Watch, Study, Analyze

Here’s a writing exercise to help you understand movies in your genre.

1. Choose three movies from your intended genre.

We wanted to understand the structure of cozy Christmas made-for-TV movies, so we picked that classic, Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe.

2. Watch your three movies with your computer or notebook ready.

As you watch, write down what happens in each movie and when it happens (the time mark in minutes). Be ready and willing to stop and start your movie while you take notes. It takes a long time to watch the movie this way, and will potentially annoy anyone who is watching it with you. But you’re studying, not just relaxing!

An example page of our notes. The numbers are minute marks.

3. Fill out a beat sheet for each movie.

Type up your notes into a beat sheet. This will take awhile, but it’s worth it. You’ll get a better understanding of the genre, and, you’ll have a nice template you can use for your own movie!
Here’s and example beat sheet.

Caution: This contains spoilers for Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe!

Please let us know if this exercise has been helpful.


      1. Hi Kate & Heather….you can’t imagine how thrilled I was to find your book! This will be my very first screenplay at the ripe old age of 61 (shhhh!) but I really believe in my idea and I’ve been getting more and more excited about it as I read your book. I’m doing all the homework, too! Thank you so much for writing this book!


  1. I’m working on the beat sheets for the three movies I watched, and I noticed a discrepancy between your Beat Sheet Template and the Beat Sheet example here. On the Template, PONDERING/DEBATE is #3, and MEET CUTE is #4, but they are reversed here. Just thought you’d want to know.


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