So many layers go into a screenplay that an efficient way to plan out the actual writing can be very useful.
In the past, I would use 3x5 cards to develop a story. That sort of worked when plotting.
Other times, I blasted through the first 20 pages and finished Act I even. Wonderful. Then the story stopped cold. I had nowhere to go.
The question I had was this:
How can I make efficient use of my development time before I typed "FADE IN" using my screenwriting program?
An outline was valuable but, for me, the "beat sheet" was better.
Many screenwriters use a beat sheet. Simply put in the slug (INT. or EXT. something) and write a few sentences of the scene. You can include amazing dialogue once in a while, if you want.
Then you can review the beat sheet for story flow. You can make changes, additions and delete things that don't work. You can show it to trusted sources and seek an opinion on what else is needed -- before writing 100 pages.
This procedure has saved me a lot of time and even improved my collaboration.
It's better to build a great foundation for your story than jerry-rig the finished product.
People in the industry -- who demand you be professional -- will know which way you did it.
© 2013 Jacob Kamhis All Rights Reserved