Web based app helps organize storylines
By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
When I worked as a producer’s assistant back in the early “00s” (how weird is that to write), one of her favorite ways to organize her story lines was through the tried and true method of the cork board and 3×5 note cards.
Although I’m more of a stream of consciousness kinda guy, I learned the benefits of this system because the writer could move story elements around, play with possibilities and lock in the basic timeline of the story and characters before even writing the first slug line.
Of course, in today’s fast paced, mobile and technology-driven society, it’s kinda hard to bring the cork board along with you. But as long as you have a computer, Amazon Studios’ Story Builder puts that cork board in the cloud for you to work on at any time. And it’s free, too.
Amazon Storybuilder is a cloud-based writing tool from Amazon Studios that can be used to create stories for Movies or TV. Amazon Storybuilder uses “notecards” to represent a single beat or event in a story, just as screenwriters have for years used actual physical notecards to represent story beats on corkboards around the world. – Storybuilder Website
Storybuilder is just what it says… A cloud based digital cork board. You open a new board and it starts with one note card under “Act 1.” Users can then add cards as needed and also add groups (i.e. Acts, etc.) as they work through their story. Then you can move them around, collapse the cards, and even drag a card to the lower left hand corner to delete. Couldn’t be easier.
But you can also tag the story, offer it up for feedback under the contributors link, print them, export them to PDF, and manage your cards. And users can even work on it via desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone. You can even use a Kindle, since the app is browser based.
And while Storybuilder is currently in Beta, I’m sure that ultimately it will be able to bridge over and work with Amazon’s other web based app, Amazon Storyteller, which enables users to build a storyboard based on a finished script.
How large or long a project will Storybuilder support? Amazon says that one Storybuilder Corkboard can hold 1000 cards (or roughly 20 full length screenplays per project). But if that isn’t enough (and who doesn’t have a great American novel in them), then users can simply add another corkboard to the same project and keep going with however many corkboards you need.
Some are concerned that because this is through Amazon Studios that the ePortal will exert at least partial ownership or take a cut of any project that is sold after being developed using Amazon Storybuilder. Amazon answers that in their FAQ where they quite clearly say NO.
“The purpose of Amazon Storybuilder is to help you construct your movie or TV show. It’s for your personal use,” as it says in the Amazon Storybuilder FAQ. “We don’t acquire any ownership or option rights in your property when you use Amazon Storybuilder.” But they go on to add that if users want to submit a project for Amazon Studios’ consideration, be it script, mini-bible, or video, that this is the point where users will need to start a new project and agree to the Development Agreement and Option Agreement.
To try Storybuilder yourself, visit amazonstudios.com/storybuilder and click on the “Start a new corkboard” button. Or, click on the “Start a new project” link in the top right corner of the Amazon Studios homepage.