Thursday, July 17, 2008
Someone, I forget who, asked about beat sheets and what they were. They are part of Blake Snyder's toolkit for plotting the story of a screenplay.
One of Blake Snyder's thesis is that all films share certain beats/points. You could say that it is a slight refinement on Vogler's theory. Certainly, it makes sense. Fifteen turning points that all commercial movies share: from the opening image to final image. From the theme stated to the fun and games of the premise realised. It is all about structure and really making sure they are there. You can find a sample of the beat sheet under the tools section on his website.
His blog is excellent btw. For example, he does a good explanation of why Indiana Jones 1 & 3 work a bit better than 2 &4. He loved them all by the way, but in terms of Story, 1 & 3 have more going for them.
Actually the more I thought about, the more I realised that my books also share the fifteen points. And if I can say what the points are, then I stand a better of chance of having a solid structure.
Note: the current Viking does meet the beat sheet test, but I keep wondering IF I chose the wrong B story and IF it would have worked better another way. can you tell I am sitting on my hands waiting for my editors' thoughts and the Crows of Doubt are circling?
It is one of those things. Some times, just a different point of view about craft can send your thoughts in a different direction.