PART 1: Premise & Concept
PART 2: Structure
PART 3: Character
PART 4: The First 20 Pages
PART 5: Dialogue & Scene
PART 6: Rewriting & Polishing
– “Once your scene states what it’s about you should be out. It helps punctuate the next scene as well.”
– “The way to affect an audience who’s seen everything is give them dialogue they don’t expect. They feel like like it’s real all of a sudden because they didn’t see it coming.”
– “Try to make your scenes simpler so you don’t get trapped by exposition. Simple story; provocative emotion.”
– “To draw in the audience create a compelling character and give him a big question to be answered. Movies are answering a series of questions.”
– “The more your characters disagree and have opposite POVs the more the scenes write themselves.”
– “There’s a fine line with mystery where just enough keeps the audience on board vs too much which alienates and tires them.”
– “Don’t talk in speeches.”
– “Test yourself. If you have a 3 page scene, try to communicate the same information in 1 page. You’d be surprised how much it will work.”
– “If you write the 1st act correctly the rest will write itself.”
– “In life, people usually hide their feelings. They don’t usually say how they feel unless they’re mad.”
– “When deciding how to write a scene, think ‘What is Character A afraid Character B will find out about him?’ and ‘What does Character A want Character B to think about him?'”
– “I establish one main character (ideally) and make the audience connect with him right away so they’re on board with the story.”
– “Characters need two things.
– “Don’t tell us everything about your main character right away.”
– “To get the audience to like your hero give them a scene where a group of people leaves the room and your hero is left alone. Imagine a close up where he sighs. For some reason, the audience empathizes with this feeling of how difficult it is to operate in society.”
– “Subtext comes from what the character wants and what they’re afraid to say.”
– “You must know the ‘moment before’ whatever scene you’re writing.”
– “Movies are about having one large question to be answered… and riddled with a series of smaller questions along the way… and conflict.”
– “The best way to handle exposition is visually.”
– “Not every scene has a 3-act structure.”
– “Come in to a scene as late as possible so the previous part is inferred. A good tactic is to have characters arguing about something we don’t know about until it’s slowly revealed within the scene.”
– “To surprise the audience you have to lull them into something they expect- and then alter it.”
– “The best thing you can do with dialogue is eliminate it.”
– “Too much subtext and characters not saying what they want and the audience won’t understand what’s happening.”
– Do you tend to overwrite your scenes?
– How does dialogue function with two vastly different movies like Drive (by Hossein Amini) and Moneyball (by Aaron Sorkin)?
– Do you think about writing scenes with a 3-act structure?
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