Recently, I watched The Master (dir. PT Anderson, 2012), and tried to beat it out using Blake Snyder’s beat sheet from Save the Cat. (A good summary of the beat sheet is on Tim Stout’s blog.) I also downloaded a version of the screenplay The Master, but it’s different from the movie, so I didn’t find it that helpful. The movie doesn’t exactly follow typical story structure, so it doesn’t beat out perfectly (I think), but I did my best. If you have any suggestions, or have seen another beat sheet of it, please let me know.
THE MASTER Beat Sheet
1. Opening Image (1):
Meet Freddie: his eyes peeking out over a ditch in battle in WW2. We then see him making drinks with moonshine on the beach, and then pretending to sleep with a female figure the other soldiers have made of sand.
2. Theme Stated (5):
Military therapist tells Freddie as he’s about to be discharged, “People on the outside won’t understand you.”
3. Set-Up (1-10):
We see Freddie is obsessed with sex and alcohol, and seems barely able to control himself. He prepares to leave the military and get back to civilian life, which he seems ill prepared for.
4. Catalyst (12):
Freddie, employed to take portraits at a department store, picks a fight with a customer and leaves ranting. Then while working on a farm, he poisons someone with his moonshine; he runs away from the farm.
He sneaks onto a private boat and is awoken by girl who takes him to The Master.
5. Debate (12-25):
The Master asks him to stay for his daughter’s wedding. He listens to and watches the people on boat.
6. Break into Two (25):
The Master “processes” (his therapeutic process, mostly asking him questions and telling him what to say). Now Freddie is a believer in “the cause.”
7. B Story (30):
Freddie mentions his true love, Doris Schoemann (who turns out to have been only 16 when he fell in love with her years ago).
8. Fun and Games (30-55):
He stays on the boat and learns about “the cause.” He goes on tour with Master, first to New York then to Philadelphia. He watches the Master process and charm women who support his cause.
When a man speaks out against the Master, Freddie beats up the man for the Master; the Master reprimands him.
9. Midpoint (55):
The Master tells Freddie he did a bad thing, but he’s pleased, also. He asks Freddie to look after Val. Freddie has become the Master’s personal soldier and moonshine-maker.
10. Bad Guys Close In (55-75):
In Philadelphia, the Master’s daughter comes onto him, but he’s now friends with her husband, so he rejects her.
The Master’s wife tells Freddie he has to stop “boozing” on Freddie’s moonshine. She tells Freddie he has to stop boozing, too.
When Val tells Freddie his father’s making his therapy up as he goes along, Freddie tussles with him. Right then, police come to arrest the Master for wrongful withdrawal of funds and for running an unlicensed medical school. Freddie loses control, fights the police, and gets arrested, too.
11. All Is Lost (75):
Freddie is out of control in the jail cell, hitting his head and kicking. The Master tries to calm Freddie down, and then says he’s done with Freddie.
12. Dark Night of the Soul (75-85):
The Master has to repay the $11,000 he stole.
One night at dinner, the Master’s wife, daughter, and son-in-law explain the various reasons they don’t trust Freddie. The Master says they have to try to help Freddie stay in control of his aggression and his alcoholism. To that end, they put Freddie through a series of tedious and somewhat humiliating exercises.
13. Break into Three (85):
The cause holds a congress in Phoenix. Freddie seems reformed. However, when a former colleague of The Master speaks badly about the Master’s new book, Freddie loses control and attacks him.
14. Finale (85-110):
Freddie goes to see the girl he loves, whom he hasn’t seen in years, Doris. Her mother explains she’s moved out of state and is married with kids.
The Master calls Freddie and tells him to come to their new school in England. When he arrives drunk, they tell him he’s not committed to getting help, so he should leave.
That night, he picks up a woman in a pub and has sex with her. He gets her to say some of the things the Master got him to say when he was processed, but in a very drunken way.
15. Final Image (110):
At the end, He lies next to sand woman (the same image as in the beginning) showing that his mind is still in the war and not able to move on as a civilian, despite the efforts of The Master.