On writing the step outline

This week’s task was to write the step outline for Night Shift. This required looking for the main information within the story and focusing on what the each of the scenes are trying to achieve. Creating the bare bones of the story and summarising each scene in one or two sentences.

Through a process of drafting and re-drafting, I assembled each step until I arrived at a satisfactory shape for the overall story. The first draft was assembled from scenes within the treatment. But the result was loose and lacked coherence and structure. Before re-drafting the outline again, I prepared a bare bones outline of the story corresponding to the stages within the 19 point story map. Re-aligning the story in this way helped create a more coherently structured story, which was easily shapable into a step outline. I also redrafted the phrasing of each step description to improve its clarity and sense, ensuring each step was between 3 and 4 lines.

Writing the step outline also helped me to define the purpose of each scene within the story.¬†While creating the step outline, I also made changes to the story. I haven’t been happy with the fight scene towards the end. So I relocated the scene to an inner city squat, changed the characters from a street gang to a group of squatters, and changed Roisin’s motivation from responding to an emergency text message to her making her last delivery of the night. This opened up the story in several new ways. Roisin agrees to help Lanya on the condition that Lanya agrees to come with her to make the delivery. As a result, Lanya is being forced to move further into the environment from which she wants to escape, and being taken inside a building within the neighbourhood, which leads on to the struggle in which Lanya rescues Roisin from assault.

Writing the step outline has helped to give me an overview of the whole film. Using it as a planning document enabled me to map out the physical and emotional journeys within the story, to play around with the structure and arrange the various elements within the story into as effective a screenplay as possible.