Beat Board part 2

I mentioned that once I have a beat board done, I have two more steps. The next one is an interoffice one. I open Libreoffice Calc (microsoft Excel) and I start right away. I make header rows, and now I start plugging in the info from my beat board. Takes about 90 minutes.

Next, I color code it. It really doesn’t require saying “green is this guy” – I’ll do that inside Final Draft. Right now, pick a color for cell 1. No color cell 2. Another color cell three. no color cell four. And so on. This helps your eye move across the spreadsheet without it all blending together. Yes, it takes an extra hour. In the meantime, i’m internalizing my movie.

Then send it to the producer. In my case, that means putting it in a shared folder in Dropbox. Now he’s notified automatically it’s ready for him to look at. An email telling him it’s ready to final (approve) is a courtesy. Do it anyway.

Open Final Draft. You’re not going to have time to finish it tonight. But get started. In Final Draft 10, my system is that every Save The Cat beat is a structure point, and my own beats are beats. If you’re using dropbox like my producer and I do, then what we do is simply save the file to Dropbox in the shared folder, and open it from there to work on it. Unless I’m offline (like in the morning), every time I hit save, it updates it on his computer as well.

Now, for the procrastinators (which is all the writers), this arrangement is scary. My producer KNOWS when I’m working on the script. Every time I hit SAVE, a popup window will surface on his computer telling him I’m working on it. If you’re a procrastinator, and you delay working on something while you internalize t, don’t lie!

Just tell him that’s how you are, and it takes 3-5 weeks of sitting and looking at it before you start writing. Because he’s going to know. My preference is 3 days of poking at a beat board, then seven pages of script a day. My producer thinks I’m a writing machine.

All right, I’m in Final Draft. it’s day two, and all I got in were half of my STC beats., Now it’s time to get busy. If you’re older, this means taking your glasses off and putting them back on a hundred times in one night. You take them OFF to look at the beat board, then put them back ON to type in the computer.

If you don’t know how to connect a beat you make in Final Draft to the timeline, just drag it up and touch the time line. The beat gets a page number assigned to it. Now, sometimes Final Draft gets quirky. A beat i need on page 12 ends up on 11 or 13. Just grab the square or diamond on the time line, and drag it.

Color your beats in Final draft as the last step. I specifically use certain coded colors now, to let the producer know who’s in the scene. The main character is green, so most of the cards end up green. A simple glance at your beat board lets you know if you’ve got problems.

click save. Tomorrow, you’re writing. That’s all the time you need to get your story internalized. 1 week maximum. Blake Snyder would have hated working with me, because I don’t procrastinate the way he did. I’ve got deadlines.


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