MFB writes: “Since I like this kind of stuff I thought I’d share some boards that I’ve collected from writers’ rooms of other shows and one movie.
About the Breaking Bad boards: The stories were spun and broken to cards in the room. Then the cards were taken off of the board and photocopied and the photocopies were used as outlines to write the scripts from. (I found it odd that there wasn’t any deviation from the board to the outline.)
Joe, it would be much appreciated if you could post pictures of boards from any episode but in particular a board from “Wormhole X-treme!” would be great. It is one of my favorites and includes a cameo from one of my favorite writers (guess who?). It would also go nicely with my script of that episode.”
Great stuff, MFB. And thanks for the link. Unfortunately, I don’t have photographs of any of the stories we put up on the white board. Right after we’d finish breaking, I would copy everything to my laptop and work off that word document, filling it in as I built my outlines. I do know, however, that Martin Gero used to snap a photo of his white board breakdowns and work off those. I don’t know if he kept any of the pics for posterity’s sake (or “prosperity’s sake” as one of my former girlfriends used to say), but you could ask him over at: https://twitter.com/martingero
As for the various photos (history of the Stargate writers’ room whiteboard – see yesterday’s blog entry), I offer you the following insights:
1. CARL DIGGING IN: The writers’ room was also the defacto screening room, impromptu meeting room, and lunch room. Pictured here, our mischievous fellow Executive Producer/Writer about to dig into his bag of take-out. Behind him, on the white board, initial work on the episode that would become Millers Crossing.
2. SNACKING: Over the course of my time on Stargate, I would occasionally receive gifts in the mail from fans. Here, I sample a sweet treat compliments of longtime blog reader Carolina who, in addition to tasty dessert, also sent along some canned duck! Behind me, the breakdown of Miller’s Crossing is complete. And, as usual, we would always include a little note for the cleaning crew: DO NOT ERASE!
3. THE RED IMP: This little goblin compliments of artist (and former in-house digital and playback supervisor Krista McLean). She put it up on a far corner of the white board and there it remained for over a season – until my writing partner, Paul, eventually got creeped out and erased it.
4. SURVIVOR STARGATE STYLE: Martin Gero pitched out an idea for the episode that would eventually become Trio. In his basic premise, McKay and…someone ended up trapped for the entirety of the episode. But who? Should we trap him with Carter? Or Keller? Or maybe both Carter and Keller. After much discussion, we decided to put it to a Survivor style vote. Each writer scribbled their anonymous picks on a piece of paper. Martin each one in turn and let the democratic process decide!
5. FOXY LOXY WITH FLOPPY SOCKSIES: Every time I would upload a photo from the writers’ room to this blog, I would be extra careful to ensure I never unintentionally revealed spoilers for the upcoming season. In this case, I decided to go the opposite route and “unwittingly” intentionally post the breakdown of a fictitious episode in which every act ends with our heroes facing certain death…only to come back after commercial where we reveal it was all a simulation designed to train them for the REAL mission. After a string of successive fakeouts, the team is finally ready to head out on the mission…which will have to wait until Part II. I was surprised that a couple of eagle-eyed fans were actually able to decipher my scrawl and offer a clear translation of the story. Even more surprised that a couple of fans actually said: “This would make a great episode!”
6. THE BW SPECIAL: Placeholder titles are always a pain in the ass. They ranged from all-encompassingly general to annoyingly specific. In this case, we all knew what a BW (Brad Wright) Special promised: a strange scenario, cool SF elements, and great character moments. The rest invariably wrote itself.
7. ATLANTIS 5: After production had ended on a season and the cast and crew had left, the writer-producers would assemble and start preparing for next year. There was nothing more frightening than a blank white board, so one of us made the effort to get us started.
8. CARL’S GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST STORY: It seemed that half of the scripts Carl Binder wrote for the show were ghost-related. Either our heroes were seeing ghosts or dealing with ghosts or becoming ghosts themselves or some variation thereof. So we thought it only appropriate that we assign him the special Stargate Christmas episode.
9. PREPPING SEASON 5: Martin Gero goes through some ancient documents from the storage closet. On the white board behind him are the seeds to some season 5 story ideas, some of which made the cut (Joe’s Ronon/Tyre story became Broken Ties) while others did not (my Wages of Fear story would have rocked…if I had actually been successful in coming up with five acts and a tease).
10. SHHHHHH: The secrecy of the writers’ room. In response to the network’s request for a “Green episode”, Martin Gero comes up with Snow Globe – which would later be renamed Brainstorm.
11. SQUIGGLE GUY: I honestly don’t remember. I want to say it was our artist’s rendition of the unintentionally hilarious Pepto Bismal monster from Ephiphany, but the timeline doesn’t match up.
12. AU SEASON 6: Ah, what might have been. I offered insight into these potential stories here: September 30, 2008: An AU Season 6!, including Alan McCullough’s infamous Hamster Ball pitch.
13. DOSTOYEVSKY IN THE ROOM: The breakdown for SGU’s Crime and Punishment which would later be renamed Justice.
14. 12 12 12: Heated debates on the logic of proposed SF, particularly time travel-related pitches would always involve diagrams. This was, I believe, a rather straightforward explanation of the time travel logic grounding Twin Destinies.
15. CARL AND…?: I honestly don’t recall. What were we discussing here? Ship to ship transmissions? Gravity wells? Oreos?
16. SPACE FLOWERS: Well, that’s definitely Destiny. Not sure what the deal was with the space flowers. Perhaps some drawings to inspire us for the episode Faith?
17. PURSUIT: Pretty obvious, huh? Alien vessels/drones pursue Destiny, forcing it to fly through a nearby star to lose them.
18. IT WAS ALL A DREAM: A gag, sure, but we’ve done plenty of variations (Home, The Real World, Remnants) to name but a few.
19. INCURSION: The rough beats to the Incursion two-parter that was originally envisioned as a one-parter.
20. DESTINY VS. THE SPACE DOLPHINS: Ah, the space dolphins. A riff on the whales we introduced back on Stargate: Atlantis. In a later episode, First Strike, it was suggested Atlantis abandon the planet, leaving it to be destroyed. Robert Cooper objected to this solution on the grounds that we had gone through all the trouble of establishing and saving those whales, only to abandon them. I suggested a compromise where, as Atlantis rises up off the planets surface, we see the whales sprout wings and fly off for safer skies. Martin Gero dubbed them Whangels. Alas, they didn’t make the cut. 🙁
21. ELVEN FOOT: I believe this is one of those cases where we misheard the actual title, but the mistaken title was simply too good to dismiss.
22. POST-LUNCH MALAISE: A typical post-lunch scene includes a sleepy Lawren Bancroft-Wilson, my hot sauces, and remnants of lunch. Behind Lawren, the breakdown of an episode involving Amanda Perry.
23. YOUR GUESS IS AS GOOD AS MINE: Ship to ship communications? Gravity wells? Oreos?