Here is a sample of a detailed screenplay outline we provide for our clients.
Sample Screenplay Outline
Scene 1: Dusty Outskirts of LA
Opening montage shows Stephanie driving through dusty roads in the outskirts of LA. Rock music is blaring from the radio. Stephanie cuts people off and flips off a cop as she drives by; the cop simply shakes his head in disapproval. She slows down near the Mental Institution so she can retrieve a flask from her purse. As she’s pulling away we see Dean, who was watching from behind a fence. Stephanie drives off, and we her cell phone displaying a large number of missed calls.
Scene 2: Warehouse in LA
Stephanie parks her car outside of a warehouse. The remainder of the parking lot is filled with vehicles brimming with film equipment and props. Stephanie appears disappointed to be filming here. The director yells at her for being late, and they talk about how uncomfortable she is with doing this film. The film is revealed to be a drama leading up to the death of Alan Morris — an actor who Stephanie had looked up to who had died in a traumatic car accident five years prior. The director is completely unsympathetic and insists she gets into costume. Stephanie is cast as Alan Morris’ wife, Angela, who struggles with his substance abuse and secretive life. A few scenes are shot, and the director tells Stephanie that they will be filming outside of the Mental Institution tomorrow. The scene ends with Stephanie driving back to a seedy motel.
Scene 3: Motel Room
As Stephanie enters her motel room, she nearly trips on a pile of bills outside of her door. She pops a frozen dinner into the microwave and proceeds to open a bottle of whiskey. On the kitchen table, there is a large pile of opened mail consisting of legal notices regarding child support. She turns on the radio and Lana Del Rey’s Ride begins to play; she continues to drink heavily as she plops down at the table and throws a drunken tantrum at the site of the letters. She falls asleep, weeping on top of her half-eaten TV dinner. The next morning, Stephanie is eating a bowl of Captain Crunch in front of the TV. The news is covering a protest in the Sioux Indian Reservation that has become violent. The protest is regarding a gold mine, recently discovered in the reservation land, that the government has been trying to get their hands on. The reporter begins discussing the legality of the government stealing from an indian reservation before Stephanie changes the channel and continues eating her cereal. Hollywood Observer is covering her drunken exploits from the previous month — which included her throwing beer bottles at a paparazzi for asking too many questions about her legal troubles and the new movie she’s working on. Stephanie turns off the TV with some irritation. As she grabs her purse and begins to walk out, the strap breaks. She cringes, and puts her credit card, driver’s license, and some cash into her pocket, and walks out of the motel.
Scene 4: Outside of Mental Institution
Stephanie pulls up next to the directors car at the parking lot of the Mental Institution. While filming her scene, it is interrupted with a police officer walking on set and reading Stephanie her rights. He explains there is a warrant out for her arrest for her child support. The director tries to help by deterring the police from taking her off the set. Deflated, Stephanie mentions that it is a legal arrest, especially if you owe as much child support as she does, and goes with the police to the car. As the police car drives off, Dean is walking out from the entrance of the Mental Institution, wearing a hodgepodge of costumes from the movie set. He begins walking in the same direction that the police car drove off in.
Scene 5: The Police Station
The police place Stephanie in a questioning room in the police station. They offer her a glass of water, which she explains she can’t even drink with the cuffs on. They uncuff her and bring her a drink. They explain that she will be escorted to a court hearing where they will determine what to do about her child support. The arresting officer sits down and asks her questions about why a mother would bail on her children like she has, and all Stephanie is able to explain is that she got involved in some stuff she shouldn’t have gotten involved in. The cop gets frustrated and drags her out of the room, out of the station, and into the parking lot. As they begin walking towards the cruiser, a stock car comes out of nowhere and smashes into it. The cop is dazed and knocked on the ground. Stephanie was knocked down, but Dean gets out of the car and helps her up nonchalantly claiming himself as her guardian angel. She struggles, but Dean ends up throwing her into the back of his car. He peels out and drives off into the sunset.
Scene 1: Angela Morris’ Home
The scene cuts to Angela Morris’ home, which is essentially a mansion. A little boy and girl are playing with Legos as Angela sits in a recliner, drinking a white russian, watching a James Dean movie. A man wearing a blue T-shirt and khaki shorts enters from a slider door, asking Angela if she’ll need him again tomorrow for lawncare. He mentions that it’s unhealthy for a lawn to be cut every single day. She looks at him, playfully slaps him on the butt, and asks him if he does anything other than just lawn care. Her phone rings and from the other end of the line a man explains that Stephanie bailed on her court hearing. Angela finishes her drink and sourly mutters under her breath, calling Stephanie a bitch.
