The Screenwriter’s Board – What is it? | Writer Tips

Screenwriter's Board

[Post Updated August 7, 2018] (I need to write a new artcile updating my current boarding process… bother me enough and I will.)

I got five whole pages done this weekend on my screenplay. I think I am going to write an article soon on finding the time to write. Hopefully, I will learn some things.

Today I am going to talk to you about The Screenwriter’s Board — and how it is fantastic.

WHAT IS A SCREENWRITER’S BOARD?

In developing my script, I decided to set up a screenwriter’s board for the first time.  I have always wanted to do this, and it’s a lot of fun. Screenwriter’s boards come in all shapes and sizes but perform the same function. They are tangible forms of your story and how it is structured. Some boards are small and use post-it notes, some are bigger and use index cards. Some boards are on a wall; others are on a flat surface. I enjoy using colored index cards and a cork board. For now, I will assume you know what index cards are as they relate to screenwriting. I may write an article on index cards later.

WHAT YOU NEED

First, go out and buy your board!  Figure out what size and type you want. I got a cork board for $15 at Walmart. Once you have your board, divide it into four sections using tape or a marker. Top row is act one, 2nd row is the first half of act 2 ending at the midpoint, 3rd row is 2nd half of act 2 ending at the act 3 break, and the last row is act 3. From here you just take your index cards and put them up on the board. You should end with around 9-11 cards per row. Each card represents a scene, or sequence of scenes, such as CAR CHASE.  I use colored index cards. In the picture above I have BLUE cards as the main story, RED cards as action, PURPLE cards as B-story, and GREEN cards as C-story. This helps me visually see the flow of the story and improve on my pacing. You can use whatever colors you want, or no colors at all.

WHY THE BOARD IS HELPFUL FOR STRUCTURE

I find the board extremely helpful. Look at the end of act 3 in the picture. There is a big hole in my story, and I know this because it is right in front of my face. The board lets you know where your story is light or heavy. Another great thing about the board is how you can switch index cards around at will.  Changing the sequence of scenes has never been so easy! If you want, you can take all the cards down and bring them with you. Shuffling them around and improving on them during class, church, or the bar. The board is also a great way to procrastinate before actually writing. I have procrastination down to an art form. In the end, the board means nothing… but I think it greatly helps the writing process.

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