Because of Mama: Step Outline


step outline example

Step Outlines. In his book On Film-Making, Mackendrick writes. To help you develop your skills at plotting, the step outline form is well worth studying. A step outline is a working document, often prepared at an interim stage in a screenplay’s development, meant to be read only by people who are already involved with a project. THE STEP OUTLINE Getting to the Barebones of Your Idea Adapted from The Screenwriter’s Workshop You have an idea for a story. It's been rolling around in . The step outline helps you do these things. Once you can start thinking in terms of steps, then you are truly thinking in terms of plot and plot points. And those are the real tools of the storyteller. Hope this tutorial on writing a step outline helps. Would love to hear your feedback.

Step Outlines | The Sticking Place

In his book On Film-MakingMackendrick writes:. To help you develop your skills at plotting, the step outline form is well worth studying.

It can function as the rough sketch made when writers and producers are confronting the problems of adapting a novel, a play or property that is not yet organised as screen material. It can also be made at a stage when drastic reconstruction and revisions have to be made to an early draft of a screenplay. What it is not, however, step outline example, is the form in which the story idea is first put down. In the context of a dramatic construction class we shall make use of the step outline form to analyse completed films.

By doing so we will retrace the history of some of our favorite stories and uncover the skeletons under the skin and flesh of these completed works. So what exactly is a step outline? It is a brief analysis of plot-structure of an already existing feature film, a bare synopsis of the steps of a story, a tool with which to dismantle and expose the dramatic narrative structure and mechanisms at work.

It is a list of the basic steps in the progression of a film narrative as one scene meaning an episode that often has its own internal structure, minor crisis and peripety moves step outline example the next. It step outline example nothing but plot mechanics, the bones of the narrative stripped of flesh and nerve, and should be as short as possible while still containing everything essential to the structure of the story.

Length will vary according to how dense the plot in question is. An outline may be only three or four pages in length, or it may take up to fifty pages if it is important to explain a complex plot.

It is useful to set down the steps in numbered paragraphs. These usually represent scenes, step outline example, a unit of dramatic action. A scene is a section of a narrative in which there is one clearly defined purpose and intention, the space occupied by a single predominant episode of dramatic tension, though contained within the scene might be a series of smaller steps or story beats.

The idea step outline example that each character is likely to have not only a central objective to his or her behaviour but step outline example minor and incidental activities that are necessary to achieve en route to this main objective. Analogies with literature are not always accurate, step outline example, but you might think of the way a writer breaks up a book into chapters, a chapter into paragraphs, step outline example, paragraphs into sentences, sentences into clauses or phrases, each having individual structure and meaning.

Thus a story beat might be a sequence of several lines of dialogue or certain actions prompted by a single identifiable intention. It might even be something as simple as the articulation of discrete feelings and thoughts. When a story is looked at in this fashion, you have to be very clear in your analysis of what actively occurs in every scene especially if it takes place in more than one location and your story as a whole.

You have to recognize where the story has just come from and how every particular step effects what may, or may not, happen next.

In this respect a step outline is not just a list of scenes — it is a chain of events. As you number the scenes, keep in mind that each should read as a progressive move, step outline example, a step in a cause-and-effect chain. After each paragraph of a step outline the reader should step outline example why he is still sitting here, wondering and waiting for what happens next. The anticipation is our sense of expectancy about what has just happened and how it is likely to produce a new event we step outline example is likely to follow, step outline example.

The uncertainty is our sense that even though we have an step outline example as to what will happen next, we cannot be sure of precisely how it will turn out. We anticipate but are still ready for surprises. The task of the storyteller is thus often the invention of a structure along the principle of Chinese boxes. A situation is created where our curiosity is whetted by the desire to uncover or disclose a solution, or to unravel a knot of tension, but when the discovery is made or the knot unravelled, it shows only another box, another hiding place.

Some years ago, step outline example, a student produced an outline of Bad Day at Black Rock. It is a number of years since I saw this film and was puzzled by the feeling that something was missing. Then I realized that the synopsis did not mention that the central figure is a war veteran who has only one arm.

Since this small detail is quite step outline example not only to the character but the plot too, it was a curious omission. When writing about the principals be sure to emphasise their interrelationships only so far as this defines their motivations and hence actions. This might mean putting down something about their step outline example history, information that provides the character with a purpose and dramatic intention in their present action. An outline contains no unnecessary descriptions written for atmospheric purposes.

It will also generally ignore aesthetic qualities of the work, step outline example. Hamlet, for example, step outline example, has a plot that, when read in the step outline form, is not all that interesting compared with the extraordinary depth and resonance of the true genius of the work expressed through its poetic language.

When writing a step outline a good writer can, in the minimum of words, set down the beats of a story step outline example will describe the character-in-action with utmost clarity and that will in turn imply character and theme. A step outline need not be tedious to read.