Scene 2: Driving on a Desert Highway
Dean is driving the car, Stephanie is in the back. Dean introduces himself as James Dean. Stephanie sarcastically asks him about his intentions, such as whether or not he’s going to kill her. Dean answers her cryptic replies. The tension wears down when Dean mentions he knows that she was in some trouble and he’s just trying to help her out. Stephanie relaxes and lights a cigarette, asking where they’re going. Dean simply tells her not back there. He asks her what kind of trouble she had gotten herself in when it came to the police, Stephanie refuses to answer as long as Dean won’t reveal his intentions. In the rearview mirror, a police vehicle turns on its lights some distance away from the stock car. Stephanie begins to panic. Dean revs up the engine and speeds away much faster than the police cruiser can keep up. The speedometer spirals around several times. Stephanie lays down in the back of the seat, screaming. After a few moments, they appear to have lost the police and Dean returns to a normal speed. Dean tells her that she has nothing to worry about and pats the dashboard. The sun begins to set, and Dean drives straight into the desert.
Scene 3: Campsite in the Desert
Dean and Stephanie sit in the desert sand. Dean retrieves a blanket from the front seat and gives it to Stephanie. Using some shrubbery, he lights a fire. Stephanie remains quiet until he finishes, and asks why they are going to camp in the desert, and expresses her concern about being attacked by coyotes. Frustrated, Dean tells her how the Native Americans survived in the wilderness before Europeans colonized here and assures her that if the indians could do it, they could too. Stephanie tells him that she wants to go home, eventually becoming more worried when she realizes she can’t. Dean explains that he needs her help, and if she is willing to help him get to the Sioux Indian reservation she will be paid back tenfold. Stephanie isn’t sure of how she can help. Dean explains how the entire world thinks he is dead, and therefore has no money and everybody thinks he’s crazy. He says he has more work on this world, and the Sioux shaman have way of working with the spirits. He talks about the Curse of the Green Bastard, and how he doesn’t want anybody else to be lost to the curse of the devil’s engine. Finally, he tells Stephanie that he knows she’s going through a rough patch in her life, and that they may be able to offer her some guidance. Stephanie thinks about the absurdity of all of this, but then remembers the news broadcast from before about the gold mine. She thinks that perhaps there may be a possibility of her walking out of this with some money — and an Indian reservation would be a great way to hide from her problems, even if temporary. She agrees to help Dean.
Scene 4: Next Day at a Seedy Gas Station
Dean is pumping gas into the car. In front of the gas station there are two 13-year-old kids sitting on the curb, smoking cigarettes. Stephanie walks in, but not before asking the children if their parents would like to see them where they are right now. The kids act rude to Stephanie as she goes inside and grabs a variety of snack foods and drinks and pays for them with her credit card. The gas station clerk starts to recognize her and she immediately leaves. She gets into the front seat of the car. Dean puts the car in neutral and tells Stephanie to get in the driver’s seat and to keep trying to start it. Dean pushes the car as hard as he can as the engine turns. Dean runs to the side of the car and jumps in the passenger seat. As they drive off, the clerk calls his friend and tells them how he just met one of his favorite porn stars.
Scene 5: Angela at a Salon
While getting her hair fixed, Angela takes a phone call. From the other end, a private investigator says that the police are unable to find Stephanie and are wondering if Angela has any idea of where she may have went. Having no idea herself, she asks why she hired the investigator if he doesn’t know any more than the police do. The investigator replies saying that he’ll have to use unconventional methods to locate her and hangs up. Angela continues getting her hair done as her children are seen running in the street outside.
Scene 6: Night Time on a Highway
Stephanie continues to ask Dean where the Indian Reservation is located. He finally cracks and tells her that it’s in South Dakota — a day’s drive away. She’s concerned about how far away it is, and Dean promises her he won’t sleep until they get there. There’s a roadside montage, ending with them being merely a few hours away. They decide to sleep in the car outside of Winner, South Dakota.
Act III: The Return
Scene 1: The Investigator at the Seedy Gas Station
Hot on the trail of Stephanie, the Investigator has managed to get word from the credit card company that Stephanie had last used her credit card at this gas station. He pulls up to the gas station and goes in. He picks up a package of licorice and questions the gas station attendant — same guy as before. The investigator asks if he’s seen anyone that meets Stephanie’s description and the attendant begins bragging that he met the celebrity. The attendant explains he recognizes her from some porn pictures he’s seen on the internet. He explains that she was traveling with Dean, who he describes as looking like a greaser right out of 1950’s. He thanks the attendant and returns to his car. He makes a call, the receiver is another one of Angela’s investigators. He tells the other man that he thinks he may have some information to help his case — he may have found Dean, who he refers to as Anthony. He asks to team up with the other investigator, and where he thinks Anthony may have gone. The receiving investigator instructs him to wait at the gas station.
