March 31, 2015 at 12:32PM

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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 8:10PM

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Anthony
Writer/Director
93

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

April 9, 2015 at 11:21AM

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Viktor Ragnemar
Director/Cinematographer
1084

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 1:07PM

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Graham Sheldon
Producer/DP
74

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 24, 2015 at 2:14AM

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Robert Ruffo
Director/DP
330

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