Thursday, June 08, 2017

The Beat (sheet) goes on

Here’s a Friday Question that became an entire post:

James asks:

I was watching something where a comedy writer mentioned a beat sheet, and I know you've mentioned it here, but I'm still struggling with the idea. I was wondering if you'd consider taking an act or maybe even just a scene from something like Almost Perfect and post what the beat sheet would look like for that act or scene.

Here’s the beat sheet and part one of the pilot so you can follow along. You can go to YouTube to see the rest of it.

                                ALMOST PERFECT PILOT - Beat Sheet

                           by Ken Levine & David Isaacs & Robin Schiff

ACT ONE

SCENE ONE – INT. ANNIE’S BAR AND GRILL – NIGHT
Our Meet-cute. Kim Cooper enters and approaches the Maitre’ D. She’s meeting a blind date, Tom Milner. Maitre’ D points to young man. Kim is pleased. Approaches, begins yammering. He confesses he’s not Tom Milner. He’s Mike Ryan. She’s embarrassed and angry. She storms off.

SCENE TWO – INT. BLUE JUSTICE OFFICE – NEXT DAY
The writers are present. Gary Karp, Neil Luder, Rob Paley. Kim is pitching a story. Establishes the type of show she’s writing for. The lead character “Amy” meets a man in a bar. The story parallels last night. We learn from the story that maybe Kim over-reacted. Neil has technical problems. Gary is sarcastic and wound pretty tight. Rob suggests an alternate story where Amy meets a young na├»ve man (i.e. him). Learn that the head writer is missing again. They get a call. He’s in rehab. The Dick Wolf exec producer will replace him with one of them. Gary assumes it’s him.

SCENE THREE – CHARLES KIND’S OFFICE – LATER
Kim, Gary, Neil, and Rob wait for Charles Kind (the Dick Wolf). Rob is starry eyed. Neil goes through Charles’ desk. More on Gary assuming he’ll be appointed the job. Kim says why not her? Gary laughs it off. Charles enters, gives the job to Kim.

SCENE FOUR – ANNIE’S – LATER THAT NIGHT
Kim celebrating with her girlfriends. They all have to go. Kim left alone on her big night. She says “there must be somebody who will let me buy them a drink.” Reveal that Mike is sitting at the end of the bar. He pours out his beer and smiles.

ACT TWO

SCENE FIVE – ANNIE’S – MOMENTS LATER
They decide to start again. They sit at a table and get to know each other. We learn he’s a DA. Not interested in the behind-the-scenes aspect of Kim’s show. They tell a little about each other and try to guess the rest. Mike analyzes her and nails it. He asks what she wants out of life that she doesn’t have. She says a relationship. She asks him. He dodges the question. We see the chemistry. They begin flirting.

SCENE SIX – KIM’S HOUSE – LATER
They’re already making out on the couch, hot and heavy. She gets a call. Crisis on the set. She has to go. But decides to call back and handle it over the phone. We see how capable she is. More kissing. He gets a call. Murder scene. He has to go. She’s upset. They try to arrange a new time to meet. Both have busy schedules. It’s clear they’re have no time for each other. Can they work it out? Kim says “How?” As he leaves he reveals what’s missing in his life is an oasis. Some days work is so hard he’d like someone to be there for him, even for a moment. This melts Kim’s heart. She says there must be some way they can work this out.

SCENE SEVEN – CRIME SCENE – NIGHT
Kim and Mike examine a crime scene. Kim is excited viewing the corpse and all the blood. We learn they’re on the set of her show. They went to the real crime scene first. Now they’re going to hers.



5 comments :

PolyWogg said...

ah, an annotated outline of the large emotional beat in the episode. do all shows use these?

Third Kevin said...

Awkward Friday question:

Just listened to your podcast with Kevin Smith. I heard you mention at the end that your daughter and son-in-law are now writing for KEVIN CAN WAIT. That piece of info totally jumped out at me because I remember you not being Kevin James's nor the show's biggest fan (most notably in your December 12, 2016 blog). In a situation like this, what exactly do you do to show your fatherly support? Do you let your feelings about the material they are about to work on be known? I imagine this is kind of like your child getting engaged to someone you have reservations about, but you still manage to put on a smile anyway. Is that accurate in this instance?

Thanks

VP81955 said...

To be fair, I don't think I've ever read Ken criticizing James's prior sitcom, "The King of Queens," and if he has, it wasn't anywhere on the level of "2 Broke Girls."

James said...

Thank you!

Johnny Walker said...

Wow, this is great. I always thought a beat sheet would have a lot more detail. You can't really get much of a sense of the show or even the story from this (for example, SCENE SIX doesn't really give you an idea of why they would go to a crime scene together, but in the final show it's clear when Kim says: "There must be SOME way we can spent some time together..."). Clearly you had a lot of information stored in your heads as you went to write it.

Did you worry that seven scenes might force you to pad things out more than you intended? I only ask because I recently broke down an episode of SILICON VALLEY to discover that both acts have 10-12 scenes. I guess sitcoms really have sped up a LOT!