Leapfrog the Boring Stuff!

Until you’ve done it a lot, you have no idea how much you can tighten your script.

And tighten.

And tighten.

And tighten.

And tighten.

And tighten.

And tighten.

One way to think about it, is to ask yourself, “If I cut this step, will it make the story go faster… and not sacrifice clarity?”

For instance. I have a scene where a guy is in trouble. Everything is falling down around him. His wife says, “Call your brother.”
He calls the brother.
They decide they had better talk to the other brother who is in prison.
They get in the car and drive up to the prison.
All three brothers figure out what the next step will be.

So, on the umpteenth draft, I realized I can cut the phone call and the conversation. The RESULT of the call and the conversation is the visit to prison and the decision that is made there. So, lose the part I don’t need and speed up the story. We will understand that the call got made and that the decision was made to visit the convict brother… because we’ll SEE IT.
Don’t show and tell when you can show.

Now it becomes:
A guy is in trouble. Everything is falling down around him. His wife says, “Call your brother.”
They get in the car and drive up to the prison.
All three brothers figure out what the next step will be.

Even in the one line outline, you can feel the little SNAP when she says “Call your brother.” and we CUT TO them getting in the car and going up to the prison. Even on that little limited arena, you sense that it’s better.

It actually feels like a cut you’d see in a movie. It feels more like a movie. It’s better storytelling. Faster… faster…

Tighten.
Tighten.
Tighten.

Advertisements

6 Comments

Filed under Good Writing, Rewriting, Screenwriting

6 responses to “Leapfrog the Boring Stuff!

  1. Melody Lopez

    Could the wife ask a question that is then answered by them showing up at the prison? Perhaps that might work also? Not sure. Don’t know the whole story but its just a thought.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Excellent idea. It would be the right thing to do, except the drive up to the prison has happend two times before. Each drive up has a different mood. This time they are silent and no one speaks. Since you learn something on the drive, I kept it. But, you’re totally correct in that normally, it would be a good thing to cut.

      • Melody Lopez

        see I figured there was a reason they drove to the prison…and since you said it is the third time they drive to prison I’m guessing that must make it some sort of rhyming scene…I see it… ooooh I hope it works out and is a winner!!!

  2. Carole

    She says, “Call your brother”. Yet, they drive to prison.
    Perhaps, she should suggest, “Talk to brother” since no telephone involved.

  3. Carole

    But I see what you mean.

  4. Pingback: 25 Posts From 25 Great Screenwriting Blogs #2 | The Screenwriting Spark

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s