Blake Snyder’s Beat Sheet

Save the CatThe Blake Snyder Beat Sheet is the best plot structure template I’ve come across.

It breaks down the three-act structure into bite-size, manageable sections, each with a specific goal for your overall story.

See my review of the Save the Cat books by Blake Snyder (where the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet originated), and buy the book. It’s a great resource!

Below is an explanation of each beat. Please see how it works with graphic novels by visiting Graphic Novel Story Structure. Thanks!

THE BLAKE SNYDER BEAT SHEET (aka BS2)

Opening Image – A visual that represents the struggle & tone of the story. A snapshot of the main character’s problem, before the adventure begins.

Set-up – Expand on the “before” snapshot. Present the main character’s world as it is, and what is missing in their life.

Theme Stated (happens during the Set-up) – What your story is about; the message, the truth. Usually, it is spoken to the main character or in their presence, but they don’t understand the truth…not until they have some personal experience and context to support it.

Catalyst – The moment where life as it is changes. It is the telegram, the act of catching your loved-one cheating, allowing a monster onboard the ship, meeting the true love of your life, etc. The “before” world is no more, change is underway.

Debate – But change is scary and for a moment, or a brief number of moments, the main character doubts the journey they must take. Can I face this challenge? Do I have what it takes? Should I go at all? It is the last chance for the hero to chicken out.

Break Into Two (Choosing Act Two) – The main character makes a choice and the journey begins. We leave the “Thesis” world and enter the upside-down, opposite world of Act Two.

B Story – This is when there’s a discussion about the Theme – the nugget of truth. Usually, this discussion is between the main character and the love interest. So, the B Story is usually called the “love story”.

The Promise of the Premise – This is the fun part of the story. This is when Craig Thompson’s relationship with Raina blooms, when Indiana Jones tries to beat the Nazis to the Lost Ark, when the detective finds the most clues and dodges the most bullets. This is when the main character explores the new world and the audience is entertained by the premise they have been promised.

Midpoint – Dependent upon the story, this moment is when everything is “great” or everything is “awful”. The main character either gets everything they think they want (“great”) or doesn’t get what they think they want at all (“awful”). But not everything we think we want is what we actually need in the end.

Bad Guys Close In – Doubt, jealousy, fear, foes both physical and emotional regroup to defeat the main character’s goal, and the main character’s “great”/“awful” situation disintegrates.

All is Lost – The opposite moment from the Midpoint: “awful”/“great”. The moment that the main character realizes they’ve lost everything they gained, or everything they now have has no meaning. The initial goal now looks even more impossible than before. And here, something or someone dies. It can be physical or emotional, but the death of something old makes way for something new to be born.

Dark Night of the Soul – The main character hits bottom, and wallows in hopelessness. The Why hast thou forsaken me, Lord? moment. Mourning the loss of what has “died” – the dream, the goal, the mentor character, the love of your life, etc. But, you must fall completely before you can pick yourself back up and try again.

Break Into Three (Choosing Act Three) – Thanks to a fresh idea, new inspiration, or last-minute Thematic advice from the B Story (usually the love interest), the main character chooses to try again.

Finale – This time around, the main character incorporates the Theme – the nugget of truth that now makes sense to them – into their fight for the goal because they have experience from the A Story and context from the B Story. Act Three is about Synthesis!

Final Image – opposite of Opening Image, proving, visually, that a change has occurred within the character.

THE END

  1. Kimberly
    03/16/2010 at 9:16 PM

    Thanks so much for explaining this! My sister has the book and references it frequently and won’t let me borrow it. Never have read it but knowing about this beat sheet I was confused when I wrote down the bones but didn’t exactly know what each “beat” was. Now I do. :D

    • 03/17/2010 at 11:32 AM

      Thanks for the comment, Kimberly. Glad I could be of help to you and ease the conflict between siblings!

      But just so you know, this is a pared down description of the beats. The books go into greater detail and offer more guidance than I have here. I, too, reference both books all the time, so I fully endorse purchasing copies of your own.

