Scrivener / Final Draft 8

Scrivener is awesome. But, I’m struggling with how to work with Scrivener and Final Draft 8. How to use both to best organize and write my screenplay. Any ideas would be great!


Personally I use Scrivener for all my writing from concept to outline and virtually to first draft. (I usually go over to FD just a couple of pages or a few tweaks shy of my final page count). This is because FD7 was awful to use. Sometimes I’ll export a sequence mid-writing just to check page the count. Since the new FD8 now doesn’t feel like using an etch-a-sketch, I might think about using it for more of my actual typing, but no decisions there yet. Probably not until I can split scenes upon re-import into Scrivener.

As for my Scrivener workflow - I outline, then cut that up into files/folders each representing 10-15 minutes of final screentime (I’m a big advocate of Paul Gulino’s Sequence Approach). I never ever use Scrivener’s outline view myself, preferring to work outlines out as a straight text file and then cut that up using Cmd-k. Each paragraph of my outline then becomes the enclosing folder for the constituent scenes.

Scenes get either a file or a folder of files inside each 10-15 minute sequence folder. I colour every text file red or yellow or something to represent state of completion: review; to do; polish; done (or similar) and when all or most of the files in the binder are green I go out to Final Draft to make it look nice on the page.

Of course that all sounds so simple; it doesn’t include the months of frustration, mental torture, self-loathing, procrastination, blood, sweat and tears, but I assumed you already know about that part.

This will become very easy with Scrivener 2 - using the new “Import & Split” feature you will be able to import an .fdx file, have it broken up into scenes, and have the summary you assigned to each scene in Final Draft appear in the synopsis index card for each scene in Scrivener…

(I really must stop hyping Scrivener 2, though, as there is still so much to do on it…)

All the best,

DMJ isn’t the hyping your gig? Get to it and beat KB back into the cage so we can get 2.0 into the wild.


sounds like you use it very much the way i do and will. keep everything in scrivener. when i’m ready to write the script use fd 8. obviously fd 8 is better made for working on the actual draft with many tools.


when you export from scrivener to fd 8 or vice versa is there still an issue with odd characters ie: %#(&$ where it doesn’t transfer over perfectly? Or does it transfer 100% the same between the two?


Everything’s working beautifully. There were a couple of characters I never use that caused FD8 to refuse to open the FDX file, but seriously it was just a stupid “trying to break it” kinda test and I kinda just mangled my hands all over the keyboard to make them like one of these ¬ or ^ or something (sorry it’s 10.30pm here and I can’t be bothered to find out, but really if you need ¬ or ^ or whatever it was in your script you can make your own arrangements) :slight_smile:

I write 99% in Scrivener. I have a laptop and so the fn button + s / a / c / d works way better for me for changing elements. Plus I can see the whole script at a glance in the binder, with colours and nested folders etc. For me FD8 is really just for final prettying up and page layout the day I type FADE OUT(and an occasional very quick page count check). So I use FD to make my final pdfs, and some of its script report tools are good, I just avoid actually typing in FD until the very last minute (fixing orphan words, some last minute inspiration, or judicious cutting…)