Scene 2: On a dirt road in South Dakota
Stephanie and Dean wake up in the car to see that it won’t start. Dean suggests that they get out and push — as he’s not going to the reservation without the car. He says the engine is probably trying to show them something. As they push through the roads of the reservation, she can see liquor stores on every corner, as well as children taunting the homeless. This proves to Stephanie the effects that the Sioux protest has taken on the people who live on the reservation are devastating. They push the car off the road and into a clearing with a trailer in the middle of it. Dean stops pushing and tells her that they’ve arrived. Stephanie tells Dean that she needs to come clean — the real reason she’s with him is that she wants to escape from her reality. She explains how she had two children with Alan Morris. Alan began cheating on her with Angela, sending Stephanie into a reckless lifestyle. When Alan and Stephanie split up, the courts decided that Alan was a safer parent, and therefore gave the kids to him and Angela, who had got married. Stephanie was ordered to pay child support, knowing that Angela and Alan could easily afford to take good care of the kids even without her help. Months later, Alan died in a drunk driving accident and left everything to Angela in the will. Angela blames Stephanie for Alan’s lapse in judgement, and pressed harder and harder for child support payments to be made. Stephanie explains she was infuriated and distressed by these events, and that’s why she wanted to run. Dean tells her that she can run away forever out here, and that the Chief can help her heal her battered soul.
Scene 3: The Indian Chief’s Trailer
As Stephanie and Dean walk into the trailer without knocking, they meet the Chief — middle-aged man of native American descent wearing a white t-shirt and jeans. The chief pulls out a gun when he sees Dean, asking why he’s come here again. Dean has no idea what he’s talking about and tells the chief that he needs the chief to rid his car of the curse of the green bastard. The chief says he knows, and that this is the third time Dean has been here in the last several years asking about the same thing. He explains that every time, Dean shows up and makes this request, the chief tells him to simply get a new car, Dean leaves, and trouble moves into the reservation. The chief tells him to never come back. Dean is confused and begins to cry as he leaves the trailer. Stephanie explains that she came with him for some sort of spiritual guidance, and the Chief says that her biggest problem is hanging out with Dean. After hearing a slamming sound on the outside of the trailer, the Chief and Stephanie leave the trailer.
Scene 4: Outside of the Chief’s Trailer
Dean is brawling with the two investigators. As soon as the chief sees them, he fires his gun and accuses the investigators of being feds. The investigators explain that they’re looking for Anthony and Stephanie, but he keeps firing shots as everyone takes cover. Stephanie hides in the entrance of the trailer. The Chief keeps firing, shouting that the feds will never take the gold mine. Stephanie pleads with the Chief, suggesting that a gold mine is not worth the state it has put the people of the reservation in. The Chief, still firing his gun and reloading tells her that the Sioux have made a promise to their ancestors to protect these lands at any cost. Firing wildly now, the Chief shouts to Stephanie that promises have to be kept. Finally, one of the stray bullets hits the gas tank on the stock car, causing it to explode. Dean runs out from cover, falls to his knees and starts screaming. The investigators both run out and apprehend Dean, shouting at him to cease fire. The Chief sees them putting all of their attention on Dean and realizes they aren’t after the land. He throws the gun into the yard, out of ammo. The Chief returns to the trailer and gets a fire extinguisher. Stephanie stands aside as the Chief calmly walks to the car, kills the fire, and returns to the trailer and watches TV in his recliner. Snapping out of her astonishment, Stephanie rushes to Dean and tells the investigators to let him go. They reveal that his actual name is Anthony Jackson, and that he’s an escaped mental patient, that this isn’t the first time this has happened. One of the investigators grabs Stephanie and tells her they are bringing both of them in. She looks at them and tells them she’s done running, and asks them to take her home.
Scene 5: The Ending Scene
Stephanie’s wrapping up her final scene in the film. Immediately after the shoot, she drives to a local McDonald’s and works flipping burgers. In an internal monologue, Stephanie explains that learned that you can’t drive away from your problems, and that there is no shame in doing what needs to be done in order to fill your obligations. The scene ends with Stephanie visiting Angela, picking up the kids for the weekend, and taking them to a car show. For a brief moment, Dean can be seen walking by a car that looks exactly like his stock car. The credits roll.