Example of Screenplay Summary: Coyote Ugly Act I

Here is a typical example of Act I of a Screenplay Summary: Coyote Ugly.

Screenplay by Gina Wendkos




SEQUENCE 1: Violet quits her dead-end job in New Jersey and leaves her widower father and friends to find success as a performer-songwriter in New York City.

Scene 1:     South Amboy, NJ. VIOLET is a waitress at a pizza restaurant. The owner has Violet sign her final time-clock card and pins it on a wall with others like it. The owner announces he has: “The first autograph.” A customer says that the wall is jinxed and says to Violet: “Let’s hope you have better luck than they did.”

Scene 2:     At a bowling alley, Violet’s friend, GLORIA, announces that Violet is leaving for New York City. Violet reluctantly and shyly gets on the stage and joins her friends to sing: ‘ I will survive.’

Scene 3:      At home, Violet’s father tells her of four people being killed in New York City. Violet gives him diet instructions. Violet’s father tells her not to go. Violet wants to become a successful songwriter. Violet asks for her father’s support to go, but he refuses. Violet meets Gloria outside at her car. Her father calls: “Good luck.” Violet runs back and hugs him.


Scene 2. Violet has stage fright (Character Weakness).  


Inciting Incident

SEQUENCE 2:  In New York City, Violet finds it impossible to get people to listen to a tape of her music, but meets a grill cook, Kevin.

Scene 4:      Violet and Gloria arrive at the bare Manhattan apartment that Violet has rented. Violet’s friend insists Violet accept a roll of cash and places it in the freezer. Gloria reminisces about their plans growing up together (with low ambition) which they didn’t accomplish, but says she is proud of Violet.

Scene 5:      In her apartment, Violet begins to play an electric piano. The neighbors hammer on the walls and demand silence. Violet practices on the roof.

Scene 6:      Violet finds it difficult to persuade people in the music business to listen to her tape.

Scene 7:     At a bar, Violet meets a bar tender who is also trying to make it in the music industry. The bartender mischievously allows Violet to think that KEVIN O’DONNELL is the bar’s music manager. In fact, he is a lowly grill cook.

Scene 8:     Outside the bar, Violet gives Kevin a tape of her music. Kevin’s boss emerges and blows Kevin’s cover. Kevin admits his deception while Violet recognizes she made a fool of herself. Kevin follows her. They flirt.


Scene 4. The money in Violet’s freezer will be stolen.


Call to Action

SEQUENCE 3: After more difficulty in finding music industry people to listen to her music, having her apartment robbed and failing to perform when given a chance, Violet is offered a potential job at a bar – the Coyote Ugly.

Scene 9:       At a management agency, Violet is told she should perform at an ‘open mike night’. Violet finds such an event. Violet takes the stage. After being heckled, Violet backs out of performing. (Refusal of the Call).

Scene 10:      Back home, Violet finds that her apartment has been ransacked. Even the money in the freezer has gone.

Scene 11:    At a diner, Violet is given a free pie by ROMERO. Violet hears ZOE, RACHEL and CAMMIE talk. They look hot, confident and clearly enjoying who and how they are. Zoe dances – she has quit. Romero says they are ‘Coyotes’ and gives Violet a match book of a bar – the Coyote Ugly. Violet hears that they each made $300 last night. It will be Zoe’s last week as a Coyote before going to law school.

Scene 12:    Violet goes to the Coyote Ugly bar and asks LIL, the owner, for a job. Lil asks Violet if she is from Piedmont, ND. Violet replies South Amboy, NJ. Lil says: “Same thing.” After Violet shows some attitude, Lil tells her to come to the bar for an audition. Lil pegs Violet as a teacher, and says the men will love it.


Scene 12. Lil will reveal where she is from.


Commitment to Act - Plot Point A

SEQUENCE 4: After Violet fails to perform well at the Coyote Ugly she is fired. But the owner sees Violet’s street-smarts and gives her another chance.

Scene 13:     Violet finds the Coyote Ugly busy and rowdy. Rachel sends a river of fire across the bar. Lil rips Violet’s t-shirt to be more revealing. Lil says she has two rules: “Don’t date the customers and don’t ever bring your boyfriends into my bar!” Lil announces Violet’s name is ‘Jersey’ over a bullhorn. The bar only serves beer and drinks in shot glasses. Violet is slow. When someone asks for water in bourbon, Rachel sprays the customers with water. Lil says Violet  failed the audition and is fired. But, on her way out. Violet stops a fight with $10 by telling the fighters to buy two women a drink. Lil changes her mind and tells Violet to meet a ‘fashion coordinator’ tomorrow. Lil adds: “Hey Jersey. I’d be shocked if you survive another night.”


Scene 13. Kevin appears in the Coyote Ugly and causes problems.