Bela Lampert

Optioned Screenwriter / Yoga Instructor

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Creating Acts and Beats in Arc Studio


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Let’s look at the outlining features of Arc Studio a little bit now.

With Arc Studio open, be it in the browser or as downloaded desktop app, if you’re in the script view, click on the “Plot board” icon in the upper right corner. The “Plot board” icon is the one with the two columns of different length.

Arc Studio Plot Board IconThe Plot Board

Arc Studio’s plot board opens, and you see nothing, because we haven’t created anything yet.

Arc Studio Plot BoardIn the middle of the plot board yo u see a big button that says, “Add first beat”, and below you see a couple of made-for-you outline structures, in case you want to get going with one of those.

Which we don’t, at least for now. We’ll look at outline templates, but not today.

What we want to do now is see how we can create a new outline from scratch ourselves. It’s not very hard to do.

Creating Acts

First, we need to create an act, because that’s where beats go into later. So, click on the “Add act” button at the top of the screen and … Voilá, a new act appears.

Arc Studio New ActAnd when I say act, these are called acts in Arc Studio, but it’s really just a column in which you can place beats, so whatever story structure system you want to use, if it doesn’t have acts, just forget the term “act” and think of it as a simple column.

Creating Beats

Now that we have our first act, we see that Arc Studio already has placed a new beat in our new act, because that’s what we’re going to do next anyway: add more beats.

In order to do that, we just click where it says “Add beat”, right below the beat in our shiny new act that is already there, and that’s it. We can create as many beats as we want.

We can also use the “plus” at the top of the act column, that will also add new beats in this act.

Yet another way to add beats is, if the beat is closed – you can open it by just clicking on it and close it with the little arrow in its upper right corner – if the beat is closed you can click the “plus” on that beat to create a new beat right below it.

This way you can insert a new beat between two existing ones.

And that’s basically it for creating beats and acts.


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