Screenwriter James V. Hart (Hook, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Contact) has shared his story mapping technique dubbed the HartChart at screenwriting seminars and festivals across the country. To make his technique more accessible, Hart has teamed up with WriterDuet creator Guy Goldstein to create the HartChart app, an online, real-time collaborative story mapping tool.

Many screenwriters use whiteboards and note cards to map out their characters' emotional journeys and interactions. But, as we all know, making a series of adjustments to a whiteboard or note card can create clutter, confusion, and potential losses over time.

The HartChart app allows screenwriters to make adjustments easily to their story maps as well as add various supporting elements—such as images, audio, songs, and video—to convey specific story ideas. Additionally, the app allows users to invite other writers to collaborate on a story map in the app in real-time. Users can also import existing scripts into the app in order to see where their stories may be running into trouble.

The HartChart app launched at last year's Austin Film Festival, and over the past year, Goldstein has been updating the tool based on user feedback to make it more useful for screenwriters. Here's a quick intro that demonstrates how it works:

And here's screenwriter James V. Hart explaining how he developed the HartChart over the course of his career:

Key features of the app include:

  • Access to your online story maps from any computer
  • The ability to import your existing scripts or to create a new chart from scratch
  • Real-time collaboration with other screenwriters
  • Core story questions and signposts developed by screenwriter James V. Hart, which users can modify to suit their own story mapping needs
  • The ability to add your own story questions and signposts
  • Videos from Hart about story structure with specific examples
  • Example story charts from Hart
  • Access to live and recorded seminars with Hart and other screenwriters

If you would like to try the HartChart app to see if it's right for you, you can sign up for a 7-day free trial. Annual subscriptions for the HartChart cost $79, and a lifetime subscription costs $159. Students get 50% off the regular price. Use promo code NOFILMSCHOOL and get 20% off through Oct. 31, 2016. Subscriptions give you access to all future updates to the app.

Is this the story mapping tool you have been looking for? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

Top photo: 'Contact,' screenplay by James V. Hart 

Source: The HartChart