BSA204: The Beat Sheet

In the last few days I was struggling to fit my idea for a story to the requirements for this screenplay. My biggest problem was finding a want/need that was simple enough for a short film as the original want/need was happiness. Duncan pointed out during one of our classes that a want like happiness is the kind of want can be achieved in a feature length story rather than a short film. I focused myself on finding a simpler want or a simpler way to convey the happiness want, but decided it was near impossible and I just don’t have enough time or the right words floating around in brain right now to be able to do that.

Naturally, I began to panic a little about not having an idea with only a few days until the due date, but like a miracle straight from heaven, a story came my way. One of my friends (who shall remain nameless) shared a funny story with me that happened to her – she got lock in a toilet and had to climb out. I thought this would be an excellent story for my screenplay and could easily be done with little to no dialogue! So I set to writing my beat sheet…


“Stuck” Beat Sheet

  • Friends doing shots in a club
  • The friends are dancing
  • One of the girls (Leah) stops and signals that she’s going to the toilet
  • Leah heads to the bathrooms where there is one other girl
  • Leah goes into one of the stalls
  • While she is in there the other girl leaves so she is now alone
  • Leah finishes peeing and moves to unlock the door
  • The door won’t open. She is trapped.
  • Leah bangs on the door and calls out. No one comes
  • She goes to kneel down on the floor but sees it’s very dirty
  • Leah looks around for another solution
  • She decides to climb up and over the door
  • Her high heels make this process very difficult
  • She moves the rubbish bin by the door
  • Stands on the toilet
  • Steps over to the bin while reaching for the door
  • She pushes herself up and over
  • She skirt snags on the top of the door
  • Someone walks in and sees Leah hanging over the door
  • The other person, looking shocked, turns and walks out without saying anything
  • Leah unhooks herself and drops down
  • She stumbles a little, knocking the locked door
  • The door swings opens
  • Leah shouts in frustration

One thought on “BSA204: The Beat Sheet

  1. Yes, determining objectives can be a frustrating experience, but once you work them out, they can help to provide a lot of direction and impetus to one’s story. An external objective (a.k.a. outer want) should be a tangible – ideally ‘physical’ – goal that fits within the timeframe of your story. An internal objective (a.k.a. inner need) can afford to be slightly more amorphous because it’s dealing with the character’s feelings etc.


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