How to outline your script in Movie Draft

Along with writing in a non-linear way, Movie Draft can also help you outline your script in three easy steps before you write a single word in the editor.

Step 1: Setup

Create a new document and ensure that you have the Scene List visible and not in Index Card View. Why? Because when in Index Card View you are shown the first paragraph of the scene, but in "normal" Scene View you are shown your custom notes - which is what we want as we don't have any text in our scenes yet.

Step 2: Add a scene

Press Cmd+Shift+N (Mac) or Ctrl+Shift+N (Windows). This opens the "Add Scene" dialog box. Copy the following into the Scene Title field:

This is where John finds Marjorie.

Then write as much descriptive text about the scene as you can think of in the Scene Notes field. This is important because it'll help jog your memory about the scene when you return to actually write it. It's better to do this now than revisit every scene later! For now, copy the following:

Marjorie is trapped in the cave. John calls out into the echoes. She doesn't hear. His torch batteries are getting flat. Maybe need something here about her fear of the dark...?

Press OK to accept that scene. You should now see your scene title and scene notes in the Scene List.

Step 3: Add an icon (optional)

If you want to add an icon to represent the scene, right-click on the scene and choose "Change Icon...". A window will appear where you may choose an icon. Useful for jogging your memory to key events when glancing over your scenes later.

Repeat steps 2 & 3 with all the scenes you can think of for your screenplay. It doesn't matter which order they appear. It may take a while to write down all the scenes that your screenplay needs, so don't rush this. What you are trying to achieve is a list of all the scenes. An outline. It doesn't matter if this takes days or even a few weeks. Without knowledge of the scenes you need you'll most likely write yourself into a corner.

Order and reorder

Once you are happy that you have all, or most of the scenes your screenplay needs you can start to rearrange them into how they should appear so they make more sense as you'd see the finished film. To do this, simply drag and drop the scenes around in the Scene List until you're happy.

Write

Now, and only now do you start to actually write the screenplay, and writing in Movie Draft is a piece of cake as you can write in any order you wish. So long as you're in Singe Scene Mode you can write non-linearly (i.e., not from beginning to end). Just click on the scene in the Scene List you'd like to write, then click on another. It doesn't matter which scene you write next, just concentrate on one scene at a time.

Finally, once all your scenes are written, exit Single Scene Mode. You'll see your script in its entirety. Read through it from start to finish then read again with amends.

You're done!

Now why not show it to some other writers to get some feedback on the private forums? (You must be logged in to see the private forums)

Video introduction

Get a quick overview of Movie Draft's key features by watching the following video:

View a 15 minute introduction to Movie Draft narrated by it's creator, Mark O'Neill