As I am writing this post, the second season of “B-City” is in pre-production. One of the artifacts being generated is a “stripboard”. You may have heard that a movie is usually filmed “out of sequence”. The stripboard documents and keeps track of the order of shooting.
A stripboard (A.K.A production board or production strip) is a filmmaking term for a chart displaying color-coded strips containing information about each scene in the film’s shooting script. The strips can then be rearranged and laid out sequentially to represent the order of filming. This is done to allow and keep track of filming “out of sequence”, a common occurrence.
The 1st Assistant Director is typically the creator and maintainer of the stripboard.
Historically, one formed a stripboard using strips of colored paper attached to cardboard or wood; the strips would be manually positioned.
Today, a stripboard is digital. It may be constructed in a traditional spreadsheet, or can be built using an automation scheduling software tool as provided by companies such as Movie Magic, Gorilla, or Studio Binder. If a tool is used, the script will be imported into the tool, so the script must be properly formatted.
The stripboard consists of different types of “strips”.
The “scene strip” is the main strip type. Typically, one populates each scene strip with the following details:
- Scene Number
- Interior / Exterior
- Script Location (e.g. Joe’s house, where Joe is a character)
- Scene description
- Day / Night
- Characters (labeled as a Cast ID for quick reference)
- Shooting Location (e.g., Alan’s house, the actual physical location representing Joe’s house)
- Total page count (counted in 1/8ths)
One can provide additional detail as desired.
Each scene strip is color-coded. The usual standard is as follows (but companies providing tools to create stripboards may have different color schemes):
Additional strip types include:
- Company Move – This strip is inserted where the shoot location is changing.
- Daybreak – This strip marks end of a shooting day.
- Boneyard – This is an “archive” of strips no longer a part of the project. One example is a removed scene.
Once all the scenes are documented in the stripboard, the strips can be reordered to fall in the order to be shot (i.e., it can be used to generate a shooting script). The shooting location may be the most important factor so all the strips for a given location would be made contiguous. Other factors will be taken into account to decide the final order, such as availability of actors, crew, equipment, or location; and limitation on shooting days.
A stripboard is a living document, subject to continual updating, even after the production phase has commenced.
As I continue my adventures in the entertainment industry, I am always observing and learning new things. The stripboard is a very important artifact used in production. It is one piece of objective evidence used to keep all cast and crew in the know about the shooting schedule.
Please provide your thoughts and questions in the comments. I would really enjoy hearing from you. If you have a topic in mind you would like me to cover, please let me know.
Disclaimer: Mention of any company or its product does not imply an endorsement by the author of this post. The author is not being compensated by any company.