      Blake Snyder’s Books on Amazon

  2. Cat
    02/01/2011 at 1:41 AM

    Thanks, I have had more than one copy of this book pass through my hands from those who just wanted to (ahem) “Borrow it, please?” I had forgotten where to find this.

  3. 04/21/2011 at 4:16 AM

    I’m a novelist and I love Blake Snyder’s books. Before I ever read Save The Cat, though, I’d developed a similar tool of my own, for grappling with revisions of my novels. It’s expanded especially for use in novels (whose structure is more fluid than a screenplay) and it can be found in my book – Nail Your Novel: Why Writers Abandon Books and How You Can Draft, Fix and Finish with Confidence.

  4. Emmy
    07/10/2012 at 4:51 PM

    This is great! Thanks for providing it, as the book doesn’t seem to be available in my country. It really helps me as an amateur writer, as well as at school. Because I’ve managed to find this earlier on, when I move on to high school, I think the stories I write for my English lessons will be much more well structured and I’ll get higher marks, if God wills.

    • 07/11/2012 at 11:35 AM

      Excellent! Glad I could help. If you’ve had trouble getting the book in a bookstore, perhaps a retailer of used books through Amazon would be able to ship it to you.

  5. Mike Stasyna
    07/25/2012 at 10:47 AM

    Solid summary…Works like a charm.

  6. 10/27/2012 at 8:03 AM

    As a student studying scriptwriting, thank you!

    • 10/27/2012 at 3:25 PM

      My pleasure. Thanks for reading, Ethel!

  7. 10/31/2012 at 10:17 PM

    Thanks! I have two of Blake’s books, but having all of the terms defined in one place is really helpful. Thanks again.

  8. claudiacv
    11/26/2012 at 7:25 PM

    Where I usually have problems is in the in between stuff. For example, what should be happening between THEME STATED and CATALYST, or between CATALYST and DEBATE.

    And –what you call catalyst here is a) the inciting incident or b) the point of no return?

    Thanks.

    • 11/26/2012 at 8:56 PM

      That is the tricky part. Plot can only fill so much of the script. In between is where you can focus on what your characters are thinking and feeling, and why they are doing what they are doing.

      And, in answer to your question: a)

      • David Fraser
        05/06/2013 at 11:01 PM

        Hey Tim, is the catalyst also plot point one?

      • 05/07/2013 at 10:48 AM

        Hey David,
        That depends on who you are reading. Some story theorists call the catalyst “plot point one”, while others call break into two “plot point one”. Frankly, a catalyst by definition is “a person or thing that precipitates an event or change” (dictionary.com), so every plot point can be considered a catalyst. However, Blake Snyder uses Catalyst to mean the first BIG event that spurs the character down a path toward transformation.

  9. 01/11/2013 at 4:25 PM

    My friend suggested this book, but until I get it, I’m gonna see if I can work with these “bare bones.” Thanks for posting!

    • 01/19/2013 at 10:44 AM

      Thanks for the comment. I agree with your friend. I didn’t buy the book at first, either. But after visiting a Barnes and Noble three, four, five times to familiarize myself with the Beat Sheet and the other content, I realized I should just get it. If you find yourself returning over and over to this site, the book has a lot more information to share. As you said, mine is “bare bones”.

      • 01/19/2013 at 3:27 PM

        Well, I think they look promising. :)

  10. MJ
    05/22/2013 at 11:14 AM

    Hey Tim, for quite some time I’ve valued your analysis on the BS2. Hope you don’t mind but I posted a link to this on Done Deal Pro to help another new writer well on his way to a 300 page, first draft. Of course I credited you for your thoughts. It can be found at http://messageboard.donedealpro.com/boards/showthread.php?t=72333&page=2. I say this with profound appreciation: Wish I’d have seen your analysis before I started writing… take care.

    Thanks, MJ

    • 05/22/2013 at 11:45 AM

      You’re welcome! And thanks so much for the link, MJ.

