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 Film Outline

Map out a bird’s eye view of your feature film.

Intro

Over the years, I’ve found it useful to outline the entire film minute-by-minute before writing a single page of the screenplay. This template is designed to be pinned up in a grid on a wall (as an example, 10 columns by 3 rows for a 90 minute outline) creating a bird’s eye view of the story and act structure. Which, throughout the outlining process, can be used to (more easily) spot issues with pacing, information flow, etc.

Notes

When outlining a film, I use at least two different colors of 3x3” sticky notes, this way I can alternate colors between scenes and at-a-glance get a visual sense of pacing, as well as quickly move scenes/ideas around as needed.

As a general rule, if I feel I can’t describe a minute of screen time in 2-3 sticky notes (1-3 per row, 6-9x per page) than I likely have a pacing issue. This template included 2 hours of screen-time, print as many pages as necessary.

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