Script Development Process Q.


It’s identical but with a few differences.

  • I always come up with a tagline and keep it and my main character list, at the top of my outline.


Bound is a film I came up with at the start of the summer over on Tumblr. It’s definitely in ‘plot sketch’ territory since I haven’t revisited it in quite some time.


  • My outline is broken down by [SCENE#] and [CUTS] within the scene. This is an outline, in the script I include ages on the character intro, along with some description.

[OPENER] Inside a coffee shop, MILES SPENCER shares a drink with visiting friend DOUGLAS. Miles answers Douglas’ questions about life in America at the top of a mountain. He is is cryptic, yet expresses no desire to return to London. The pair exit and find tomorrow’s snowstorm has arrived early. Douglas considers taking a room at the inn above the pub across the street, but his funds are low, so Miles reluctantly offers him a spare bedroom at his home.

[1] Miles’ car pulls out of the main street of shops and drives through the gusty snow. [CUT] Through the evening storm we see the lighted windows of a dwelling. [CUT] A fire cracks in the living room hearth [CUT] Miles and Douglas stand in the kitchen drinking bourbon and talking about the snowy weather. Suddenly, a long black snake slithers across the kitchen floor. Douglas is frightened, but Miles calmly says, relax, it isn’t real. [CUT] Douglas flushes the toilet in the bathroom and retreats in horror as the toilet overflows, flooding the floor with shit. Opening the door to yell for Miles, he turns to find the scene vanished. [CUT] Rejoining Miles, a disturbed Douglas lifts his bourbon for a sip and sees a plucked-out eye floating in it. Miles tells him there’s nothing in that glass but double-oaked Woodford. A second look proves this true. None of these horrors are real, says Miles, except the fear that follows when you bear witness.


Miles looks around his empty London flat one last time; he’s sold mostly everything in anticipation for a new life in the United States. [CUT] Outside his plane window, he sees the Rocky Mountains. [CUT] Miles makes small talk with the car rental agent; he’s a naturalized citizen now and will buy a vehicle when the time comes. The agent is excited for him and gives him directions to a nearby auto dealer in Denver. [CUT] Miles drives the Scenic Byway, encountering hairpins turns, steep ascents, and downhill runs. [CUT] He cruises through Parowut (Population 75), a tiny summit town with a divided main street of connected buildings. One of them reads Noor Summit Properties. [END CREDITS]

[3] Inside a small real-estate office, Miles greets CATHY NORSKI, the agent handling his inherited property. Her stylish headscarf prompts him to ask if she’s an immigrant like him. She politely informs him that her great grandfather came to America from Slovakia after the Hapsburg’s began murdering her people. An uncomfortable moment follows for Miles until Cathy lightens the mood by revealing her grandfather fell in love with a local woman, and that’s how the Norski family became part of Parowut. He inquiries about the property’s condition, having just seen pictures. Cathy assures him the beautifully restored home is considered a historic preserve since its builder, an Anglican minister named Edmund Spencer, brought religion to the mountains. Miles admits to knowing nothing of the man before inheriting the ground two years ago. Cathy hands over the deed and keys and offers to drive him up, but Miles politely tells her he can manage. Before departing, he thanks her again for helping facilitate his move.

[3] At The Duka Pub, Miles sits at the bar reviewing the property paperwork and admiring the establishments decor: images of the African American men responsible for building the transcontinental railroad. The GIRL tending bar asks if he wants another Stella, and when he asks about ‘take-away,’ She corrects him: you mean, takeout? The owner, KATHY DUKA, introduces herself and, seeing his paperwork at the bar, asks him about the house. Miles gives his name, and the girl tending the bar comments that he’s the first actual Spencer to live in that place. Kathy quickly explains that the property changed hands so many times over the years—but none of the owners was ever named Spencer. The last owners were Sheila and Bradley Timmons from New York; Miles knows little of Sheila other than they’d shared a great-grandmother. The tender reveals that the man and his kids abandoned the property after that Sheila lady had a heart attack. Kathy hums and wonders if the man killed his wife for the money. Miles grins at such a dreadful thought before inquiring of the pub’s many antique photos. Kathy boasts her great-great-grandmother came to Colorado as a mail-order bride for a railroad man. The pair settled on the mountain top and opened a colored’s-only hotel. Other hotels failed after the mining dried up, but not Duka’s. After finishing college, Kathy took over in the late ’80s and rebranded the place by adding a pub on the first floor.