  11. 06/17/2013 at 7:27 PM

    Thanks for the tightly constructed summary of the main points of the Blake beat sheet. Very useful to keep next to your typewriter!

  12. 06/21/2013 at 5:37 PM

    Thanks Tim for whetting my appetite – I went ahead and bought the book.

    • 06/21/2013 at 5:41 PM

      My pleasure. Thanks for reading.
      I hope you enjoy the book!

  13. 07/01/2013 at 11:10 PM

    Love your explination. I mentioned this post in one of mine. Thanks. http://sfountain.com/notes/writers-creative-flow

  14. yusef
    07/12/2013 at 2:14 PM

    what comes first the theme stated or the set up? in the book the theme stated comes first but above you switched those two sections. thanks.

    • 07/16/2013 at 3:41 PM

      Hey Yusef,
      Thanks for the question. The Theme Stated typically occurs during the first 10 minutes as part of the Set Up, so above or below, it doesn’t really matter. It could actually be anywhere in the first act. For example, in Blake’s second book, Save the Cat Goes to the Movies, he shows that the theme of Cocoon is after the Debate. As long as it is in the first act, you should be good to go.

  15. MJ
    07/19/2013 at 4:28 PM

    Ahaa!! Check out article at Slate on today’s date that points out Beat Sheat analysis and how it’s impacting movie productions these days. It confirms many of my most similar thoughts since I read this/your post and started evaluating films in terms of it. And, I figure, as the soothsayer you are Tim, you’ll especially enjoy this read…

    http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2013/07/hollywood_and_blake_snyder_s_screenwriting_book_save_the_cat.single.html

    • 07/22/2013 at 9:33 AM

      MJ, thanks for heads up! Due to the article, this page was posted on reddit and got a 2000% bump in traffic. Awesome!

      Unfortunately, I think the article is pretty silly. “…a formula that threatens the world of original screenwriting as we know it.” … “Is over-reliance on Snyder’s story formula killing movies?” What nonsense.

      I agree with the final statement: “…sometimes you can let the formula guide you. But that shouldn’t be the only thing you know how to do.” But the journalist doesn’t even ask any screenwriters or producers or directors if they use the beat sheet. How does he know they are becoming over-reliant? He doesn’t.

      As Sherlock Holmes would say he’s “twisting facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts,” and using the beat sheet as an excuse to throw mud at Hollywood over some of the summer blockbusters (coincidentally, the movies he didn’t like). Movies are not dying. Screenwriting is not in peril. The Beat Sheet is not to blame.

      Nevertheless, the article is getting attention so I hope it’s helping STC’s sales. :)

  16. Markus
    07/24/2013 at 5:44 AM

    I LOVE Blake Snyder’s Save The Cat! series. And though I was still having a bit of trouble because some of the beats are vague, I actually found another book that helped clarify any remaining questions I had about plot beats. A Stranger Comes To Town by Adron J. Smitley is another great book on plot, and if you enjoy Blake Snyder’s Save The Cat! series then you’ll also want to take a read of that book as well. Beats like Fun And Games or Bad Guys Close In are sometimes hard to fill out in your story, as they are pretty story specific so Blake Snyder gives a small amount of ‘instructions’ then let’s you have at it, but in A Stranger Comes To Town, if you’re a very plot-driven writer like myself, you’ll find a more detailed explanation of the necessary plot beats. I recommend everyone check those books out, if even only for a quick flip-through. They helped me and my writing a lot. Great article, by the way. Thanks =-)

  17. HeavyHeartLaments
    08/15/2013 at 12:16 AM

    Your beat sheet is wrong.

    It’s THEME STATED which comes BEFORE SET-UP. Not what you have done.

    • 08/15/2013 at 3:26 PM

      Thanks for the comment, but above you’ll see on 7/16/13, I wrote the following to Yusef:

      “The Theme Stated typically occurs during the first 10 minutes as part of the Set Up, so above or below, it doesn’t really matter. It could actually be anywhere in the first act. For example, in Blake’s second book, Save the Cat Goes to the Movies, he shows that the theme of Cocoon is after the Debate. As long as it is in the first act, you should be good to go.”

