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Outlining a script

Posted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 4:11 am
by Faldor
I like writing, well that isn’t quite true but I do like having written. I’m a pretty good, or at least a pretty fast writer, assuming I have an outline to work from.

This is where it all breaks down for me unfortunately, Breaking a story is like pulling teeth, except having had a tooth pulled it was done in an hour or so. If I could break stories in that sort of time frame it would be great.

At the moment I’m writing an audio drama series, So Chad can buy the rights and make a fancy amazon series out of it, and it’s the first time I’ve written separate A and B plots which is a fun learning experience.

Really the only way to improve is to sit down with my note cards or spreadsheet and put one beat in front of another until I have a whole plot, I find starting in the middle and the end and jumping about all over the place works for me.

I’m trying to outline more often rather than figuring one plot out and putting off ever having to figure another ever again!

What’s your method for coming up with an outline??

Re: Outlining a script

Posted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:20 pm
by Chad Peter
I'm not sure I've ever really had a process for this. It has changed so much over the years. Early on, I never wanted to outline - felt like it was too restrictive and left me feeling trapped if another, better idea came along further on down the road. Then, I got into the habit of first writing out a rough draft - and only THEN would I sift back through it and write out a proper outline, changing whatever else needed to be changed, writing out character profiles and figuring out what each character's goals/paths were - typically that would then dictate the story progression in a better-to-outline form. Only problem with this is that it requires a TON of time (years?) to develop something and that's not something conducive to productivity, unless you have many of these brewing in the pot.

Nowadays I'm not sure. Rather than outline, I actually build the character profiles, one scene at a time - what their goals are, and where they're headed - and I do this for every character... and then take all those and finally MIX them together, in order of the film's progression, until I've got a singular timeline for every character. At that point you can really see how plots intertwine and where they need to be reworked or what needs better integration. If something doesn't fit - usually it's a good indicator of a scene that isn't necessarily helpful to the progression of the story.

Another thing I do more so now that before is to start with a SCENE. Something that I've never seen before, or something that I can write to see if there's something there. Usually more ideas brew out of that. This is how Black Flower came to be. I had an idea for a scene in it, but had NO IDEA what the rest of the story was. So I wrote that scene and everything came out of it. Then I had to write the character profiles, timelines, mix them together and do everything I said above, just to get into the layering process.

"The layering process" - takes years, in my opinion. I've rewritten Black Flower maybe 8 times now, each time doing a full rewrite, layering piece by piece until gradually the first XXX pages are solid. The first draft probably meant only the first ten pages were any good. The second draft meant the first 20 pages were good. Draft three meant the first 30 pages... and so on and so forth until that eventually reaches the end of the revisioning process. At this point I'm only confident in the first 90 pages of Black Flower, which is why I'm still sitting on it, ultimately. The ending still needs another draft or two to really get it there, but I'm still learning the story as I go - even though I'm 8 drafts deep. It only gets better with time (we hope).

My two cents.

OH, and I should say, that after all this - typically the very first thing I hear from people who are reading Black Flower for the first time - the first thing they comment on is THAT SCENE. The scene that started the whole writing process.

Re: Outlining a script

Posted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 8:10 pm
by Adam Bertocci
I'm a devotee of the Save the Cat beat sheet. I do not start a script until I have my beat sheet in place.

I'm much better at answering "What must happen in order to fulfill the requirements of X" than "What should happen next?"

Re: Outlining a script

Posted: Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:52 pm
by Lance
I just learned that you can make lines on your script to visualize what shots are needed and prioritize for shooting efficiency so, I'm just going to sit in the back and take notes here.

Re: Outlining a script

Posted: Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:47 am
by Chad Peter
Lance wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:52 pm
I just learned that you can make lines on your script to visualize what shots are needed and prioritize for shooting efficiency so, I'm just going to sit in the back and take notes here.
haha, how do you mean? Writing notes on a script? Or writing camera moves into your script itself?

Re: Outlining a script

Posted: Sat Jul 20, 2019 1:31 pm
by Lance
Chad Peter wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:47 am

haha, how do you mean? Writing notes on a script? Or writing camera moves into your script itself?
Not exactly relevant to what you guys are talking about, other than as an example of my inexperience with script writing, but -THIS- is what I'm talking about when I say script lining.


*Still taking notes.

Re: Outlining a script

Posted: Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:00 am
by Chad Peter
Ahhh, scripty notes. Even I don't know how to properly break down a script like a script supervisor. That's an art in itself, frankly! Watching our script supervisors cleanly glide through the dialogue beats on any set is a masterclass in itself.