Final Draft 9 Activation IssuesComplications Ensue
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Sunday, April 06, 2014

The people at Final Draft were kind enough to send me a review copy of Final Draft 9, their snappy new edition of the software.

I've been using it on my current show; I'm not a big fan of Screenwriter's not-very-intuitive interface. I haven't run across any really dandy new features, except that Script Notes are now organized. I'm sure there must be other features; I was going to look them up next week.

However, now I've got a more basic problem. After, originally, activating the software with no problem, FD9 has now decided to deactivate itself. No problem, I put my customer number back in.

Nope, this time, it won't activate. I get a buggy error message:

No problem. I call up the activation hotline. I get a message saying FD9 can only be activated online. And here's where it gets serious:

The activation people only work Monday-Friday, during Pacific Coast work hours.

Uh, what?

Y'all do know that screenwriters work on weekends? And nights?

Are you effing kidding me?

In this era of 24-7 Bangalore help centers, it is really inexcusable to have a help desk that only works 40 hours a week, Pacific Standard Time.

They really, really need to fix this.

Oh, well. Back to FD8.

(Yeah, yeah, DMc. I know.)

UPDATE:  Final Draft 9 will also not update itself unless it thinks it's been activated. That's just dumb. Doesn't matter though; even if I update from outside the program, it still won't activate.

UPDATE #2:  Called the Activation Hotline. Something's wrong with that. It's the usual "press one for Final Draft 6 through 8..." except it doesn't wait for you to press a button before telling you "I didn't get that" repeatedly.

UPDATE #3:  This post solves the activation problem.


Final Draft takes a pretty abusive approach to its customers.

Any chance the industry will switch to something faster and more reasonable, like Fadein Pro?

By Blogger Tom Chandler, at 5:40 PM  

And it's not like that error code says much. It basically says everything is NULL. Wow. Crazy.

By Blogger Jennifer, at 10:52 PM  

FINAL DRAFT never, ever, ever changes. They have an anti-customer service department.

By Blogger DMc, at 12:24 AM  

Even if you do inexplicably stay with Final Draft (Alex, you're the only guy I've ever met who can't seem to learn Screenwriter easily -- a program that's way more stable and has none of these bullshit issues) you should never, ever, ever buy their software for at least one year after the Version upgrade.

They have had major, crazy, maddening, productivity eating fuck ups in V5, 6, 7, and now 9. I don't know what was going on with 8. Maybe there were issues. I don't know because I didn't buy it for 14 months after release.

They clearly don't do their beta testing vigorously enough. At this point it's purely caveat emptor.

By Blogger DMc, at 1:27 PM  

Runs fine for me...

By Blogger ChRiS, at 4:01 PM  

I gave up on FD years back and switched to Movie Outline. Much more intuitive, less bugs, more story writing tools and very friendly and responsive customer support. I guess the bigger the company gets the more detached they get from their customers. Hey ho.

By Blogger Richard Abbott, at 5:21 AM  

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