      The Beat Sheet is a guideline, so there is room to play around with it.

  18. 09/15/2013 at 4:33 PM

    Since my weak point is plotting, I am finding the beat sheet VERY helpful. I think I’m going to have to buy more books. Glad I found this. I don’t really like cats, but I’ll buy Save the Cat anyway. And maybe A Stranger Comes to Town. Just hope he’s tall, dark, and handsome and comes on a dark and stormy night to save me from the dungeon and the bat like creature sliming (climbing) the walls behind me, unseen. To creepy music.

  19. 09/20/2013 at 10:36 AM

    Thanks so much for this brief break down. It is really helping me with my plotting!

  20. TJ Broadhurst
    10/28/2013 at 9:24 AM

    Dear Tim,

    I just read the Beat Sheet for Toy Story 3 and I learnt s-o much! Do you have any others that you can send?

    God Bless,
    TJ
    tj@rocknsouls.com

  21. Dawn
    12/12/2013 at 9:44 AM

    Thank you

  22. Orrin
    12/27/2013 at 5:40 AM

    Hello Tim,

    I read save the cat, and it did help with the plot on a script I’ve been writing for 3 years, but, I have some questions about the book, and I’m grateful this site is here for me to ask them. I will buy the other book: A stranger comes to town, for more clarity. Okay, I also read the article accusing save the cat of ruining Hollywood. I agree with you, It seemed a bit jaded. My first question is the All is lost beat being the opposite of the midpoint- “awful/great”. All is Lost denotes awful, and losing all you’ve gained, or, finding out all you have means nothing are both negative. My Midpoint is: hero brings hope back , so it seems, and my All is lost beat is the good guys lose the other half of their army. After a lot of cross referencing, I get it, but Blake’s throwing out All is lost is opposite of the Midpoint either awful, or great… Needs a little more explanation, maybe even it’s own chapter. It made me stop reading and I spent a week getting my head around the concept. The other question is the part that says there should be 9 or 10 beats per act segment on your beat it out sheet. I’m writing an action story, and I’m having a hard time changing it to fit this rule, so I’m not going to. I found the following article exploring this question. It isn’t referencing, or downing save the cat book, but I think it addresses the question. http://messageboard.donedealpro.com/boards/showthread.php?t=18034
    What are your thoughts? And thank you for your time and this site :)\

    • 12/28/2013 at 12:57 PM

      Hi Orrin,
      Thanks for the questions.

      1) The Midpoint is the opposite of All is Lost:
      Yes, the All is Lost (or Whiff of Death) is a negative thing. Often, the All is Lost comes about because the Bad Guys have Closed In and gotten in between the Protagonist and their goal. It is painful. And out of that pain, the character is given the opportunity to grow. It forces the character to dig deep inside themselves and choose to apply the message of the B-Story—and thereby transform into a more mature person—in pursuit of the original goal, or in pursuit of a new, more mature/enlightened goal. This is an example of how things are “great” at the Midpoint and then “awful” at the All is Lost.

      However, sometimes the All is Lost comes about because things were looking really “awful” at the Midpoint but then the Bad Guys Closed In and HELPED the Protagonist achieve the goal they THINK they want. So, they have everything they’ve always wanted. They have achieved the goal they set out to achieve—typically something shallow, thematically (money, the wrong girl, what’s expected of them but they don’t really want, etc.). They should feel good because things are now “great” and yet they feel dead inside. This is the All is Lost (or Whiff of Death) and is once again a painful, negative thing despite being “great.” Out of this pain, the character is given the opportunity to grow. It forces the character to dig deep inside themselves and choose to apply the message of the B-Story—and thereby transform into a more mature person—in pursuit of a new, more mature/enlightened goal.

      I hope that makes sense.

      2) 9 or 10 beats per act:
      If it doesn’t work for you, don’t force it. Do what feels right.

