March 31, 2015 at 9:32AM

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Beat sheet or not to beat sheet?

I've written screenplays, and outlines, synopsis, and treatment for screenplays. The question I have is what does the beat sheet do in this process?

4 Comments

For me, It's a way to review my 120 page idea in about 25-35 pages. Which simplifies major and minor changes before ending up with a shelf warmer that will likely never get rewritten.

April 7, 2015 at 5:10PM

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Anthony
Writer/Director
89

Isn't a beat sheet basically the outline of the story?

April 9, 2015 at 8:21AM

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Viktor Ragnemar
Director/Cinematographer
1123

I find beat sheets to be enormously helpful in establishing the moment to moment action in advance of writing the full screenplay.

I always write the treatment after the screenplay because it is usually intended as a pitch doc. Though - it is helpful to write that in advance of the full script as well to better formulate your story arch.

A beat sheet might look like this:

Establish location with quick montage of different parts of the building.

Intro main character in front of machine.

Flashback: We learn how main character gets the job.

Main character turns the machine on and starts working. Hand reaches in and shuts down machine.

A police officer is revealed.

Hard cut to interrogation room. Dialogue scene where we find out crime commited by main character.

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Anyway, you get the idea. I find beat sheets very helpful for figuring out the moment to moment flow of the story. No one other then the writer usually sees this doc.

April 10, 2015 at 10:07AM

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Graham Sheldon
Producer/DP
86

You can always tell a script that had no beat sheet. And that is a not a compliment to the script that had no beat sheet. I know very few writers who can create a well structured screenplay without one.

November 23, 2015 at 11:14PM

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Robert Ruffo
Director/DP
251

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