Outlining a Speech from a movie

Learning Goal: I’m working on a social work writing question and need support to help me learn.

For this assignment, you’ll need to be creative. To practice outlining, you’ll choose a monologue from a movie (or a play, if you prefer) and reverse-engineer it into a speech outline and a speaking outline.

Step 1: Choose a monologue. If a favorite movie speech doesn’t leap to mind, there are a lot of lists of monologues and speeches in movies out there: try typing “speeches in movies” into a search engine. There is also a large database (through 2009) of monologues with text at filmsite.org, and another collection of film monologue texts at American Rhetoric. (Note: depending on the movie you choose, the monologue may have obscene language or upsetting ideas. It’s up to you to decide whether the speech is appropriate for this academic assignment. If in doubt, ask your instructor).

Step 2: Decide what the main points of the monologue are. Those are the main points in your outline. Keep in mind that you might summarize the main points with different wording than is used in the actual monologue. You may decide to condense or paraphrase, for instance. Or the main point may not be stated explicitly in the monologue, in which case you’d want to state it directly in your outline.

Step 3: Find the subpoints and sub-sub-points of the main points. Put them in the outline (again, summarizing or paraphrasing as necessary).

This is your speech outline. How would you transform it into a speaking outline? What delivery notes would you add to get to the performance in the movie clip? Are there any lines you would want to write out verbatim (exactly as you’d say them)?

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