  23. Orrin
    12/27/2013 at 5:54 AM

    Hi Tim, on the link I sent with my reply, check out the Q&A for how many scenes per act. And I’ve got to say this, and please quote me: “Save the Cat” in Hollywood, is kind of like the Pirate Code in “Pirates of the Caribbean”. If you question it, One pirate/person might shoot you dead on the spot, but another would say: “Argh, it’s just a guideline”
    There, I said it… I think I’ll go lock my doors. :)\ Thanks again!

  24. Orrin
    12/29/2013 at 1:29 AM

    H Tim,

    Thanks, that makes it more clear, it’s either all is lost, got to dig, or get want, not need. I think my story is on target with an all is lost, got to dig beat. I was a bit confused about the part in Save the Cat that said each Act segment needs 9 or 10 beats, but I guess my final # of beats will come out in wash. …I’ll do what feels right.

    Thanks again! :)\

  25. TJ Broadhurst
    01/20/2014 at 3:37 AM

    Dear Tim,

    I use Blake’s Beat Sheet and I love it; but your explanations on these boards add more dimensions to it! Do you have a page or document I can view with your comments and explanations of Blake’s Beat Sheet?

    God Bless and Love,
    TJ

  26. TJ Broadhurst
    01/21/2014 at 2:54 AM

    Dear Tim,

    Thank you for the reply. The Batman Year One Beat Sheet is already helping! Do you consider the Premise the same as a Log Line?

    God Bless & Love,
    TJ

  27. TJ Broadhurst
    01/21/2014 at 6:10 AM

    Dear Tim,

    The Beat Sheet of “Batman Year One” has invoked a few questions I would like to ask; if I may?

    Act I
    “Premise”: – same as a “Log Line”?
    The focus of the “Premise” is on Jim Gordon and not as much on Batman it seems. Would it be wrong to have the Premise focus more on Batman?

    “Opening Image”:
    Seems to have a contrast; one person -Gordon- wanting “out” and Bruce Wayne wanting “in”. Is this a common picture and tension? Can the “Opening Image” focus on the Antagonist or should that character be held back until the Catalyst Beat?

    “Set Up”:
    Seems to display the involved persons preparing for the battle which is to come; correct? Can this be both Protagonist and Antagonist?

    Act II
    “B Story”:
    If this is usually the Love Interest part, is this where Gordon gets involved with the girl?

    “Fun & Games”:
    Can this be a time when the Antagonist is also having fun and building towards his goals?

    “Midpoint”:
    I’m not clear on this Beat. Could you explain?

    “Bad Guys Close In”:
    In this beat, do the bad guys close in became Batman and Gordon have let their guards down? For Bruce leaves to recover and Gordon is focused more on the girl?

    “All is Lost”:
    Seems like a Contemplative Beat; yes?

    “Dark Night Of The Soul”:
    This seems like Gordon tries his best again on just his natural powers but in order to emerge from the Dark Night Beat, Gordon has to reach for a higher moral and power to accomplish it; correct?

    Act III
    “Choosing Act Three”:
    I see how Gordon makes some new decisions but has Bruce / Batman made any new descions?

    “Final Image” can this also be called “New Equilibrium”?

    Sorry Tim, if this is lengthy but I trust you with insightful answers…

    God Bless & Love,
    TJ

    • 01/22/2014 at 6:02 PM

      “Premise”: – same as a “Log Line”?
      The focus of the “Premise” is on Jim Gordon and not as much on Batman it seems. Would it be wrong to have the Premise focus more on Batman?

      I wrote the Batman Year One “Premise” based upon a template for writing log lines, which I wrote about here: http://timstout.wordpress.com/graphic-novel-writing/loglines/

      I used the word “premise” so readers can make the connection during the Fun N’ Games section (the Promise of the Premise). So, I am using the words “premise” and “log line” interchangeably. Maybe that’s wrong. I’m not sure.