Though it is a working document, it should be interesting and exciting. The need for economy and simplicity does not mean it should be merely a list of incidents and events full of abbreviations and disconnected phrases. It should have its own narrative drive and momentum. Expert journalists are apt to have this knack, the ability to set down information that has force and clarity in its emphasis on the cause-and-effect momentum.

Be sure to write in sentences with subjects, verbs and objects. This has the advantage of disciplining you to write step outline example the language of action and reaction rather than static conditions and ongoing, continuous activities that do not involve much tension and that tend to be overly descriptive and explanatory.

It has been interesting for me to appreciate step outline example from the very grammar of the sentence structure in which an outline is written, step outline example, I can sense whether or not the student has got the hang of cinematic narrative progression. It step outline example a good idea to pick for your first step outline a film you find interesting and dramatically rewarding.

At the same time do not forget that some of the films particularly exciting to students are very difficult to vivisect in this way. The step outline, as we have said, strongly emphasises plot. When a film has a very strong and obvious plot structure it can be relatively easy to put into outline form, step outline example.

But plot is in some ways the least interesting aspect in many superb films. Contemporary cinema is apt to depend on values that are much more subtle even impossible to communicate in an outline.

So I advise you to start with a film that has a single and strong narrative line. Watch the whole film through. On the second viewing make notes on each scene. These initial notes can be very cryptic: a list of the characters, sometimes a key dialogue phrase, no more. Once you have memorised internalised the sequence of story events, you are ready to start on the outline proper, step outline example. The real task at this point is to eliminate everything that is not a step or move in the narrative.

The great temptation is to interpret, to write in a way that communicates the qualities of the film. But remember that the purpose of the step outline, as distinct from most other forms in which a film story can be written, is to reduce the plot mechanism to its bare bones, to strip it of all its other values.

Bicycle Thievesas written by Vittorio De Sica et al. Shane by A. Guthrie, Jr. On the Waterfrontby Budd Schulbergstarts on page 6 of the handout on this page. Here for Them! Here for William Archer on Sheridan. Here are a further thirteen step outlines, as written for this website. You are again encouraged to write your own versions if — step outline example is step outline example be expected — you consider these to be lacking.

Here for Unseen Enemywritten by Edward Acker. Here for another version of Them! Here for Paris, Texaswritten by L. Kit Carson and Sam Shepard. Here for Homicide by David Mamet. Here for The Maggiethe only film directed by Mackendrick based on his own original story screenplay by William Rose. The value of creating a step outline — a succinct distillation of the all-important story beats into a few paragraphs — cannot be overstated.

Mackendrick actually selected students for his writing classes based on their ability to write a quality step outline of a film of their choice. After writing one, you should be able to explain precisely how by the close of every sequence the plot has step outline example moved forward and how each character has been developed.

What has changed for them? What are their new needs and wants? What decisions did they just make? How have they responded to choices made by other characters? What decisions are they likely to make in the near future and how are other characters likely to respond? What traits have been revealed that might create or impact upon later action? What previous obstacles have characters succeeded in overcoming?

What new obstacles have been placed in their path? What function does each and every sequence of the story serve? In answering such questions, in deciding what should be included in your step outline and what unnecessary details must be left out, you will likely find yourself emphasising certain things over others, and by so doing reveal your biases and interests.

So the theme will out because it cannot stop. The writing of a step outline will hopefully also bring with it the important realisation that in a well-crafted narrative, every element of the story is somehow connected.

When obliged to look closely at the mechanics of plot and create what is essentially a skeletal outline, it is immediately noticeable how and when characters, objects, lines of dialogue and themes appear and subtly re-appear.

At all times ask yourself: What is each character doing at any one moment? What specific actions are taking place? How do these actions contribute to the overall information flow offered the audience? What fuses are laid in minute 12 that pay off in minute ? Narrative filmmakers in complete control step outline example their craft will casually offer up something to the audience that reappears an hour later, at which point we come to realise just how important it is to the storyline.

The precision — and, very often, simplicity — of good storytelling quickly reveals itself as you create a step outline. He is going to have to deal with all the bulk his opponent brings into the ring.


Screenwriting How To Write The Step Outline - Doddle News


step outline example


Persuasive Speech Outline Example. Although there is no right or wrong when it comes to speech writing, there is always the matter of getting your points across in an orderly manner. Just like writing a story which often begins with “once upon a time” (not really), drafting your own speech outline must start with the attention step. Below is the step outline for the screenplay, Because of Mama. You'll notice when you see the film that the final structure is different from the one we present here - underscoring the notion that films are rewritten at every stage of the filmmaking process. The step outline is just the first step. A step outline (more commonly called a beat sheet) is a detailed telling of a story with the intention of turning the story into a screenplay for a motion picture. The step outline briefly details every scene of the screenplay's story, and often has indications for dialog and character interactions. The scenes are often numbered for n-prizereads.gapment: Film treatment, Producer, .