How to write a step outline for a script

A step outline is a detailed telling of a story intended to be turned into a screenplay for a motion picture. The step outline details every scene and beat of a screenplay's story and often has indications for dialog and character interactions. The scenes are often numbered for convenience. It is similar to a scriptment and more detailed and specific than either a treatment or an outline. It can also be an extremely
useful tool for a writer working on a spec script.


#Step 1

Start by selecting a movie or an episode of one you favorite TV shows. Begin with the opening shot and write down the major steps that carry the story from start to end. This is a step outline, at least in abbreviated form.
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Step 2

Take you own project. On paper, begin by building a list of your major scenes in one or two sentences for each. Start with broad strokes: your story’s beginning, middle and end.
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Step 3

Now expand this list each to include the in-between steps that will carry you from the first scene to the last. This bare-bones step outline is essentially a list of the scenes in your story in linear fashion.
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Step 4

Now expand each step, using no more of two sentences for all of your steps. Each of the steps should clearly describe what happens in that scene. At this point, you're not really concerned about the details: no dialogue, no set dressing, no minor characters unrelated to the central action of the scene.
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Step 5

Now that you written you step outline, go back and reread it. This is where your step outline can tell you what works and more importantly what doesn’t. If, as you read your story moves forward only by fits and starts, you have a problem. But it is much easier to make corrections here rather than after you’ve written your screenplay.


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