Skip to content

INFOGRAPHIC: How To Write Screenplay Outlines, Beat Sheets And Treatments

As any long term Bang2writer knows, I’m a big fan of planning. But yeah, I get why *you* might not be. Planning can be boring. You don’t want to do it. You want to DIVE INTO your draft.

But, look. Even if you ARE one of those uber-lucky people who can plot instinctively, you’re still going to *have* to come up with the goods at some point in the process. Money moguls and agents rarely have time to read entire screenplays (yes, really!), which is where things like “scriptments” and “sizzlers” really come into their own.

One of the most popular articles on this site is How To Write Screenplay Outlines, Beat Sheets and Treatments. The fab @ETyrrellMedia has transformed this post again into an easily referable infographic for you all.


As a script editor, I see waaaaay too many good concepts go down the swanny structurally due to lack of planning, but more often: I’ll actually see great writing, yet the concept behind it is confused, derivative or even missing altogether! Yet without a great concept, we got NOTHING.

Planning actually HELPS our writing: it can ensure we road test our concepts; or maybe it will help ensure we set up and pay off.  It can help us FINISH our drafts faster. It can even ensure we sell our ideas “off the page” better to producers, investors, agents or potential audiences!

What’s not to like? (Apart from doing the work, of course).


How to write Screenplay Outlines

More on B2W About Planning, Pitching & Selling Documents:

8 Tips For Perfect Pitches & Super Selling Documents

On Writing: Why Planning Beats Seat-Of-Your-Pants Every Time 

WHY This Story? … Or 8 Questions They’re **Really** Asking

Infographic: 6 Tips For Writing A Great One Pager

Infographic: How To Write TV Series Bibles

Share this:

5 thoughts on “INFOGRAPHIC: How To Write Screenplay Outlines, Beat Sheets And Treatments”

  1. You’re right. I would say that writing outlines in the beginning, or at least after a first rough draft, will thwart a lot of problems from arising later on. My main screenplay, which I have grappled with for 16 years, is fundamentally flawed because I didn’t do this early on. It’s a fantastic unique idea. It has deep characters. It has scintillating dialogue. It has confronting conflict. But, alas, there are too many plot holes. So it needs a big rewrite based on a new bulletproof synopsis. But 16 years of part-time struggle has exhausted my motivation. Sad but true.

    I haven’t read your synopsis method yet, but to clear up plot holes, ask “Why?” at every sentence. Using my screenplay as an example:

    Why does the intruder at the beginning not simply make an appointment to see the hero?
    Why is the intruder intruding? (LOL!)
    Why doesn’t she speak to anyone?

    At first, I saw her as symbolic, and that I would sort out the details later. But it got out of control and now would need a lot of work to fix. And, no, you can’t have a character that is purely symbolic. So do a bulletproof synopsis early! Please! And ask why at every sentence, and don’t accept temporary answers.

Leave a Reply

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