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Final Draft Reader for iPad hopes to replace paper scripts

For over 15 years, the film industry has been undergoing a steady transition to digital. First it was editing that was primarily affected, as programs like Avid Media Composer and Final Cut Pro offered better alternatives than reel-to-reel cutting. Next came shooting on digital video, instead of physical film. But perhaps the last film production holdout to make the leap from physical to digital is the paper script.

Sure, since the 1990s there has been screenwriting software, but even those scripts needed to be printed out so cast members could do table reads and production staffers could carry the scripts around with them on sets. All that's set to change, though, thanks to Final Draft Reader for iPad.

Final Draft Reader is just that, an iPad reader for your Final Draft scripts. However, in the way the app handles your scripts on the iPad, they behave just like printed drafts. Final Draft Reader displays scripts on your iPad exactly as you would see them in printed form. They are paginated perfectly to industry standards. When you open the app you can select from all the scripts you've imported. Tapping on one opens the script and you can then proceed to swipe from one page to the next (alá how you turn pages in iBooks -- cool page flip animations and all).

In addition to simply reading the script, you can also highlight one or more characters' lines (helpful for table-reads), and add notes with the tap of your finger. A lot of thought went into making this app for its target audience: cast and production crew (in the image above, cast members of From The Grave do their first paperless table read). You can see a complete list of Final Draft Reader's features here.

Final Draft has even added some nice eye candy, like the realistic pulpy-looking background of the pages. Share options include email, printing, and Dropbox sharing all from within the app. The only negative I see with the app is its lack of iCloud's Documents in the Cloud support, but hopefully Final Draft will add that soon.

Final Draft Reader is a great tool that will help eliminate the need to print out paper scripts (and reprint them every time there is a little change). I highly recommend it for anyone who is in the film industry. And fear not, though Final Draft Reader is just that -- a reader for scripts written in Final Draft for OS X or Windows -- the company is planning on releasing a full iPad editing tool, Final Draft Writer for iPad, later this year. Final Draft Reader is available in the App Store for $19.99.

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