Arts & Entertainment

Starting Your Pilot Script

The Duffer Brothers

Lesson time 13:33 min

In this lesson, learn to convert your final outline into a pilot script and get an inside look at how Matt and Ross built the "Stranger Things" pilot, originally called “Montauk.”

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Topics include: From Outline To First Draft • Case Study: Comparing The Final Outline With The Pilot Script of "Stranger Things"


[MUSIC PLAYING] - So now, hopefully you have your final outline. I know it's been a-- a long journey. If you've been working on this big idea of yours, it's been a long journey to get here. But now, we can finally safely move into the script stage. So what you're going to take is-- again, that outline should be relatively detailed. So now we're just making it-- we're making it pretty. We're formatting into the screenplay format. We're adding in a lot more of the dialogue. Again, maybe you had some ideas for dialogue, but now you're going to add all of the dialogue. You're going to smooth out all of your descriptions, transitions from one to-- one scene to the next. So you're really just putting on the final touches. You're making your house beautiful and livable now. So this is really the final step of this process. - So one thing we're not going to get into in this class is how to format your script. Most of these programs, whether you're working on Final Draft or WriterDuet, which is what we work on, it will automatically format it for you. And the best thing to do is just to look at, read, you know, any screenplay, and you'll be able to see pretty quickly how these studios want your scripts formatted. ROSS DUFFER: Sort of scene heading and capitalizing character names when you first meet them, all of that stuff. There are a bunch of little rules. They're actually very simple. And again, you can find any information you want on that online, so we're not going to get too much into that. It's very simple and straightforward. [MUSIC PLAYING] - So if you have a good final outline, if you feel confident in that final outline and that final outline is, indeed, working, the script itself-- again, this is a little bit more of a formality. Yeah, you're adding in dialogue. You're making it pretty. But it shouldn't take as long as the outline took. At least it doesn't take us as long. - Yeah. - It usually takes us around two weeks to turn a final outline into a final script. And I think that is how long it took us to write the pilot for "Stranger Things." - This is really just the formality. This is Hitchcock showing up. Picture's done. Now I just have to film it. - I should mention, though, and this-- because this has happened to us. It didn't happen with the "Montauk" pilot. - No. - But it has happened with other scripts that we've written and it's happened to us with "Stranger Things" scripts where you think you have a final outline that works. You move into script. You're writing the script, and just something is just not working. Actually, this happens to us quite a bit. So that's normal, first of all, so you shouldn't be distressed or upset about that. What you really should do then is kind of what we were saying, you know, when you're in the final outline, how you maybe need to back out again into the scaffolding outline. So if you're in the script and something really d...

About the Instructor

Before they turned our world upside down with "Stranger Things," Matt and Ross Duffer honed their scare tactics on Wayward Pines and their debut thriller, Hidden. Now, the acclaimed showrunners reveal the dark science of creating a monster hit. Craft gripping story arcs, conjure unforgettable characters—like Eleven or Jim Hopper—and turn your raw idea into a pitch for the next big thing to cross over from the other side.

Featured MasterClass Instructor

The Duffer Brothers

Matt and Ross Duffer—the "Stranger Things" masterminds—teach you how they plotted the series from beginning to end, and how you can bring your own idea to life.

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