How to Score a Script: the Beat

The idea of a beat (bit) breaks the play into a structure and breaks a scene into specific, intimate units of action where focus changes.

Focus: When the objective of the actors changes, when someone/something important (no offence, but not every character is important at all times!) leaves or enters the environment.

Now draw a line between focus changes

Am I done? NOPE!

A beat NEEDS to have a strong physical action with the beginning of the focus change (blocking).

1) Speak then move

2) Speak and move

3) Move then Speak*

A beat has to have it’s fillings (you put in the top bun and bottom bun, now we need the meat, lettuce, tomato, and condiments)! This is called a score – What the beat is about.


clip_image002Objective: What your character wants in that beat

Motivation: Why your character wants what s/he wants

Obstacle: What is in the way (more important than you think)

ACTION: How you overcome your obstacle to succeed at your objective.

So the beat is a hamburger?

It’s a focus change with a strong physical action and a score, describing what’s going on.

Focus change + Strong physical action + Score describing what’s going on = Beat

Okay, I think I get it now what?

Write it down!

J (Objective): 3 words or less

M (Motivation): 5 words or less

S (Obstacle): 3 words or less

A (Action): 2 words (to _____)

Can you show me?

Sure!!!  Just click here to download a worksheet



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