With three stories working simultaneously, the whole set had to work in perfect sync with characters leaving and arriving at very specific times in the script. The easiest way to put something this big into my brain is to break it down into its parts, so I
designed a tool to help me sort it out - I built a model. I started with a top diagram of the location which I drew using a satellite photo, and made little paper cutouts of all of the characters, known objects, and the ‘set’ with roughed-in tables and scripted props. Then I put the characters for all three stories on the board in their starting positions - and just started running the whole script very slowly.
Because I had to track three stories at once, I decided to break the script up into “beats”, which I defined as 'chunks of time during which a manageable number of events happened' inside each story. This ended up being about 1/3 of a page of the three-columned script that Molly made; I drew horizontal lines across each page, and assigned each one a number that would be the same for all three stories in sync. Then, using the model, I arranged where each character had to be in each story beat, and I’d move them to the next place they needed to be for the next beat. For each beat, I took a picture of where everyone was on the board.
What I ended up with was a beat-by-beat blocking chart of where the script demanded everyone needed to be to keep the story on track, and I could then use that as a bird’s eye view of each act as a whole moving entity. After that I could get into blocking each story on it’s own with details about set pieces and making sure the characters moving in and out always had a place to land and launch.
I also used it to create a script supervisors log using colored arrows for each beat, so our scripty and first AD always knew where people needed to be - which was quite a challenge
once twenty-plus people got on their feet!