but apparently it does. I have yet to explore that future because it is not relevant for me as a scriptwriter.
|Functions||Comprehensive functions for writing, navigating and production.||writing functions are good, navigation is cumbersome and production features equivalent to MMS are missing.|
|Summary Reports||Notes Reports are sketchy. Scene reports are not detailed, some do not have column headings.||Reports are more organised and properly formatted with detailed information.|
|Intuitive||Far more intuitive than Final Draft. You can define outlines, write extensive notes all in different colours and all visible in the script. This is extremely helpful in writing.||Competent, but does not offer any features to plan a story. Notes are visible only as pop-ups, one at a time.|
|Notes||All notes are visible, colour coded and can be printed separately, opposite the related scene. But the Notes report is just a list. However, this is not important because these notes are required only for displaying on screen as writing aid and guidelines. They do not have to be printed much. Even if they are, there is a convenient feature in which the note is printed opposite the script page, behind the previous page.||Primitive black and white popups which are not visible unless clicked one by one. But the Note summary report is formatted very well.|
|Outline Levels||Excellent and intuitive levels which can be used to control the story and also navigate through the script quickly. It enables the writer to start from a broad outline and keep working out details as he goes along. Almost like painting into a proper sketch.||Does not have this feature.|
|Index Cards||MMS does not have this level of sophistication in index cards. It has one-sided cards which are not colour coded.||Superior index card function. They are colour coded and double sided. One side can contain the summary. This is a simple replacement for the Outline function of MMS, but does not offer the same level of detail. You can write the summary of each scene behind the index card for that scene. This way, you can plan your story at the scene level and then start filling out index cards in random order. The text will transfer to your script. You can colour code scenes according to their location or importance or expendibility.
The only problem is that printouts of index cards give unexpected results. Sometimes they print fine, sometimes everything goes haywire.
|Production Features||Generates a number of reports which can be very useful if you do not have access to a scheduling software.||Generates few reports but they are formatted well and have detailed information.|
|File Format||Saves scripts in a proprietary file format and also allows import & export into scheduling and budgeting softwares, pdfs, rtf etc.||Saves scripts in .xml format and also allows import & export into scheduling and budgeting softwares, pdfs, rtf etc. Now, this .xml format is useful only when a scheduling software like Gorilla can read it directly. But since that is already covered in "Export..." feature, this is not a real advantage from a writer's perspective.|
|Internet Collaboration||Works properly.||Does not work.|
|Number of Installations||Can be installed on 3 computers.
If you install it on more, only the latest 3 installations will work. This is a very convenient feature.
|Can be installed on 2 computers.
If you want to install it on a new computer, you will have to deactivate a previous installation. This is a painful task.