The Last Website on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need

When Is a Beat a Scene vs. a Section of Your Script?

Beat 1 Opening Image_Moment2stcpodcats_605x480pxIn this 6-part series, we’ll discuss the most common questions and challenges writers have when dealing with the BS2 — along with the ways you can use the Beat Sheet at different stages of the development process. Naomi Beaty uses examples from Hell or High Water, The Silence of the Lambs, and Die Hard to help you understand when a beat is a moment… or a sequence. You need to understand the proportions of your story beats to create a foundation that truly resonates with readers and audiences.


Share this page:FacebookTwitterGoogle+Email
Naomi Beaty

About the Author

About the Author: Naomi Beaty, a screenwriter and script reader in Los Angeles, teaches our online beat sheet screenwriting workshops, our in-person weekend intensive workshops, and hosts our STC! podcasts. Visit her online home and get access to the new library of downloadable screenplays and screenwriting resources. .

There Are 16 Comments

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Montae says:

    Hi Naomi,

    In an earlier podcast, Jose talked about a double catalyst.

    When using a double or second catalyst, does there also have to be a second debate regarding this second catalyst?

    • Naomi says:

      Hi Montae!

      I think you always want to plan your story with cause and effect in mind, so you’ll want to address what’s happened in the Catalyst, whether it’s one inciting event or a double-bump like you’re referring to. But there’s no hard and fast rule about laying out a Catalyst then a Debate, then another Catalyst and Debate. I’m not sure if that answers your question but hope it helps!


  2. Thanks, look forward to the next one.

    Shameless plug here if you don’t mind.

  3. Hi Naomi. Thanks. That was very helpful. Will you be doing recordings describing what every beat is? =D

    • Naomi says:

      Hi Michael! Thanks for listening and commenting! We have episodes planned for the 6 Pillar Beats for sure, but had not planned to cover all 15 beats separately — is there one in particular you want me to address? Happy to do it so just let me know 🙂

    • BJ says:


      We’ll be announcing the “Save the Cat! Crash Course” soon – it will include definitions and examples of each beat.

  4. David says:

    Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to the next.

  5. Gino Crognale says:

    Naomi, your comment about sizes of puzzle pieces is a great analogy.
    Thank you!

  6. Melissa says:

    Thanks Naomi! Great to hear about the beat versus section debate. Looking forward to more.

  7. Tim says:

    Hi Naomi,

    Your comment about not necessarily finding the beats in their chronological order deserves some more attention, I think! I have been writing for many years and I found this out more intuitively. Like you mentioned, cause and effect must be maintained. Sometimes I think we first think of a great “effect.” And then once we do, we need to re-align the story so that the proper “cause” naturally aligns with the effect. So that can happen “out of order” as you have suggested. Its a real process!

    • Naomi says:

      Great minds, Tim 🙂 There’s more on this exact topic coming up in another episode. Thanks so much for listening!

  8. michael ryan says:

    Please how does the beat sheet work for a love story?

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *