Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice outline

Your movie had better be about emotion, and that emotion is going to come from relationships. One type of outline that you need to do is the Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice outline, which explores all the possible combinations of relationships in your story.

Robert is your hero.
He owns a restaurant with Nelson.
He has a crush on Alba.
Judith his his mother.
Manuelito is his friend.
Bingo works at the bar next door.
etc., etc., etc. as the King of Siam might say, were he here.

So, you list the possible relationships in your story…

Robert / Nelson
Robert / Manuelito
Robert / Alba
Robert / Judith
Robert / Angelina
Robert / Tommy
Robert / Bar Owner
Robert / Sheriff
Robert / Bingo
Robert / Bertha

Nelson / Judith
Nelson / Alba
Nelson / Manuelito
Nelson / Bingo
Nelson / Bar Owner
Nelson / Sheriff
Nelson / Bertha

Manuelito / Manuelito’s wife
Manuelito / Bar Owner
Manuelito / Angelina
Manuelito / Manuelito’s kids
Manuelito / Tommy

Judith / Alba
Judith / Manuelito
Judith / Bar Owner
Judith / Sheriff

And you flesh them out.

Judith, the mom, has a relationship with Alba, the intended girlfriend. How cool! I’d have never thought of that had I not done my outline this way. All kinds of interesting things can come about now that I know Judith and Alba have some scenes together. They can cook and Alba can learn stuff about Judith’s son, Robert the hero. Had I not done a Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice outline, I’d never have thought to put Judith and Alba in a scene together.

What a great way to look at a story!



Filed under character, Scenes, Screenwriting

2 responses to “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice outline

  1. Dan Sanderson

    My story ideas expanded exponentially. I don’t have to try to follow a straight path through formulaic stages. I can wander around interesting combinations of characters to discover what the story really has to say. There are so many better ideas than I could have come up with.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Wandering is SO much more fun that sticking to the railroad tracks!!! And often, far more rewarding.

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