      However, Gordon is the protagonist, so he is featured in the premise/log line. If I were to feature Batman more than Gordon in the premise/log line, then I’d be telling a different story. I would be promising a different premise to my readers, which I would need to fulfill in the Fun N’ Games section (the Promise of the Premise). Batman would be the protagonist in this different story, instead of Gordon.

      “Log line” can often be confused for the “pitch.” If you were tell someone what Batman Year One is about in as few words as possible (pitching it to them), you might say it’s Batman’s origin story, even though Gordon is the protagonist.

      “Opening Image”:
      Seems to have a contrast; one person -Gordon- wanting “out” and Bruce Wayne wanting “in”. Is this a common picture and tension? Can the “Opening Image” focus on the Antagonist or should that character be held back until the Catalyst Beat?

      Antagonists can be shown anytime you want. It’s your story. Darth Vader is shown waaay before Luke. The point is to show the tension. The Opening Image of Star Wars shows a war between the tiny rebellion and the big evil empire. We understand the drama immediately.

      “Set Up”:
      Seems to display the involved persons preparing for the battle which is to come; correct? Can this be both Protagonist and Antagonist?

      As the writer, you use the Set Up to prepare the reader for everything that is to come later in the story. Sometimes the characters are aware of that preparation, sometimes they aren’t.

      In Batman Year One, they are. In Romancing the Stone, for example, only the Antagonist is actively preparing the conflict, while the Protagonist is blissfully unaware until the Catalyst. (And yes, the Set Up can feature both the protagonist and antagonist.)

      Note: Instead of using the word “battle” which denotes war, use the word “conflict” because Romancing the Stone is not about war or battles, but the Set Up does prepare the viewer for the conflict a shut-in romance novelist would have during a wild adventure.

      Act II
      “B Story”:
      If this is usually the Love Interest part, is this where Gordon gets involved with the girl?

      The B Story is the THEMATIC relationship—the relationship that will reveal to the protagonist what value they need in order to transform and mature as a person. In many stories, that’s shown through the love interest. But in this case, the thematic relationship is Gordon’s relationship (partnership, friendship) with Batman.

      “Fun & Games”:
      Can this be a time when the Antagonist is also having fun and building towards his goals?

      Sure. I don’t see why not. The Fun n’ Games is not necessarily a walk in the park for the Protagonist. The Antagonist is always pushing back.

      “Midpoint”:
      I’m not clear on this Beat. Could you explain?

      Well, I don’t understand the confusion. So, I’ll phrase the explanation a different way and say that after the Fun n’ Games, when the protagonist is attempting to achieve their goal, they either are succeeding halfway through the story and things are going great, or they aren’t and things are awful. In most stories, things are going great at this point. For Batman Year One, Gordon is attempting to clean up his city, and halfway through the story, Batman has helped. Their relationship is growing and showing positive results. So, things are going great… until the Bad Guys Close In.

      “Bad Guys Close In”:
      In this beat, do the bad guys close in became Batman and Gordon have let their guards down? For Bruce leaves to recover and Gordon is focused more on the girl?

      The Bad Guys Close In because they see the protagonist as a threat to their goals. They elevate their game and try to keep the protagonist from winning. Bruce’s recovery and Gordon’s affair simply aid the bad guys in that pursuit.

      “All is Lost”:
      Seems like a Contemplative Beat; yes?

      In the case of Batman Year One, yes.

      “Dark Night Of The Soul”:
      This seems like Gordon tries his best again on just his natural powers but in order to emerge from the Dark Night Beat, Gordon has to reach for a higher moral and power to accomplish it; correct?

      He has to be willing to change. Mature. Do the right (difficult, scary, against your better judgement) thing. In this case, Gordon must partner with Batman.

      Act III
      “Choosing Act Three”:
      I see how Gordon makes some new decisions but has Bruce / Batman made any new descions?

      It’s Gordon’s story, so his change is the most important. I’d have to read the book again to know your answer for sure.

      “Final Image” can this also be called “New Equilibrium”?

      Sure. Whatever works for you.

