Blake says that before you begin your script you must place all your index cards on 'THE BOARD'. If you do it correctly you will have 40 cards & no more. Each index card represents one scene. (STC) PG 102 RB'S APRIL CONTENT CHALLENGE
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Different methodologies work for different people—to each their own. :)
I tried it for one project. I found it hard going because I rarely write by hand now - even notes on card, and I don't really use the note format in Scrivener or FD. However, I soldiered on and I got down to the mandatory 40 cards. The process didn't result in a perfect structure, or a total restructure, but the doing of if threw up a set piece, consolidation of scenes, and some duplication I was able to cut. And I did have fun shifting scenes around and raising the tension. I think I might try it again on the same project and on a w-i-p which I'm writing out as a long-form treatment right now. When I attempt to convert this treatment into the outline (frame for the movie structure), I think this process could be useful. It's always hard to evaluate "candidate scenes" to include in your movie, so the index card method could be a good way to do it.
I love Save the cat. Here is my board for my current project... I've since labeled it and created a digital version in Numbers. If interested I'd love to share it.
That's what Blake says, but what do you say?
THERE ARE NO RULES! You’re trying to apply some “rule” to the process. Obviously a script based on 39 cards must be inferior – eh? If 40 cards is good - why isn’t 41 cards better? You’re missing the point. A compelling story will naturally have an ebb and flow; it will find its own rhythm and sequence and it WILL suffer if you try to force it. I’ve tried cards on corkboards, I’ve used whiteboards, I’ve plastered my studio windows with post-it notes, I’ve hung cards on string lines strung in the studio and I’ve used the card system in Final Draft. They all work to some degree and there are times that that concept doesn’t work so well. The point is to find what works for you.
I use the beat sheet as a guide but only if it fits my story. I never use cards because I think of the scenes as I go.
I know I've said this before, but there very well are a whole bunch of concrete rules that a writer must utilize in writing a story. There better be a premise. There better be a set-up and a pay-off. There better be someone/someones trying to gain something. There better be some ways to prevent that gain from going so smoothly. There better be some twists. There better be a climax. There better be rising action. There better be a plot. There better be pacing. There better be effective dialogues. There better be main characters who aren't one-dimensional, who are active, and who have dramatic needs. There better be scenes, sequences and plot points. There better be conflict and tension. There better be struggle/struggles. There better be some universal feelings that we can relate to, no matter how foreign or cerebral the subject matter of the story may utilize as the vehicle that moves the story along. Those are rules that I'm sure we can all agree on. And I"m not even mentioning a B-story, reversals, archetypes, transformations, catharses, subtextual dialogues, or epiphanies or other dramatic elements and devices that are pretty essential to brilliant drama.
Outlines only. No index cards. But have no doubt it works. Different strokes for different folks. trying hard not to recite the Different Strokes theme song
Bill – you and I must agree to disagree on this matter (maybe we have a semantics issue.) I contend that there are no rules in screenwriting although there are many deeply entrenched customs and traditions that I advise new writers to know, understand and follow if they seek success. Every story has a natural ebb and flow; a certain rhythm – some good, some not so much. I agree that there must be a premise, a plot, a beginning, middle, end and interesting characters, intertwined A and B story and so much more. To me – I see these as laws of story nature. Not man’s imposed rules. If you drive too fast around a corner and break nature’s law of the coefficient of friction, you and your car wind up in a ditch. If you drive too fast and get caught, then you’ve broken a driving rule – and you’ll pay a fine.
I agree with Doug. There is no set formula. Compelling story & characters is key.
There is no right or wrong answer here. I have written screenplays using the Save the Cat beat sheet as a guide an I have written screenplays without using any formula whatsoever. The results have been about 50/50 so I really don't think it makes any difference as long as the script turns out good when I finish writing it.