Film School: Screenwriting with the Beat Sheet

Beat Sheet Template | No Film School Beat Sheet Template | No Film School

Resources for articulating and communicating your story.

A film pitch will often involve running through the main beats of the story – and a beat sheet can help to crystalize the events of the story, for the storyteller as well as the audience. Jason Hellerman has provided No Film School a bunch of resources, including a beat sheet template:

Beat Sheet template (via No Film School)
Beat Sheet template (via No Film School)
  1. The First Frame
  2. The World Of The Story
  3. Protagonist Introduction
  4. Character Traits
  5. The Emotional Hurdle
  6. The Physical Hurdle
  7. The Reason Forward
  8. The Decision to Try
  9. Why We’re Here
  10. Antics and Escapades
  11. Consequences and Casualties
  12. The Final Straw
  13. Rock Bottom
  14. The Bounce Back
  15. Triumphs
  16. The Final Frame

Save The Cat!

Blake Snyder‘s Save The Cat! Beat Sheet offers a guide “for storytelling fundamentals and mechanics of plot and character transformation”. Jessica Brody demonstrates how the model, designed for an entire story, can also be used to structure scenes or chapters within a story:

Never “And Then…”

There’s always the basic, fundamental check-in answer to the question, “Is my story working?” in this lesson from South Park‘s Trey Parker and Matt Stone (via Entertain the Elk):

Further Viewing

StudioBinder breaks down into beats the stories of films such as Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Interstellar (2014) and Parasite (2020):

It’s only through writing scripts that you learn specifics about the structure of film,” says director Akira Kurosawa. “All you need is a paper and pen.” (via Screencraft):

Film Courage asked a host of screenwriters for their tips to compile their 22 Most Common Screenwriting Mistakes:

With your structure defined, it’s time to write – and, crucially, to format correctly:

Film is a visual medium – and while your film pitch will benefit from a beat sheet for its story, it will also benefit from visual research and referencing:

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