[4] Bag of food on the front seat, Miles stops at Garza’s Gas & Sip at the edge of town. He stares at the massive mountain before turning his attention to the gas pump where he is startled by the station attendant. ANGELIQUE GAGARIN, whose name reads Angel on her uniform, reminds him that he cannot pump his own gas, pointing at the sign over her shoulder. He apologizes as he’s new to the USA and asks if there’s bottled water sold inside; she tells him yes, along with tea, sugar, milk, and anything else he might need on the road. [CUT] Inside is a small grocery store, and Miles marvels at the variety of teas. He excitedly fills his basket, grabbing a cheap stove-top kettle for the house. [CUT] At the register, Angel notices his large haul. He informs her he’s not on the road. He’s the new owner of the Spencer cabin. She remarks about how many owners there have been and how a pious man like Spencer sure liked to make kids. Miles again expresses his lack of knowledge about the man, but he seems a proper ‘geezer’ from his pictures. Angel knows about the man because my tax dollars go toward maintaining that ‘shit house of his’. Miles quiets as she totals his bill, and when he’s shocked at the low price. She reminds him he’s not in London anymore. Things are cheaper in the colonies. Miles asks how she knows he’s from London, and Angels says no other Brits use the word geezer to describe a man’s clothes unless they’re from London—she then cracks, you think you’re the only limey that’s been through here on the way to California. Miles laughs and pays her for the groceries.

[5] Before sundown, Miles arrives at a modest two-story timber cabin with an attachment and a small, detached shed (same house from opener scene); all three buildings enclose a small yard with a young tree and dirt path to a narrow porch. [CUT] Miles finds his new home is a furnished home, with antique timbers, doors, windows, and floors. A sealed letter sits on the kitchen island from Cathy Norski but doesn’t open it. He opens the refrigerator instead and finds the house is without power; opening Cathy’s letter, he reads about the solar panel breaker box outside. [CUT] He finds it out back of the house, along with a booklet on how to turn on the generator to his geothermal system. [CUT] Electricity now working inside, Miles puts the kettle on and goes to collect firewood from the stacks on the porch. While there, he spots the eye shine of a small animal on the property’s wooden fence. It’s a kitten. Immediately at ease, Miles sets down the wood and approaches the kitten—suddenly, the large talons of an owl swoop in and snatch the cat, taking it to the corner of the shed, he rips the feline’s head off. Miles falls to the deck and sobs uncontrollably.

[6] The following day, Miles finishes his tea in the kitchen when he hears a cat on the porch. This cat is large and female. He tells her through the screen door that she won’t find her baby because it’s gone. The cat climbs up onto a window box, purring. Miles opens the door: You’re welcome to look inside, but I assure you, I don’t have it. The cat races in and begins searching room by room, meowing loudly. [CUT] Miles fills a teacup with water and lures the cat outside; he leads her to the fence where blood and fur remain. He refuses to look at the fence as he sets the cup down. It’s not milk, he tells the cat. I don’t consume anything from an animal. When the cat reaches the cup, he quickly goes back inside and watches as her tail moves out of view. That’s right, he says. Sniff around and figure out what’s happened.

