Planning for Creativity with plot and theme in mind?

December 10, 2019
Bob Eckhard


Hi all,

Okay, following on from the last post in which I eulogised on the benefit of mounted white boards for keeping track on the development of projects, today I’d like to introduce you to what I term my screenplay ‘structure board.’

Unlike, my admin boards, this board is not attached to the wall for two excellent reasons:

  1. I don’t have enough wall space for it
  2. I like to be able to sit and look at my board as I mull structure issues and think about planning/character.

I need to add here that I am indebted to Scott Myer’s sessions at London Screenwriter Festival in 2018 in which he spoke about the two stories that occur in every (good) film. One being the saga itself  – aka PLOTLINE. The other being the THEMELINE in which we journey with the main character (hero) as they attempt to resolve their issues in order to achieve their goal.

As you will see from the photo of my planning board which has great resolution and can be downloaded by clicking here,  the PLOTLINE occupies 70% of the board and follows a 3 act structure of:

ACT 1 – top section           ACT 2a-next section down          ACT 2B- next line down    (and)          ACT 3  – bottom section

Likewise,  the THEMELINE occupies the remaining 30% of the board and has the same 3 act structure but deals with the changing emotional state of the hero as they progress through the story. The idea being to ensure that when developing your story, PLOT does not come at the expense of THEME and vice versa.

Okay, I hope you find it helpful. I have one more board to talk about next week before Christmas…

Til next time…

PS just to say that also found in the THEMELINE section are the actions and emotions of the antagonist, including their rasion d’être because the more vile and seemingly invincible the antagonist is, the greater the challenge and success of the hero who overcomes them.

Til next time…

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