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Old 09-23-2017, 11:34 AM   #1
Spoiled
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Default What does (a beat) mean in this context?

On page 7 in this script, what does (a beat) mean?
http://www.pages.drexel.edu/~ina22/s..._Bad-Pilot.PDF
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Old 09-23-2017, 12:33 PM   #2
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Default Re: What does (a beat) mean in this context?

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On page 7 in this script, what does (a beat) mean?
http://www.pages.drexel.edu/~ina22/s..._Bad-Pilot.PDF
A beat is that brief silence moment before dialogue continuation. Kinda like hesitation before answer and such.
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Old 09-23-2017, 10:31 PM   #3
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Default Re: What does (a beat) mean in this context?

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A beat is that brief silence moment before dialogue continuation. Kinda like hesitation before answer and such.
Ok, that makes sense. Thank you! Is there a dictionary you can you refer me to containing all expressions like this? Is there for instance another term for a longer silence? (Two beats)?
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Old 09-24-2017, 12:25 AM   #4
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Default Re: What does (a beat) mean in this context?

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Ok, that makes sense. Thank you! Is there a dictionary you can you refer me to containing all expressions like this? Is there for instance another term for a longer silence? (Two beats)?
I've never heard of anyone using "two beats." If you wanted the "beat" to go longer, you'd probably describe something ... like "the clock ticks several times." Personally I just use "pause" for "beat."
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Old 09-24-2017, 08:57 AM   #5
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Default Re: What does (a beat) mean in this context?

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Ok, that makes sense. Thank you! Is there a dictionary you can you refer me to containing all expressions like this? Is there for instance another term for a longer silence? (Two beats)?
Read through the frequently asked questions section. You will find a lot of us have asked and answered questions about screenwriting and screenwriting terms. The Wordplayer.com website also has archives with many explanations.
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Old 09-24-2017, 09:10 AM   #6
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Default Re: What does (a beat) mean in this context?

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Read through the frequently asked questions section. You will find a lot of us have asked and answered questions about screenwriting and screenwriting terms. The Wordplayer.com website also has archives with many explanations.
Great! Thank you!
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Old 09-24-2017, 04:58 PM   #7
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Default Re: What does (a beat) mean in this context?

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Ok, that makes sense. Thank you! Is there a dictionary you can you refer me to containing all expressions like this? Is there for instance another term for a longer silence? (Two beats)?
Screenwriter John August has a site called "io" for screenwriting basics you can search. Lots of stuff on there.

https://screenwriting.io/
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Old 09-30-2017, 03:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: What does (a beat) mean in this context?

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On page 7 in this script, what does (a beat) mean?
Another use of “(beat)” is to indicate a reversal or change of direction.

In your example, the second “beat” on page 7, Walt goes from being condescending to being helpful.

The mind-blowing part is Walt doesn’t need to pause. He can simply change his tone. - Acting!
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Old 10-13-2017, 03:46 AM   #9
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Default Re: What does (a beat) mean in this context?

To me, the first "a beat" indicates a pause from the student because he didn't have the answer.

The second "a beat" controlled the pacing because Walt was going to a deeper thought.

Typically I use beats similar to the way it's used in the script -- to control the pacing of the narrative flow. So a beat could indicate a thought change or because there a pause of hesitance in the action, dialogue, or a character's response etc.
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Old 10-13-2017, 10:35 AM   #10
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Default Re: What does (a beat) mean in this context?

I don't use "(beat)". I think it's one of those arcane expressions that this biz likes to hold onto to make it seem 'exclusive' and cool, and it also crosses into the territory of interpretation by the actor/s and director.

If, say, one of my characters asks a question of another, and there's no response, there are several different ways to handle that. But if rather than describing someone's puzzled facial expression, in this particular case, and I genuinely need to have a pause, I've written "(pause)" as the parenthetical.

This has been the case maybe 10 times in my 48 screenplays.

Now, I have yet to get a script optioned/sold, so who am I to talk, but nobody has yet complained to me about it.

Put another way, all of this subtle syncopation is something I'd expect the actor/s and director will work out anyway - if they're looking for it, I give them full permission to do so - and it's one of the reasons why they're getting the big bucks.
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