Emotional beats describe physical actions that fall between lines of speech. In other words, they tend to react rather than actions. They compel the audience to take stock of what would happen next.
Have you ever thought what makes the audience exhilarated, excited and dejected after watching a scene? Emotional beats; without them, it is all but impossible to get your hooks into the audience.
Tease the strings of viewers’ curiosity with beats and make a simple scene dramatic. Here are simple yet effective techniques to uplift a view to having viewers engrossed.
When two characters are talking on a serious subject, character X furrows the brows. This beat breaks the flow of the dialogue, causing a change in the emotional state of the other character, who considers this reaction impertinent. Anger and dissatisfaction may grow in character Y. There are various expressions to describe it.
- Eyes turned red.
- He set his jaws.
- He clenched his fist.
- His nostrils flared up.
- His eyes dilated with anger.
Depending on the scene, you can use any of the expressions that strongly signal the signs of indignation. Visualize the scene to add intensity.
Beats for a character arc
A character arc portrays the transformation of personality throughout the story. It means a character begins as a sort of a personality, and then an event occurs that transforms it into a different person. Emotional beats motivate viewers to think about what is going to be next. A sadistic man becomes kind-hearted is an example of a character arc.
For instance, an emotional beat inciting scene comes in a movie when a father foists a decision on her daughter to marry a person who he wants to be his son-in-law without giving a toss to the fact that she is besotted with somebody else. The girl got disheartened. She walked out of the room, cried and accepted it as her fate.
Once you understand the scene, you will get to know the story will revolve around three characters – the girl, her husband and her lover.
Another best example to understand is, John has a high-powered job in a corporate. He is expecting a promotion, but he gets sacked instead. He gets disheartened. He feels he does not have the right to live.
Hence, he tries to take his life, but as he thinks of the idea to take his life, he comes across a quote: suicide is the punctuation mark at the end of many artistic careers. Then, he thinks he should try his career in another field. This is the turning point. Viewers will think about how his journey is going to be like.
Emotional beats within the scene
There will be a specific moment within a scene when there will be scope for emotional reversal beats. When you write a scene, you do not need to introduce an action line into the dialogue. If you write only “beat”, that will be enough to hint at the emotional turning point. If there is a lot of physical activity within a scene, you will have to break the dialogue with action lines.
For instance, character Y is suspicious of murdering his father. Character X confronts him (where character X holds a gun at character Y to blow him out). Then suddenly, character Y tells him that his father was a Casanova and played with feelings of several women, and one of them was his mother too. As he comes to know this fact, he changes his mind.
This is the most significant emotional turning point in the scene. This is the moment where character X rethinks everything but does not kill character Y. Everything is in a new light. This is the beat.
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Description: Emotional beats play a paramount role to amp up a scene. This post discusses a few techniques to introduce them.