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    Example of a story outline
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    I have a story I'm working on for a feature. I have everything in my head and I want to write a detailed outline before the screenplay but I don't know what an outline should look. Does anyone have an example they could show me, and what the purpose of a good outline should be?


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    Quote Originally Posted by nolankubrick View Post
    I have a story I'm working on for a feature. I have everything in my head and I want to write a detailed outline before the screenplay but I don't know what an outline should look. Does anyone have an example they could show me, and what the purpose of a good outline should be?
    First write a 25 word logline, test it out on people who are not your friends or family.

    Decide on character names, know your story archetype characters (protagonist, antagonist, mentor, shapeshifter, etc).

    Then lay down your main plot points: hook, inciting, turn into act II (goal), midpoint, setback, battle, resolution (coda).

    Then fill in the gaps so that you can tell your story as 40-50 one line 'beats', each beat being about a 2 page scene, and each beat with some type of conflict in it.

    The write a one page summary of your story.

    Then write a 10-20 page narrative of your story.

    Now you are ready to write the screenplay.

    Some writers write 'organic' off the cuff, go that route if you prefer, good luck if you write organic.

    If all the above seems foreign, pick up a few good books like Save the Cat, Writing Screenplays that Sell, Crafty Screenwriting, and The Screenwriting Formula

    -- randall
    Last edited by Randall_Oelerich; 01-29-2012 at 02:20 PM.


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    I would just add that writing the logline will be one of the HARDEST and most USEFUL things you will ever do as it will show you right away if you have something or not. After all a logline: "2 friends save the world" means very little as there were over a thousand films with similar premise thus it forces you to search further. On top of that you can look for films sell-ability. Can you entices someone to add your film to their netflix cue with just the two sentence logline/synopsis?

    I would expand and add (just in parenthesis, as it's it mean to serve only you) a simple sentence or two why you care about this specific story. For instance "Blade Runner" was never about its logline - it was about something else - presenting the dystopian future; "Thin Red Line" was not about the war but conflict of matter with spirit etc.
    Patryk Rebisz
    director/DP
    www.swlthemovie.com - my feature-lenght documenatry
    www.tupeloproductions.com - my production company
    www.patrykrebisz.com - my directing/DP work
    (917) 291-2565


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    Quote Originally Posted by Patryk_Rebisz View Post
    I would just add that writing the logline will be one of the HARDEST and most USEFUL things you will ever do ....
    Ditto, ditto, DITTO!

    Related to this, perhaps the MOST important thing to do before outlining, before doing ANY writing of a story idea:
    http://www.wordplayer.com/columns/wp02.Strange.Attractor.html



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    Quote Originally Posted by Randall_Oelerich View Post
    First write a 25 word logline, test it out on people who are not your friends or family.

    Decide on character names, know your story archetype characters (protagonist, antagonist, mentor, shapeshifter, etc).

    Then lay down your main plot points: hook, inciting, turn into act II (goal), midpoint, setback, battle, resolution (coda).

    Then fill in the gaps so that you can tell your story as 40-50 one line 'beats', each beat being about a 2 page scene, and each beat with some type of conflict in it.

    The write a one page summary of your story.

    Then write a 10-20 page narrative of your story.

    Now you are ready to write the screenplay.

    Some writers write 'organic' off the cuff, go that route if you prefer, good luck if you write organic.

    If all the above seems foreign, pick up a few good books like Save the Cat, Writing Screenplays that Sell, Crafty Screenwriting, and The Screenwriting Formula

    -- randall

    Both Dan Harmon and Kal Bashir emphasize change. So that's got to be in there.


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