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Using a (beat)...

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ashleyarielle View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ashleyarielle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Using a (beat)...
    Posted: 24 Jul 2007 at 10:08am
This is in answer to DMC 2007's question on how to use a beat in a screenplay. The way I've been taught is that you can use a beat in dialogue to take a short pause. Just the way I've been taught... maybe it's wrong. It seems as though there are many opinions on how to use parentheticals in a screenplay... so anyone else have any thoughts?
    

Edited by ashleyarielle - 24 Jul 2007 at 10:09am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DMC_2007 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 2007 at 10:34am
   Thanks Ashley! I appreciate it. Its def. a learning Curve!!!

Thanks for responding to my question and best of luck to you!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DMC_2007 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 2007 at 11:14am
    I found the following online - thought I would share it:
dmc

Scenes are made up of 'beats'. Even the shortest movie scene will have several beats within it. Scenes in plays run much longer and may contain dozens or even hundreds of small beats that reveal character nuances, enhance conflict and move the plot along.

A beat is a contained moment. The beat changes when something happens to change the mood or the intent of the characters.

Directors and actors break their scene into beats to help them understand the emotion and subtext of the scene and so they can wring the most drama and entertainment from each moment in the scene.

A mundane example of a beat breakdown within a scene:

A Detective walks into an interrogation room to confront a Suspect.
Beat one: The silent interchange that occurs as the Detective enters and faces the Suspect.
Beat two: The Suspect harangues the Detective for making him wait so long.

Beat three: The Detective responds to this rant by holding up a piece of evidence that connects the Suspect with the crime -- a bloody shirt maybe.

Beat four: This physical evidence quiets the Suspect temporarily. He stews as he contemplates how to explain away the bloody shirt.

Beat five: The Detective goes on the offensive, probing deeper with questions about the shirt.

Beat six: The Suspect stops stewing and starts sweating.

Beat seven: The Detective circles the suspect as he talks, moving in closer, invading the Suspect's personal space. It appears that the Suspect is about to 'break'.

Beat eight: Instead of breaking, suddenly the Suspect grabs a pencil from the Detective's pocket and stabs him in the eye with it --

Great scenes have several beats with surprises and tiny twists of emotion, dialogue, gesture or action that reveal plot, character and emotion.

Look at a scene you've written that you feel works well. Break it down into beats, you'll see why it works. There is probably plenty going on to keep the audience engaged with the characters and their conflict.

Likewise, if you have scenes that aren't working, break them into beats and you might discover why. You need beats that will surprise and thrill your audience as they reveal the nuances of the characters and their conflict.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 2007 at 12:25pm

If you mean "beat" like this

Tony
I've got something to tell you.
(beat)
I have two days to live.
 
I would say do not do that. I'm with the camp that is against instructive parentheticals all together. If you wrote a good screenplay and your actors understand their character, the tone of the scene, and purpose of the dialogue, they will know when to pause. And the director, who should also understand your work, will help them if they aren't getting it right. I can see why parentheticals would annoy actors and other professionals who are trying to bring your work to life. I can also see why scene transitions and any sort of camera direction would be annoying in a draft script. That's the director's job--if he or she is competent, the director will write a shooting script that best captures what you're going for. If the script is well written, the director will know what in the script is a flashback, what should be a quit cut and a montages, etc.
 
What I've noticed, from reviewing the screenplay of one og my heroes (Charlie Kauffman) is that he just writes scenes and dialogue. He doesn't write transitions (not even a CUT TO: or a BACK TO:), parentheticals, or any such thing at all, just scenes, even though his scripts are extremely complicated. He lets his words speak for themselves.  I like that attitude, plus it saves alot of space on your page.


Edited by moshi - 24 Jul 2007 at 12:31pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote aurora68 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 2007 at 12:31pm
Originally posted by DMC_2007 DMC_2007 wrote:

     I found the following online - thought I would share it:

Scenes are made up of 'beats'. Even the shortest movie scene will have several beats within it.


Dawn, these are two completely different kinds of things. A (beat) is a pause, and I think for the most part writers should avoid using those. The actors are going to pause when they're going to pause, not when you tell them to. If you feel there needs to be a significant pause between one line and another line, then the way to do it is to give the character something to DO in that time -- and not just busywork, significant action.

The beats that the source you quoted is talkinga bout are STORY beats: basically just the events and actions that make up a story. So to use a simple example from a story we all know, here are the beats for Little Red Riding Hood:

1. Red's mother tells her to take a basket of sweets to Granny's house.
2. Red sets off down the path
3. The wolf accosts Red and lures her off the path
4. The wolf scurries ahead, kills Red's granny and takes her place in bed

etc.

Make sense?
Check out our script:
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DMC_2007 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 2007 at 12:50pm
Originally posted by aurora68 aurora68 wrote:

[QUOTE=DMC_2007]     action.

1. Red's mother tells her to take a basket of sweets to Granny's house.
2. Red sets off down the path
3. The wolf accosts Red and lures her off the path
4. The wolf scurries ahead, kills Red's granny and takes her place in bed

etc.

Make sense?


Yes totally! I have mixed up TWO different types of "beats". I see it now. One is not really good to use, it seems, and the other is "counting action sequenses" if you will in a scenes.

I GET IT!!! Thank you to everyone for helping me learn about (Beat) and beats! And the difference!
     
Dawn
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