  28. 01/22/2014 at 2:45 PM

    I attended the Blake Snyder seminar in Santa Monica. The BS2 is a great tool. If fact, it is responsible for me being able to complete my first novel and get it published. I’ve followed discussions about structure and find it interesting that some writers come down hard against the BS2, saying it is nonsense and ruins the creative process. Until I used the beat process, I wrote tons of garbage that either went nowhere or slid off on a never ending, tedious tangent.I wasted years hanging around with novelists who harped about their muse and the metaphysical aspects of the creative process. It was all nonsense. The beat process is a tool, not a set process. It is a kick start for the creative process. Once you get your beats, then you’re off and running. I would never take a journey without a map.

    • 01/22/2014 at 6:03 PM

      I couldn’t agree more, John. Thanks for the comment.

  29. TJ Broadhurst
    01/22/2014 at 8:28 PM

    Dear Tim,

    Thank you s-o much for taking the time to answer all my questions; it is a big help to me!

    And thank you John also for your insight!

    God Bless & Love,
    TJ

  30. Amos
    01/24/2014 at 10:34 AM

    I haven’t implement it yet but it gonna be very helpful. I have written a story which is very unique it took me a year to write it and i am going to produce a film and publish a book. thnx

  31. 02/18/2014 at 2:27 AM

    Very interesting post, thank you!

  32. 03/13/2014 at 10:26 AM

    I wrote a paranormal thriller and just started a screenwriting class. This concise beat sheet is EXACTLY what I need to finish edits on my book and plot out the screenplay. A week ago, I wondered if a formula for writing existed which would make my life easier and here it is!
    Thank you!!

    • 03/14/2014 at 11:00 AM

      Fantastic news, Susie! Keep up the good work.

      • 03/14/2014 at 11:04 AM

        Thank you! I am going to send your link to my class.

      • 03/14/2014 at 11:08 AM

        Great! Thanks, Susie!

      • 03/14/2014 at 11:10 AM

        :)

  33. 05/21/2014 at 7:39 PM

    What really helped me is on page 70 of the book, this list includes the pages and length of each of the portions as well. The clarification is a life saver for me.

  34. 05/21/2014 at 7:40 PM

    Still, I shared this page with my screenwriting group, The Film Scene, on Facebook.

  35. 07/17/2014 at 10:51 AM

    Often I feel that a story instinctually develops in this manner, but it’s still nice to have this as a clear reference, like mile markers to make sure your story develops in an understandable way. The premise and setup is nice, as I feel a lot of people fail to establish the theme of their story at the outset. Thanks again for the handy resource.

  36. TJ Broadhurst
    07/23/2014 at 9:33 PM

    Dear Tim,

    Love your site and so I turn to you for clarification once again on the “Choosing Act II” beat.

    Is the term, “1st Plan” the same as the term “1st Turning Point” and where does this fit in with Blake’s Beat Sheet; under the Choosing Act II beat or elsewhere?

    Also in the beat Choosing Act II, this is were the Protagonist receives his “Mission” or “Task”, meaning they know where life is suddenly sending them?

    Is the “Development” of Choosing Act II placed under this beat or is it placed in later beats such as B Story, Fun ‘N’ Games, etc?

    • 07/24/2014 at 11:19 AM

      Is the term, “1st Plan” the same as the term “1st Turning Point” and where does this fit in with Blake’s Beat Sheet; under the Choosing Act II beat or elsewhere?

      I don’t know the term “1st Plan,” I’m afraid, so I can’t help you there. But most storytelling theorists I’ve read often use “1st Turning Point” to mean the same thing as “Choosing Act II.” Sometimes, they are referring to the “Catalyst,” but usually it’s “Choosing Act II.”

      Also in the beat Choosing Act II, this is were the Protagonist receives his “Mission” or “Task”, meaning they know where life is suddenly sending them?

      The Catalyst occurs, which shakes things up. In reaction, there’s the Debate section where character(s) figure out what do to, involving the development of a goal. The overall goal is more important than the plan to get there. Sometimes, they develop a plan in the Debate section, and sometimes the protagonist just jumps in and they’ll figure out a plan as they go. The point is to develop a goal that the protagonist wants. Still in the Debate section, the protagonist hesitates in a moment of doubt (they want it, but it’s not necessarily going to be easy). Then they choose to do it in Choosing Act II.

      Is the “Development” of Choosing Act II placed under this beat or is it placed in later beats such as B Story, Fun ‘N’ Games, etc?

      Again, I don’t know what exactly the term “Development” is referring to (storytelling theorists have often used the same words to mean different things depending on their individual theories), but during the Debate section, character(s) develop a goal (mission or task) in reaction to the Catalyst. That might be what you mean. Sorry I can’t be more help.

  37. TJ Broadhurst
    07/29/2014 at 1:53 AM

    Dear Tim,

    I have been finding your explanations are of great assistance, possibly, it is your choice of words that helps me to understand things more deeply.

    My main questions right now are in regards to the different names for the “beats” and sometimes all that happens in every beat; for example:

    In the “Opening Image”, this is also called the “Story World”; correct? If so, does one have to start by showing the characters in their natural environment or “Story World” or can one start the “Opening” beat with an event that has already started or shooken up the characters world? Like the “bomb” has already been dropped?

    The “Teaser” is another name for “Opening Image”?

    The “Subplot” is also called the “B Story”?”

    The “2nd Turning Point” would then be the “Choosing Act Three” beat?

    In which beat does the Protagonist try his first attempt to fix the situation; “Fun ‘N’ Games” beat? And where does the plan fail; in the “All Is Lost” beat?

    Would you say there are usually two attempts to try to fix the situation; the second happening in the “Choosing Act Three” beat?

    • 07/31/2014 at 2:09 PM

      In the “Opening Image”, this is also called the “Story World”; correct? If so, does one have to start by showing the characters in their natural environment or “Story World” or can one start the “Opening” beat with an event that has already started or shooken up the characters world? Like the “bomb” has already been dropped?

      Movies don’t always start chronologically. So, no, the Opening Image doesn’t HAVE to feature the “story world” (a term I am unfamiliar of, but I’ll use it as you’ve described it). It’s your story. Do what you want. Don’t follow the beat sheet if you don’t want to.

      The “Teaser” is another name for “Opening Image”?

      I know “Teaser” has a TV term for the event that hooks the viewer in before the first commercial break and sometimes before the show’s title sequence, depending on the show. So, yes, “Teaser” could be another name for “Opening Image.”

      The “Subplot” is also called the “B Story”?”

      The B Story is a subplot, yes.

      The “2nd Turning Point” would then be the “Choosing Act Three” beat?

      Sometimes. Some story theorists advise 10+ “turning points.” I can’t say for sure without knowing who you’re reading.

      In which beat does the Protagonist try his first attempt to fix the situation; “Fun ‘N’ Games” beat?

      I don’t know what you mean by “first attempt” but the Fun ‘N’ Games beat is when the characters fulfill on the promise of the premise, which typically is attempting to execute the plan for achieving the desired goal.

      And where does the plan fail; in the “All Is Lost” beat?

      Possibly, but not necessarily. The plan can sometimes succeed. Sometimes the characters get what they want and realize they don’t actually want it because it’s now meaningless. In the All is Lost, the character is just worse off than when they started.

      Would you say there are usually two attempts to try to fix the situation; the second happening in the “Choosing Act Three” beat?

      After “Choosing Act Two,” the characters are constantly attempting to reach their goal. But in “Choosing Act Two,” they DECIDE to go for the goal. And in “Choosing Act Three” they DECIDE to go for it again (or for a better goal, if the first goal proves to be undesirable, e.g., The Bad News Bears), but this time incorporating the lesson learned from the B Story.

  38. TJ Broadhurst
    08/01/2014 at 10:30 AM

    Thank You Tim,

    God Bless & Love,
    TJ

  39. 08/12/2014 at 9:06 AM

    hi tim, this is great well done…

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