[7] Later that day, native TROY STONE and his YOUNGER ASSISTANT install a long rod-receiver to the corner of the attached guest bedroom. Miles approaches and offers each a bottle of water. Miles thought he was getting a satellite dish, but Troy says he cannot install one without permission from the town council; he reveals the last owners had to remove theirs because the counsel disapproved. Troy says the rod should go unnoticed, and it’s better than any dish; his young assistant cracks, ‘those bitches won’t see shit unless they’re looking.’ Troy sends him back to the truck and apologizes for his rudeness. Miles laughs it off, and Troy wonders why the council even cared since they slapped solar panels on the roof. Miles learns that Tony isn’t from Parowut; he’s from the valley at the foot of the mountain. He adds that he doesn’t typically venture this far east and that the Spenser property is his limit. Before Miles can ask why, Troy probes his readiness for the first snowstorm of the season, snowstorms on the mountain can take out the bypass for weeks at a time. Miles wonders if that’s why there are two standing freezers in the shed. Troy laughs: buying bulk is a way of life on the mountain in winter. He tells Miles about a warehouse grocery in the valley where he could stock up on meat. Miles admits he’s vegetarian but will heed his advice and stock up on plenty of frozen pizza.

[8] Miles sits alone at The Duka Pub, making a list of everything he might need for the next two weeks. There’s a half-empty plate of eaten fries and an empty ice-filled glass. Kathy refills his sweet tea and glances at his list, and notices there’s no meat. She knows he’s not one of those full vegans after scarfing down her cheese fries. Miles asks wonders if the orange cheese is actually cheese. Kathy plays at being offended and admits it comes from a can, so it’s debatable.

[9] The mountains sit far on the horizon behind a modernized town built around a two-lane highway. Strip stores and fast-food restaurants sit on both sides of the drag, and there’s plenty of Native American’s (they outnumber the white folks). [CUT] Inside a Costco, Miles poses for his ID picture, taken by a NATIVE WOMAN who tells him he has a nice smile. [CUT] He pushes his cart around the aisle and comes upon the toilet paper and marvels at the sheer amount it. An older NATIVE MAN passes him and says, it looks like a lot, don’t it? Miles grins. The Native Man says, if you live alone, one pack will get you through the first snow. [CUT] Miles stands in line at the checkout, his cart loaded with flour, dry goods, and fresh and frozen vegetables. The WOMAN SHOPPER before him loads her packaged meat on the conveyor, and its redness makes him queasy. When a wrapped fish appears with its head intact, Miles turns away, disturbed.

[10] Driving back up the mountain, he listens to a radio report on the snow expected to hit overnight, but snow starts falling as he reaches the summit. Suddenly, he remembers that he forgot to buy Tofu. He pulls into Garza’s Gas & Sip. [CUT] Inside, Angel stands behind the counter, aloof. Miles holds a gas container in his hand and tells her he needs his car fueled and some gas for his home generator. He then asks if she has Tofu, knowing it’s a long shot – what gas station sells Tofu? Angel tells him there’s silken firm Tofu in the walk-in. She gives him plastic gloves and tells him to get what he needs; she’ll add them to the gas price. [CUT] Miles walks to the back and sees a big silver freezer door. He looks back, unsure, and Angel tells him – you pull the handle and go inside. Miles pulls the handle and steps into the cold. A light comes on overhead. Against the back is a tub of fresh mozzarella in water, and beside it, a bin of tofu chunks in water. He pulls on the gloves and tears free a plastic bag from an overhead roll. Tofu bag in hand, he turns to find butchered pig carcasses hanging on hooks. Frozen in horror, he stares at the hanging torsos until they resemble human bodies. [CUT] Miles runs to the car and gets inside. He gags but doesn’t vomit. Once settled, he turns on the vehicle before a knock at the window frightens him. It’s Angel, a bag of Tofu in hand. Miles rolls down the window and takes a scolding for leaving her walk-in door open – I’m not trying to refrigerate my whole store. He apologizes and takes the Tofu. She gives him his receipt and informs him that she put some of his groceries in the back seat to make room for his gas container in the hatch. Miles hastily drives off.

You get the idea.

Miles suffers from Necrophobia and the coven revealed later in the film torments him with visions of death. I won’t reveal how and why (though those notes are complete) and will someday return to this project? XD


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