Outburst is the story of 17-year-old Tommy, a young musician who views life differently: from the seat of a wheelchair. He is working with his best friend, Joey, to come up with a winning entry for a songwriting contest. They are a complementary ensemble, as Joey has the greatest skill with the guitar and Tommy’s abilities are stronger as a lyricist. With a lot of work left on the song, and only four days to the competition, Joey’s new girlfriend drives a wedge in their friendship and musical partnership.

Tommy tries to accommodate Kristin’s entry into their social circle, but Joey’s actions to accommodate Kristin bring their music writing endeavor to a stand-still. When they end up getting so off-track that they get in trouble with the police, Tommy hits his breaking point. Joey responds in-kind, with cutting words targeting his friend.

With advice from Tommy’s stern but loving mother, Tommy begins to see his own faults in his attitude, and learns to show grace not only to Joey, but also to himself. When time for the concert comes, Tommy finally chooses to forgive Joey, and they are able to play their new song together for the audience.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Motion picture authorship; Motion pictures--Production and direction; Musicians with disabilities--Drama; Friendship--Drama; Forgiveness--Drama

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Film and Animation (MFA)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Film and Animation (CIAS)


Franklin Deese

Advisor/Committee Member

Jack Beck

Advisor/Committee Member

Cat Ashworth


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at PN1996 .S873 2017


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes