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The Strip Board
Also known as the production board, the strip board is an effective way to assist the production team by organizing the order at which the scenes are shot. This is especially helpful for productions that include multiple locations, or even the availability of particular actors. However, before creating the strip board and organizing each scene, you must read through the entire screenplay, take notes (special effects that may take awhile to shoot, fight scenes, continuity issues), and be sure to mark the scenes.
Why is it called a ‘strip board’? The strip board includes columns or strips that may be cut out, arranged, and interchanged accordingly. Usually, the strips are tacked onto a cork board for easy access and accessible for any last minute order changes. Digital strip boards and scheduling software, such as Entertainment Partners’ Movie Magic Scheduling Software is now available.
Once all of the scenes are on their own strip, organize them based on location (usually the availability of the location is the most common determination for organizing production schedules). However, if an actor is available only during a certain number of days, you may need to organize his or her scenes together and plan to shoot them at the same time.
Other issues that may determine the order at which you shoot is whether any of your characters have altered their appearance in the story (such as dyed hair color or beards). If your character has a beard at the beginning, but shaves it off later, plan to shoot accordingly. You must always consider continuity! A good hair/ makeup team may be a good investment for your project if you must consider scheduling around other requirements instead.
The main objective for creating a strip board is to get an idea of the order at which you will be able to shoot the scenes, day by day, scene by scene, and to estimate how long it will take to shoot. The diagram below is an example of a strip board set up for an entire day shoot based on location (INT. and EXT. CLUB).
*Logically this would take longer to shoot a total of 5-7/8 pages of screenplay, and in reality this location would have to be broken down into at least two or three long days.
When scheduling a production that lasts longer than one day, consider the turnaround time! Usually, this is a period of at least 8 hours between shooting hours. If working with unions, consider their specifications. Your cast and crew will definitely need the rest!
Refer to the Diagram (click on image to enlarge):
Each strip is organized with the following details: Scene #, D/N (day or night), INT/ EXT (interior/ exterior), continuity day (day # in story), and the total number of pages the scene plays out (counted in 1/8ths).
Other information on the strip includes the following: location (in the screenplay); characters (each labeled with a particular number); extras; and scene description.
Some strip boards may also include more information, such as special notes that may include special effects and/or set dressings and props (this may not be necessary if you have the information listed on your script breakdown sheets and/or other production forms.)