The Terminator – Save the cat beat sheet

Opening Image – Machines crushing human skulls. Machines dominating humans in a futuristic world of no hope.

Theme Stated – Sarah’s co-worker says “In a hundred years, who’s gonna care?” It implies that what they are doing today is unimportant but soon we are going to find out that we do today is going to be important for the future.

Set up – The Terminator and Kyle Reese arrive from the future, one to kill, the other to protect Sarah Connor, a waitress.

Catalyst – The Terminator kills a woman named Sarah Connor and Sarah sees it on the news.

Debate – She ignores the first incident when one of the other Sarah Connors is killed but panics when the second one is killed and calls the police.

Break into two – The Terminator attempts to kill Sarah and Kyle jumps into to protect her. “Come with me if you want to live.” Sarah makes the decision to go with Kyle to get away from the Terminator.

B-Story – The love story between Kyle and Sarah.

Fun and Games – A couple of chase scenes trying to escape The Terminator and exposition revealed through action.

Midpoint – They are taken into police custody. Sarah is told by the police psychiatrist that Kyle is crazy and she begins to believe them, however, the Terminator blasts his way through the station killing everyone. Kyle finds her and she clings to him for her life. For the rest of the film she is totally committed to believing Kyle.

Bad Guys close in – They run away and hide from the Terminator who returns to his hotel room to repair himself. (I know, this is the opposite of  Bad Guys closing in because they are putting distance between themselves and the Terminator but I think the mid point of the film is definitely Sarah committing to Reece and trusting him completely with her life. But where does this leave the beat of Bad guys close in? You could argue I suppose that the Mid point is when they are taken into police custody and it’s a down moment but I think it fits better. Please feel free to argue you point in the comments section if you have a different opinion.)

All is lost – Sarah unknowingly gives away their location thinking she’s talking to her mother.

Dark Night of the soul – Sarah is down, she worries that the Terminator will never stop until he kills her. Kyle tells her he’s always respected her as the woman who trained John and more importantly that he’s loved her all this time. They make love.

Break into three – The Terminator has tracked them down to the hotel

Rally the troops – They construct weapons with the supplies Reece bought.

Storm the castle – Another chase involving hand made dynamite, crashing and swapping vehicles, eventually blowing up the truck the Terminator hijacked.

High tower surprise – The Terminator emerges from the fire of the truck.

Dig down deep – They run into the factory and must battle the Terminator’s skeleton

Victory or defeat – “You’re terminated f@cker!” and crushes him to death. (Removed from the theatrical cut was the scene where Cyberdine engineers discover the chip and the hand of the crushed Terminator)

Final image – She’s alive and preparing for the war against humanity with the unborn child inside her. There is some hope for the future.


Compare with

The Terminator  – The hero’s journey stages

Iron Man – Save the Cat Beat Sheet

Iron man Save the cat Beat sheet



Opening image – Tony Stark in an APC with military guards living a carefree life.

Theme stated – “Yeah, peace. I love peace. I’d be out of a job with peace.” He doesn’t see the human cost of war, only the profit. He will learn to better appreciate the value of each.

Set up – Tony is a genius, billionaire, playboy making his fortune from weapons manufacture.

The Catalyst – He’s captured by terrorists and forced to build a weapon for them.

Debate – He refuses but is tortured until he agrees to do it. Secretly he’s building a suit of armor so he can make his escape.

Break into two – He escapes the terrorist camp as Iron man and returns to America and the first thing he does is announce that Stark Industries will be getting out of the weapons manufacturing industry

B Story – Tony Stark’s new outlook on life transforms his working relationship with Pepper Potts into romance.

Fun and Games – Tony builds and tests his new Iron man suit and has to deal with his company trying to remove him.

Mid Point –  Tony flies to Gulmira as Iron man and protects the innocents.

The bad guys close in – Obadiah is working with the terrorists. He wanted Tony killed. Tony learns his company has been illegally trading weapons with the enemy. Obadiah knows that Pepper was spying on him.

All is lost –  Obadiah paralyses Tony and steals the arc reactor out of his chest

Dark night of the soul – Tony staggers into his laboratory and replaces his chest arc reactor.

Break into Act three – Tony flies to his head quarters to face Obadiah

Gathering the team – Pepper and SHEILD move in on Obadiah and he attacks them as Iron Monger.

Storm the castle – Iron Man and Iron Monger fight throughout the city

Dig down deep – He makes a dangerous play, flying to a very high altitude with hardly any power left to trick Iron Monger to follow him and make him suffer the icing problem

Execution of new plan – Iron Monger survived the fall and Iron Man lures him over the giant arc reactor and makes it explode

Victory – Tony, with the help of Pepper defeats Iron Monger

Final image – Tony Stark declaring he is Iron Man to the world.


Compare with Iron man – The Hero’s journey