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Outlining a script

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bookworm452

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Any one got any advice or tips on outlining a script?
#1 - April 26, 2013, 03:09 PM

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Writing the TV Drama Series, by Pamela Douglas (3rd edition) has great information on outlining. She suggests breaking the script down by acts and scenes and gives examples of the 4 act, 5 act and 6 act formats. :goodluck
#2 - April 26, 2013, 07:47 PM

Hi bookworm.  Are you talking about a feature or a TV pilot?  There are plenty of good books out there that can help you.  I don't know the one Hilary mentioned, but the formula for TV shows differ by network, genre, etc.  If you're talking about writing a feature (movie) script, what's generally accepted as standard is a 3-act structure and a length of 90-120 pages.  Industry standard for screenwriting program is Final Draft, although there are people who also use Movie Magic. 

I have my own weirdo method -- which I use for books, too -- where I create a document for the project called "Things That Happen, In No Particular Order."  That's my brainstorming place where I can just scattershot everything that I know happens to this person or group of fictional people.  When I think I have everything down, I print it out and go through with a pencil, numbering everything in the order it should take place.  Then I go back through the document and put everything in the right order and read it to see if it makes sense.  If it's a TV script, I then look for what feels like the natural act breaks and go from there.  It's probably not what most people do, but it works for me.

Hope that helps!
#3 - April 28, 2013, 10:35 AM
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Good idea, Jen!  :shootingstar

I do the same type of thing only with post-it notes on a board and then rearrange them depending on the structure of what I'm writing and the type of narrative.
#4 - April 29, 2013, 06:50 PM

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