A reminder about FD backup

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • A reminder about FD backup

    Folks, today I had another panicky email from someone whose script had been gobbled up and pooped out by Final Draft. In this case it was FD 8.

    The writer was supposed to give the script to his director today. Let me skip ahead and say that this case had a happy outcome (more about that later) — but that was unusual. Generally, these things turn out to be disasters.

    What happens is that someone tries to open a Final Draft script and receives some kind of screwy message that the file is not compatible with this version of Final Draft. When the person opens the .fdx file in a text editor, nothing is there (or there is a file full of NUL NUL NUL, etc.). I know that the file is unrecoverable when it has NUL NUL NUL. I am not sure about when it appears to be blank — but, if it looks blank, it probably is.

    In any case, I must have received about a half dozen of these requests for help in the last year. The files are never recoverable, and nobody has ever been able to explain exactly what happens.

    However, if you are religiously devoted to using Final Draft, let me offer a reminder. You should back up your work every day as a formatted text file and/or as a PDF created from within Final Draft.

    Here is the situation.

    (1) If you have a formatted text file, you may be able to use Final Draft to import that file with fair accuracy. And I know for certain that my favorite screenwriting program, Fade In, will import such a file with astonishing accuracy. I do not know if the trial version of Fade In will do conversions or not, but you could probably find someone with Fade In to convert it for you. Fade In will export back to Final Draft .fdx format. I have exchanged scripts with people whom I was helping, and I have never had any problems with the .fadein/.fdx conversions.

    (2) Fade In will also import PDF files that are created with some of the higher-quality PDF drivers. It imports FD-created PDF files with a high degree of accuracy. I always know that I will have very little cleanup to do if I have a PDF from Final Draft.

    In the case today the writer did not know about the automatic backups that Final Draft does. I explained to him how to find the backups, and — glory be! — he had a backup there. A happy ending to the story.

    For the record, I have had some people with this same problem who looked for the backups and found that these, too, were corrupt or were just not there. Sometimes people do not clearly explain things to me or they never follow up with the complete story. Anyway, you should not depend on the automatic backups alone, because, if Final Draft has a seizure, it may leave you with nothing at all. I would save as formatted text and/or PDF every day and also check the file to make sure that it is all right. You need to have a backup with which Final Draft will not be having any further contact.

    "The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." - ComicBent.

  • #2
    Re: A reminder about FD backup

    Thanks for the warning, ComicBent! I'm still using FD 7.1 because I'm working with a producer who uses FD and wants to do notes in revision mode.

    I back up after every use to Primo PDF. Is that OK?

    Late Night Writer

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: A reminder about FD backup

      Hi, LateNightWriter ...

      Yeah, you are kind of stuck with the software that "the man" wants you to use.

      A couple of observations.

      I have recommended PrimoPDF for years as a free PDF driver. There are others, too, but I cannot test them all.

      I created a PDF just now. I used Final Draft 9 and the PrimoPDF driver to make the PDF. The PDF opened flawlessly in Fade In, except that Fade In chopped off the first line of Page 1. For some reason, Fade In does this to a lot of files imported from other formats. It is only a problem with the first page.

      Just skimming through, I did not see any horribly garbled text anywhere. So I would say, yeah, you can use PrimoPDF.

      I still have a license for FD-7, but the program is so old that I do not have it on my computer anymore. Does FD-7 have a "text with layout" option? To the best of my recollection, it did not. Version 9 has that option, and it works well. I exported the same test file just now as «text with layout». It imported flawlessly into Fade In except, again, for the missing first line. I did not test an import of the text file back into Final Draft. I know from past experiences that Final Draft is not as accurate with importing as Fade In is.

      I have no financial involvement in Fade In. I just happen to believe that it is a superb screenwriting program. If you open a script (whether text, PDF, Final Draft, or rich text) in Fade In, you can export it to Final Draft .fdx format.

      If you want to try Fade In, there is a trial version of it on the Fade In website. I have a free QuickStart guide for it on my website, with PDF versions available in various sizes. Just click the US Letter size for the standard paper used in the USA. The C6 size is good for a medium-sized phone; the A6 for standard smart phones.

      "The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." - ComicBent.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: A reminder about FD backup

        Originally posted by ComicBent View Post
        The PDF opened flawlessly in Fade In, except that Fade In chopped off the first line of Page 1. For some reason, Fade In does this to a lot of files imported from other formats. It is only a problem with the first page.
        That's ironic, considering that 99% of first lines are 'FADE IN:'.

        Maybe it's cannibalism - Fade In is consuming all the FADE IN:s created by other screenwriting software, to make itself stronger. It's the only logical explanation.
        Know this: I'm a lazy amateur, so trust not a word what I write.
        "The ugly can be beautiful. The pretty, never." ~ Oscar Wilde

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: A reminder about FD backup

          You've convinced me, ComicBent. It is definitely on my priority list to get up to speed on Fade In. Thanks!

          Late Night Writer

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: A reminder about FD backup

            The first-line issue is really more complex, but it would be an exercise in triviality to explain it all here. It is actually the first paragraph that is affected, but the first paragraph is usually only one line, because it is typically FADE IN or a Scene Heading. It does not present any problem. You just have to restore it if it gets chopped.

            For those who use Fountain formatting and import into Fade In ... For a .fountain file, which is a text file, you can put the page-break code consisting of three equals signs === on the first line of Page 1, and that will prevent the chopping.

            "The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." - ComicBent.

            Comment

            Working...
            X