9+ Script Outline Examples (PDF) – A Step-by-Step Guide

Outlines are likened to that of blueprints because they play a crucial part in creating something new. The most common blueprints serve as guidelines for engineers and architects when building massive infrastructure. Supposing engineers and architects build a structure without the use of a blueprint, do you think it would be possible for the building to be erected? Definitely not. You may also see essay outlines.

When you have a story or novel you want to get published, you need an outline. When you want to write your thesis, you also need an outline. The same thing applies when you write a script for a television show, play, or a film. Even if you already have the most unique and creative idea but if you don’t have an outline to support it, then your script would be of no use.

Script Step Outline Example

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Screenplay Outline Example

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Play Outline Template Example

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Script Outline and Talking Points Example

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Screenplay Outline Template Example

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A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Outline Your Script

Step 1: The Opening and Closing Images

The opening image of your script could be the make or break the entire story because this image introduces your story to the audience. Your audience will either like it or hate it so make sure that you have a good introduction that will hook them until the last scene. The opening image is also the visual representation of the entire story so make sure that you have a good foundation. You may also see Research Paper Outline

The closing image of your script should be strong because it is your last contact with the audience. Make a good closing image that will linger in the minds (and mouths) of your audience. You may also see Biography Outline Examples.

Step 2: The Inciting Incident

The inciting incident is defined as the event that triggers the change of course of your characters. It’s not necessarily the main conflict but it is where the statement “this is where everything starts” rings true. The inciting incident would then lead to the main conflict of the story. For example, when Rey decides to be a Jedi in Star Wars: The Last Jedi or when Jon Snow was elected as the King in the North in Game of Thrones. You may also see program outline.

Step 3: The First-Act Break

This step marks the end of the story’s introduction or the step where you have introduced your key characters to the audience. If you are a newbie at script writing, avoid long and unnecessarily first-acts. Remember that you are writing a script and not a novel, so you have to make every second count and introduce your main characters; their end-goals and their relationship with other characters. You may also see resume outline.

Step 4: The Midpoint

The midpoint, as the name suggests, is found in the middle of your screenplay and this changes the entire direction of the story. In a typical kind of storyline wherein the main character is a goody-two-shoes, he or she will be experiencing setbacks prior to the midpoint of the story. When he or she will finally reach the midpoint, he will be experiencing some events that will change his situation for the better. Take for example Cinderella being invited to a royal family ball after being treated poorly by her stepmother. You may also see examples of writing a chapter outline.

Step 5: Encountering a Fork in the Road

The fork in the road metaphor, which is defined as a deciding moment in the life of the main character is where he or she has to make a major choice which will not only affect his future, but also the individuals around him. It is also the part where the main character should reaffirm his commitment to the goal he set at the beginning of the story. One example would be in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows where Harry Potter continues to look for Voldemort even though his mentor Professor Dumbledore was killed. You may also see examples of how to write a persuasive speech outline.

Step 6: The Major Setback – All is (Seemingly) Lost

At some part of your story, your main character will be experiencing setback after setback. He thinks he is in a situation where it leads to a resolution but then all of a sudden, another huge wave of setbacks occur. This part is where your main character feels lost and hopeless, and the ending will go down a tragic path. This part usually happens before the climax. Take for example in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King when Frodo and Sam try to escape from Mount Doom but can’t due to being surrounded by layers of lava.  You may also see presentation outline writing tips.

Step 7: The [Anticipated] Climax

This is the part where your main character will be able to show what he or she has left after experiencing numerous setbacks. To continue with the Lord of the Rings example, Frodo and Sam were eventually saved by the eagles which were flown by their wizard friend Gandalf.

The climax also acts a final showdown where your main character will be battling against the antagonist. If your main character has a tragic flaw, he will no longer fold as he as learned to deal with his flaws and issues at the beginning of the story. Take for example the movie 8 Mile where B-Rabbit (played by rapper Eminem) convincingly beat Papa Doc in the finals of an underground rap battle competition after losing in the initial stages. You may also see report outline examples.

Step 8: Resolution

This is the part where you, your audience, and even your characters can breathe well because the story has concluded. Depending on what kind of ending you want to have, make sure that the scene will linger in your audience’s minds since it will be your last contact with them. Make sure whatever the surviving characters experience at the end of the story, your audience will experience it as well. Take for example the last scene of Toy Story 3 where Andy gave all of this toys to another child. It was an emotional moment not only for the characters, but you can bet for the audience as well. You may also see book outline examples

One-Page Outline Example

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Screenplay Format Outline Example

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Sample Script Outline Example

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Play Outline Example

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Documentary Script Outline Example

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Why Do You Need a Script Outline?

Whether you like it or not, scripts play a major part of any screenplay. Without it, no movie, television show or play will be able to materialize. And what’s the best way that you can make an effective script? Of course, through creating an equally effective script outline. A script outline will enable you to modify the plotline that you have already have and this will also make your story grounded in the general structure of the script. You may also see thesis outline.

We hope you have learned how to make a script outline and apply these learnings when you would be writing your own script. You may also see rough outline.

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