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BPC-Screenplay is a software program designed for screenwriters and writer-directors, which has recently (March 2008) been ratified by the UK Government Curriculum Online programme for use in UK Schools and Colleges. BPC-Screenplay has been developed by the Berlin Picture Company in Germany.

Pre-production and Development[edit]

Scripts and screenplays traditionally contain 4 main categories of information, referring to location (place), action (events), characters (people) and dialogue (direct and indirect speech), with secondary references to time of day, music and cinematic effect, (slow motion, mixes, etc.) and follow a structure established soon after the introduction of synchronous sound recording for cinema films. The basic convention is that location and events are written across the page, while characters and dialogue are centred. Broadcast television revised this structure by placing speech towards the right hand side of the page and introduced a wider range of notion for technical purposes, mainly associated with the needs of 'live' broadcasts. There are many variations on these basic layouts devised by production companies and broadcasters around the world for different production forms and genres. More complex notations, drawing from dance, or orchestral scores have not been adapted, or found necessary, for mainstream production. The four main categories of a traditional script, however, provide only a partial description of the potential production, which constrain the writer's conceptualisation of their work and expression of their ideas.

The digitalisation of media production is changing the status of the script as a morphological framework for production, as requirements for 'cross media' production and wider training and media competences encourages the use of 'authoring' software, now widely established in TV newsrooms and increasingly in 'asset management systems' for broadcasters. Screenwriters often work freelance or on a speculative basis and do not have ready access to such industry-scale systems.

BPC-Screenplay contributes to this development by enabling the writer to work on a traditional script, while simultaneously creating and manipulating an animatic of their work which brings their dialogue to a timeline as audio from each speech, for combination with visuals (as jpeg files) and other audio (e.g. music) as wave files, from their own resources, or from the BPC-Screenplay Image Library. This enhances the level of visualisation available to the writer, allowing a feel for the rhythm and pacing of their work, while working on their script. The 'movie' can be seen before it goes into production.

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