[Watch the video interview on Youtube here]

Film Courage: What is a Big Beat?

Steve Douglas-Craig, owner/teacher at The New screenwriter, financier, screenwriter and producer: A big timer for me is the pulse of a script, it’s like the heartbeat, and there are certain things: If you want to make it technical and call it a page number, I try not to do that. It’s very limiting when you say on page 20 that this has to happen. I think that can be very limiting when trying to teach it. For me, the big beats are the driving force or the signposts to where your story is going.

As I mentioned, the triggering incident should be around pages 10 to 15. If you find it on page six, you have all the power. But this serves a function in the script, which is to split the character’s wants and needs and form the explosive beginning of our story. This is what our story will be about and this is the decision our characters will have to make. Then you have the debate section with Blake, okay, I want to… it’s the hero’s journey… do I want to accept that? Is this really the path I have to take? We explore what actions your main character will take to reject or accept the journey through the relationships of other characters.

There was another big blow at the end of the act. Here the character is forced to make a decision to embark on the journey that we will see, or is pushed into it. Either way there is no going back, there is absolutely no way back, they have to tell the story now. If we stick to these big beats (the journey to the center), once we get to the center of a script, for me that’s an important part of a script because it’s where the characters’ wants and needs come very close…(Watch the video interview on YouTube here).


After graduating from AFI, Steve Douglas-Craig was hired by Sony Pictures Entertainment to work as Story Editor & Acquisitions Executive for the Worldwide Acquisitions team in Los Angeles, where he provided an introduction to story and business development, feature film packaging, domestic and international sales, cinema marketing and product acquisition. He helped develop and oversee film titles such as Terminator: Salvation, The Book of Eli, Django Unchained, War Room, Don’t Breathe (continued currently in post-production), the Insidious horror film series, Manchester By The Sea, The Grudge ( reboot), Searching, Arrival, Whiplash, The Call, Attack The Block and many others (including TV releases – The Tudors, House of Cards). Steve’s employment at Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions was followed by a promotion to Senior Story Editor & Creative Executive at Screen Gems, where he was involved in the development and release of feature titles such as the recent releases of Monster Hunter and the adaptation of James Herbert’s novel The Unholy. He previously helped produce Black & Blue, The Intruder, Possession of Hannah Grace, Brightburn and Slender Man. He was also instrumental in developing content strategies that attracted financiers and talent to specific projects at the studio. Steve is also a professional screenwriter who worked as a freelance writer for several seasons on the hit CBS TV series “Hawaii Five-O.” There is currently a pilot and several feature films (including a creature feature) running through his literary managers. Los Angeles.






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