Tuesday, August 5, 2008

My Beat Sheet

I have mentioned my beat sheet several times now. I guess that it is not obvious what that is to everyone.

A beat sheet helps you with the structure of the movie script.

Mine is a landscape A3 with four rows and thirty columns. Each box represents a page in the future script. On the top row I have deleted the five leftmost boxes and on the bottom row I have deleted the five rightmost boxes.

This gives me 25 “pages” on the top row, representing act one, 30 “pages” on the second row representing the first half of act two and 30 “pages” on the third row representing the second half of act two, and finally 25 “pages” on the fourth and last row representing act three.

I use the structure taught by Blake Snyder. According to him the break into act two should be on page 25, which is my rightmost box on the top row. The midpoint should be on page 55 which is my rightmost box on the second row and the break into act three is the rightmost box on the third row which will become page 85.

I have also marked out sections and key pages, like “Fun and Games” from page 30 to page 54 and “All is lost” on page 75 followed by “Dark Night of the Soul” on pages 76 to 84.

This might sound stiff and uninspiring.

But structure is important. Stiff and uninspiring as it may be it is still vital to keep an established structure unless your script is a bohemian experimental film.

It does not need to be Blake Snyder’s ideas of course but I felt that they suited me.

Illustration used under the GNU Free Documentation License