Archive | Beat Sheet

Plotting From Character

I’ve asked my friend Sharon to write a short article about plotting, because she plots from character as opposed to story. I wanted to provide you with an alternative means of breaking story and beginning the outline. Ultimately, every writer must find the process that best taps their natural gifts. Here’s what Sharon says: I […]

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“You Suck,” and Other Things You’d Love To Scream at Someone Giving You Notes on Your Script

I’m writing again about giving and receiving notes because it’s important. In this last week, I’ve had two hard notes sessions (giving notes). Okay, we’re adults. We can admit it. Getting notes is hard. It’s usually shocking. We pour our heart and soul into something, we hear the notes, feel that the person “doesn’t get […]

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What, Technically, is a “Beat” in a Screenplay?

A writer friend of mine emailed asking me to better describe what is a screenwriting “beat.” Here’s the skinny. This is actually a point of confusion for many people, and I recall it was very confusing to me when I started at film school because there are actually three kinds of beats, but people just […]

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Do Not Write What’s Not on Screen

Okay, we all know, “Show, don’t tell!” I will never forget my sophomore English teacher hitting that point home with a sledgehammer every class. As a screenwriter, I hear, “Exposition is bad.” Now I have a better understanding of what this really means. With screenwriting, it’s fairly simple, actually, but hard to do well and […]

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Screenwriting Homework: Beat Sheets

Screenplay is about structure. Structure isn’t a random fascist convention designed to sabotage and infuriate would-be screenwriters: it’s a means for the reader and audience to know where we are in the journey. Structure as it relates to screenplay is a tool to help writers develop and increase the dramatic stakes of their story. Everything […]

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