Outline With Necessary Scenes

A quick tip for outlining faster is obligatory scenes!

Okay, maybe you haven’t thought this through so you’ll have to trust me on this one. All movies have scenes that the audience expects to see. If you take that one step farther, every genre movie has scenes the audience expects to see. If you start brainstorming your plot by just listing those scenes, your outline will quickly take shape.

How do you find the obligatory scenes for your movie genre???

Watch current hit movies in your genre and take note of the types of scenes they have in common. And I do mean, CURRENT movies. While some obligatory scenes never change, others evolve over time. And some get worn down and need a fresh twist, so always use obligatory scenes as a starting point. You’ll want to add that special twist that makes your writing unique.

A Few Genre Examples:

  • Romantic Comedies need that kiss between the main characters.
  • Action films need a chase scene.
  • Horror movies need a monster — human or otherwise — stalking a victim.

And all films need a moment when the main character(s) are completely lost and ready to give up.

When you learn all the obligatory scenes that need to be in your script, it frees you up to create unique parts in-between the expected parts. And that, my friend, is how you outline faster.

If you want a few more Obligatory Scene tips, check out this episode of Screenwriters Beat – Episode #18 “Obligatory Scenes”.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. I found this very helpful.


    1. Thank you, Peter! I’m just getting this blog up and going, so it’s great that I’ve already been of help. Happy writing to you!


  2. Your welcome Ann. I am new at this too. I am teaching myself how to do this. Hopefully it will help me in the long run.


    1. All best with your journey. BTW, I’m not new to screenwriting. 🙂 I created and host a show with other working screenwriters called Screenwriters Beat. We have over 50 shows and it’s free to watch on YouTube. We try to share what we’ve learned from breaking into the business and getting those first jobs. It’s pretty informal, but full of useful content. We did an episode on outlines, plus many other topics for screenwriters. If you want, you can check out the outlines episode HERE.


      1. I will definitely check this out Ann. Thanks.


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