What is the best method used for writing a script? Do you always go in with a plan or do let your writing just flow and let your imagination take over?
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I usually let it flow to see where I get then go back and do an outline. I usually windup making the outline into a written pitch.
Outline, outline, outline. And then I never end up following it exactly, but it's how I have to start.
I know some people do extensive outlines and others just jot down ideas. I kind of work somewhere in between. I always start with an ending and work backwards. I write a brief outline of an idea of how I want each scene to go. Sometimes that can be as little as a sentence for that scene. I then just write and if everything is flowing it could go like that scene goes in the outline or it could go in a completely different direction. Like Maurice Vaughan stated, you could have 40 pages of great ideas and then get halfway through and have no where to go with the screenplay if you don't already have a basis of an outline to go off of and that'll just cause you to have to go back and rework every aspect of your screenplay which takes up time and in professionals case money.
Always a plan, but I change it every time. But yeah, planning and outlining is your friend.
I either go for the vomit draft, which for me is going in with an idea and knowing basically all the plot beats and the ending, then flush that out of the system really quick, usually about 70 pages in a few days. Then from there I start going through and deleting, changing, putting flesh on the bones of the characters, separating voices, clarifying arcs, setting up jokes, paying off jokes, etc. Or, I meticulously research and outline then get through about 50 pages before doubting myself and quitting on it :D
I outline, then allow myself the freedom to stray from it when a tangent becomes more compelling than the original plan.
My first draft I let my imagination take over and just flow with it even though I have an outline. I refer back to my outline after the first rough draft is completed.
Stephen, I definitely go in with a plan...an outline.
What's an outline? Is it a beat by beat comprehensive map from beginning to end? No. I never outline. Is it a few notes about the premise and perhaps a suggested ending with some vague thoughts about what happens in Act 2? Yeah - I ALWAYS outline.
We each travel along separate paths regarding this and you will find your own way over time. Firstly, I begin with a basic theme/concept in mind. Then I write a killer opening audience magnet. Then I write the conclusion/denouement scene. This gives me point A and point B. Then I outline how I'm going to sail from A to B but there are often many course changes made along the way and occasionally I dock at C. Then I rewrite the whole thing a few dozen times or so. But that's just my way - you do your own thing. Keep in mind that the goal is to create a market worthy script.
Yeah C.J. ... Turn and Burn looks good and it seems to work for you. I notice it took you a few years to work it out. Every wannabe screenwriter ought to pay attention to the time it takes.
I get downloads - I will hear sentences, get a vision, and I feel compelled to write it down. I never know where a script is going to go, I just know if I keep transcribing the downloads the rest will be given.
I shoot from the hip from beginning to end unless I am adapting. Then it's a nail biting ride to keep the flavor.
I never write a script unless I've sat with the idea for months. Then, I need to know the 5 major plot points including the ending.
I love it. We all have our own way within the same parameters. I start with a (really bad) logline for an idea that pops into my head. Then I beat it out into a 5 point story (normal world, inciting incident, quest, climax, new normal), then write a page summary. If I can write the page, then I'm golden to start my draft. Then, I usually plan each beat a couple beats at a time to reach the points laid out in my not-so-outline outline. I wish I could go 70 pages in a few days that someone said above, but these vagrants (okay, my teenagers) don't leave me alone long enough. Oh, and I should probably get off of S32 and write...
TV writing model is pitch a concept for approval, write an outline for approval, then the script for approval. Everyone in TV uses this model.
For film, some producers will ask for an outline, some will not. For spec, people do all kinds of random.
I've done it both ways but most of mine have been adaptions nowadays.
Whatever gets you the best results.
I outline, because the scripts that I outlined were better paced and better structured and got more reads and meetings and sales. Results. I didn't particularly like outlining, but it isn't what I like, it's what gets results.
If you are starting out - experiment. You will be writing a stack of screenplays anyway, so try different methods and see what gets you the best finished script.