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Old 07-02-2016, 12:27 PM   #21
ComicBent
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Default Re: Outlining

Ordinarily I do not quote long passages. (Why do some people insist on quoting an entire post, no matter how long it is?) But I am quoting a few paragraphs here, because they are a really nice little essay on character.

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I find that my bro and I, after all of that outlining, *constantly* veer off of outlining in the scripting as we find more organic and true-to-character ways to make the plot unfold. That's the rub. Until you've lived with these characters and found them on the page, you and your outlining are kinda focusing on plot no matter how hard you try to find these beats through a conceptualized character. And, personally for me, plot sucks. Character is where it's at. Character is everything. We want to love, to hate, to be inspired to laugh or cry—this all comes from character, for the most part. No matter what you make happen to a character, it won't matter unless we FEEL something for or about them, be it reverence, love, hate, annoyance, pity, etc.

As hard as we as writers try to make outlines present a logical story, I find (in my own reading giving people notes, in watching films, etc) that character motivation sometimes takes a back seat, and that is a cardinal sin for me. Stick to an outline over abandoning it to be true to character is a problem, as outlines can kind of become their own dogma if you let them. Outline, sure, but don't be a slave to it.

Outlines kind of create their own brand of writer's block because the writing of the script can feel like homework or painting by numbers at that point. It is much less inspiring and artistic and freeing to write to an outline.
Very nicely done, biglips.
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Old 07-02-2016, 08:31 PM   #22
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Default Re: Outlining

Depends on what's on the outline or on the cards. Depends on how clear the dramatic relationships are.

The trick - for me - is that it's a first attempt at organization. The same outline should conceivably made completely different movies because there's more elements to be added that can't be spelled out on the outline.

I agree not to be slave to the outline. Conversely, you can use the outline to think things through. Ultimately though you need to feel what's right for the specific scene and then re-read it and see it as an audience would. You can do a little bit of this refining at the outline level and it will save you a few drafts but those few drafts and rewrites will happen so I try to give it my best, not just perfunctory - and then you work as if you didn't had an outline - not totally forgetting it but as if you read someone else's movie and now you're tackling 'your' version. Makes sense?
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Old 07-03-2016, 11:45 AM   #23
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Default Re: Outlining

I find, when I veer off of outline because of an organic character development, that it's a good time to make adjustments to the outline accordingly. It's not set in stone, after all.
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Old 07-03-2016, 02:35 PM   #24
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Default Re: Outlining

One can write using a map, or using a compass. Or maybe use a bit of both - but that might just be orienteering.
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Old 07-04-2016, 01:09 PM   #25
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Default Re: Outlining

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Originally Posted by EdFury View Post
Does everybody hate outlining as much as I do? I doubt it.
You can't hate something you don't know.

But, seriously, I outline in my head. Of course I've never been paid to write a script so, if it was part of the job, I guess I would have to learn how to outline on paper. (Not much danger of that happening.)
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Old 07-04-2016, 01:17 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Crayon View Post
Outlining is the best part.
You've got to be kidding. If outlining was the "best part" for me, I wouldn't write at all. (And I'm dead serious about that.) To me writing is a creative process, outlining is a mechanical one.

But I DO realize that not everyone is the same. I can imagine that outlining could be a creative process. I can also imagine that all cows are blue and hover exactly eight feet above the surface of the earth.

(Obviously we're different here.)
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Old 07-04-2016, 01:25 PM   #27
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Default Re: Outlining

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Originally Posted by ihavebiglips View Post
2. You'll have to do it professionally.
Except that's not necessarily true. The OP of this thread specifically mentioned that he doesn't usually use outlines and that he sells his writing.

I'm always wary of "absolutes" -- things you have to do to be a writer. "Should," "helpful," ... maybe, "have to" ... no.
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Old 07-04-2016, 01:45 PM   #28
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Default Re: Outlining

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Originally Posted by Centos View Post
Except that's not necessarily true. The OP of this thread specifically mentioned that he doesn't usually use outlines and that he sells his writing.

I'm always wary of "absolutes" -- things you have to do to be a writer. "Should," "helpful," ... maybe, "have to" ... no.
Did I say you have to do it on EVERY assignment? No. But you will have to on some if not most... as the OP said he has to on this current assignment.

And my bro and I have definitely had to on each of the three feature assignments we scored. And it was a nightmare for the most part in terms of notes. We even had one where we made an insanely awesome pitch to a star and even heard back "best meeting ever taken in this room," after which he hired us to write the script and his execs made us outline and noted us to death until we weren't even really writing the same thing we pitched anymore.

I wasn't being "absolute" in that every professional assignment requires it, but I do put it at close to 100% that you will have to outline for someone at some point if you're a professional.
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Old 07-04-2016, 03:13 PM   #29
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Default Re: Outlining

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Originally Posted by Centos View Post
You've got to be kidding. If outlining was the "best part" for me, I wouldn't write at all. (And I'm dead serious about that.) To me writing is a creative process, outlining is a mechanical one.
This thread suggests that not all outlining is equal, and it's dependent on why it's done, how it's done, when it's done, and who it's done for. And - just to be a completist - where it's done. I usually do it in bed, on my semi-smart phone, and with a hand down my pants.

I suspect my outlining is quite different from what the OP does; not least because I'm a rank amateur.

For me, outlining happens when a scrappy text file, that contains just a premise and some ideas for key scenes/imagery/characters/dialogue, starts to become a skeleton story. It's when the ideas begin slotting into sequence and snowballing. Then I put some meat on its bones and gradually that 'outline' develops into the first draft.

[Apologies for the multi mixed metaphors.]
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Old 07-04-2016, 04:04 PM   #30
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Default Re: Outlining

Trying to understand this from the producer/director point of view. Are they requesting an outline as a presentation document? In other words, do they want something as a sort of checklist/abstract of the screenplay to use for shorthand reference during production process? That seems different from "outlining" as part of the process of writing a screenplay.

If the former, it seems they're almost looking for a summary of scenes/story points, a step more detailed than a treatment?

Also depends on if the outline derives from a completed script or a proposed pitch/work in progress.
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