A film is nothing but an arrangement of different sequences put together which in turn are made up of different scenes. Now an important question arises – “how many scenes should we write in a sequence?”. Well, the answer to this question may vary according to your imagination and story-telling ability but what we can talk about is – “How can we write a better scene”? Through our own personal experience and after doing a lot of R & D (research and development), we have prepared the following tips:
- Whose scene is it?
At times, we create different characters while writing scripts and there is something therapeutic about creating them and giving life to these characters one after the other. But, we tend to forget the basic purpose of these characters in a scene. So we need to find out as to whose scene is it i.e. which character is driving the scene. Then we should find if there is any other character who is basically not offering much in the scene. That character needs to be removed.
- What is the objective of the scene?
There is absolutely no point in writing a meaningless scene. Always try to find out whether the scene is adding something to the narrative or not. It could be an exposition (backstory) or may be foreshadowing the entry of a character later in the film. For eg, in Hitchcock’s Psycho, there is a scene very early into the film where Marion Crane enters her office and is talking to her colleague and during this conversation, Marion’s sister Lila is introduced who plays an important character later in the film. So if this scene wasn’t there, Lila’s entry would have surprised many and given them a bad taste.
- Can the scene have some unexpected twists?
Always challenge yourself as a writer. Can you add something to the scene by giving an unexpected turn? Suddenly your passive scene becomes active. Can we add some hidden information in the scene that can come handy later? Introspect. For eg., in Thelma & Louise, the introduction of gun in a scene foreshadows its use later in the film.
- What if we remove the scene?
It is absolutely not necessary to include every scene while writing your script. Obviously we don’t want our audience to yawn while watching it. So always ask yourself what if I remove this scene? Will it make any difference to the overall story? Trust me, 6 out of 10 times, we would feel that this scene is just useless and it will improve our re-writing skills.
- What should be the length of the scene?
It is not always necessary to write a long scene having all the details about the characters. We can get rid of unwanted details by removing them and making it a short scene. Try to write visually more than the dialogues. This way, you will omit unnecessary dialogues and scenes would appear more engaging.
So next time try applying these tips to your scene and hopefully get a better output. Make sure that the objective of your sequence is clear so that you have a basic idea of what you should end up with and the leading scenes that build up the ending of that sequence. There is no point beating around the bush with actually no objective in mind. Always remember, audience has given their valuable time and money to be there to watch your film so they should not end up getting disappointed.