It took me about a week to work out the beat sheet for “Whisper” to the point that I was happy with the story line that had developed, and another two weeks to write out the 40 scenes that will make up the screenplay.By using the scene cards and the beat sheet, I was able to write the first 15 pages of the script in an hour.
This is quite a dramatic change for me and I like it. Instead of letting the story and characters develop as I write the first draft, I have a plan in place. I like it. I believe that my stories will have better structure, more conflict, and less meandering in the story line, because of it.
2 thoughts on “On Structure and Beat Sheets”
Thanks for posting this. I am curious if you could help explain Tom’s sheet more. Especially the colour coding? what exactly are the relationships of the same colour in different spots. I thought (for sure) the colours would be coded so that
catalyst debate break into 2 would match with (respectively)
all is lost dark night break into 3.
thanks for your time
The color coding is to break out the Acts and the last 10 pages of the script, Peter. It is also a reminder about which Act you need to ‘seed’ so that you aren’t suddenly throwing a sub-plot at a viewer that makes no sense. It may be easier to use this simple form which I use myself inside of a Word Document and I work out the plot line and trigger points. The Save the Cat method is still used as a Guideline to write all main stream scripts – but it is just that – a guideline. The numbers below are for page numbers where this should be happening. I also use this method to help flesh out my novels. Hope this helps.
THE BLAKE SNYDER BEAT SHEET
1. Opening Image (1):
2. Theme Stated (5):
3. Set-Up (1-10):
4. Catalyst (12):
5. Debate (12-25):
6. Break into Two (25):
7. B Story (30):
8. Fun and Games (30-55):
9. Midpoint (55):
10. Bad Guys Close In (55-75):
11. All Is Lost (75):
12. Dark Night of the Soul (75-85):
13. Break into Three (85):
14. Finale (85-110):
15. Final Image (110):