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Catching up with tips, day 5: Scenes

With this last day of Screenwriting Tips we introduce a topic which I expect to discuss in depth soon: the construction of SCENES.

874: Instead of just throwing characters into arguments, try thinking about their goals for the scene. Who’s trying to achieve their goal, who’s blocking someone else’s goal, and whose goal changes halfway through?

865: When writing action lines, stop trying to make the reader see exactly what’s in your head. Instead give them clear, sparse description and let their head do all the work.

833: Scenes feeling flabby and slow? Create a subconscious ticking clock counting down to the end of the scene. By setting scenes at a bus stop or in a waiting room, elevator, moving car, etc., you suggest a natural end-point before the dialogue even begins.

824: Don’t let your scenes sputter out like candles in a poorly ventilated room. If a scene feels too long, or ends too softly, here’s what you do: work backwards from the end, find the most dramatic line/funniest joke, and end it there.

804: The primary objective of every scene — before being funny or clever, before advancing the plot or developing the protagonist’s arc — is to make the audience want to know what happens next.

773: The first joke you think of (“Teens text a lot”, “Men always want sex”, etc.) is always going to be a cliche. That’s why you thought of it first. Same goes for action scenes — we’ve all seen the same car chases and firefights. Think past the obvious answer.

With this we complete our week devoted to the advice from Screenwriting Tips. Did you like it?

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