Final Post -December 12, 2012 / SCREENWRITING II, FALL 2012

December 12, 2012

Greetings everyone,

Don’t forget to submit the 2nd Draft of your Beat Sheet on Dec. 17 (no later than 11:59 am; I won’t accept any late submissions).

Some of you emailed me saying  they don’t have anything to add or subtract. That means they don’t want to “go into the story”. There’s always room for improvement. Remember that screenplays (and beat sheets) are not written, they’re rewritten. Perhaps a scene needs a different “heart” (center), or maybe that scene doesn’t belong there, and so on.

Also, when I told you that your beats should be only two or three sentences long, at the most, there’s  a reason for it. When you put too much information into your beat at such an early stage, you “talk out” the story, you release what Hemingway called “poison”. You want to save that “poison” (creative juices) for the actual writing of the screenplay. Guess what happens when you put too much information into your outline? You get bored with the story. And that’s the worst that could happen. Your brain thinks “I’ve already wrote so much, I’ve thought about it so much, I’ve included all the details in my  beat sheet… what’s the point of writing it?”

Ideally, your beat sheet should have one or two sentence per beat. Just the essence of the scene, without which your story or character cannot go on. Think of the step outline as the foundation for a building. The design of the building (description writing and dialogue) is what you work on when you write every day for several hours.

In the previous post I provided a few links to some useful info, such as how to find an agent, how to write a query letter, where to apply for a screenwriting contest, etc.

Thank you all for a great semester.

Screenwriting II