There was once a sketch on Smack the Pony where a hapless temp sits in front of a computer screen, her finger tremblingly poised over the keyboard. Gathering up her courage she presses one key and the whole computer explodes.
Well that’s how I feel confronted with the behemoth that is Final Draft. I know that once I’m up and running, it will make the script writing process so much easier. I know it does amazing formatting tricks. And that when you finally type The End, you can look over a polished, pristine script that reeks of professional. But for now, as a total beginner, it makes me feel as though I’m taking an exam on the inner workings of the Inland Revenue. It’s so big! So confusing! It keeps asking me things! And I’m convinced that the tone of the questions FD asks me are becoming more and more exasperated. Do you really want to do this? Are you sure? Do you actually want to save this? So this is what I’ve done so far.
1. Read the tutorial. Skipped bits. Got confused. Sulked. Shut the tutorial and had a biscuit.
2. Taken myself in hand in a stern manner and gone back to read the tutorial Properly this time. Had another biscuit.
3. Tried typing bits to see if anything bad happens.
4. Gone back over my actual script littered with supportive notes like too expensive and be funnier and think of a way of doing The Great Fire of London on the cheap from my producer. Noticed sadly that a bad line typed in a professional format is still very much a bad line. Sulked more.
5. Typed the title page.
6. Sat back and looked at it admiringly. For a long time. Ate two more biscuits.
I know what’s going to happen. By the time I’ve mastered FD, I’ll have a decent script but will have to be cut out of my house by firemen using specialist equipment.