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Lecture 11: What are the Parts that Make Up the Whole?. Professor Christopher Bradley. Wedding Crashers (2005) Written by Steve Faber & Bob Fisher. Previous Lesson. Writing the End Revelation Climax and Resolution
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Professor Christopher Bradley
Wedding Crashers (2005)
Written by Steve Faber & Bob Fisher
Writing the End
Climax and Resolution
Writing Exercise # 9
Raging Bull (1980)
Screenplay by Paul Schrader and Mardik Martin.
Constructing the Scene
The Principles of Construction
Life as a House (2001) Written by Mark Andrus
Lesson 11: Part I
The Devil Wears Prada (2006) Written by Aline Brosh McKenna Based on the novel by Lauren Weisberger
A scene is a unit of action – a single event or exchange between characters, with unity of time and place.
It propels the plot forward, toward the climax and resolution (and has a climax and resolution of its own).
Think of plot as the blueprint, scenes as the basic building blocks, and theme as the mortar that holds everything together. The whole should match the original blueprint as well as possible, but stay loose!
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Written by Quentin Tarantino
Think of the action of a scene as movement. Thescenes move the action and the conflict of the story from the beginning to the end.
Scenes are stronger when they utilize a combination of the first two goals, both advancing the story and advancing the understanding of characters.
Remember, all exposition should come through conflict, and conflict/exposition that forwards story and character development will make your story stronger still!
If scenes fail to achieve one or more of these goals, the plot will crumble. Keep it strong!
Lesson 11: Part II
Touch of Evil (1958)
Written by Whit Masterson (novel) and Orson Welles (screenplay)
Citizen Kane (1941)
Written by Herman J. Mankiewicz and Orson Welles
When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Written by Nora Ephron
Harold and Maude (1971)
Written by Colin Higgins
Just as the entire screenplay builds to a climax individual scenes also build to climaxes.
If the significant point is given at the beginning of the scene, all that follows will be anti-climactic and instead of growth, amplification or development in the drama, there will be a letdown for the audience. Once the main point is made, the scene is over.
Every good scene has a point where the substance or action begins. This is sometimes referred to as the button.
A few lines of dialogue or a few seconds of visuals may set the scene, but once hit, the action (struggle or conflict) starts.
A button functions like the inciting incident in a plot; it gets things moving, sending the line of action toward the main point.
A good rule of thumb: Start late, end early. Leave out chit-chat. The characters should already be into the meat of the scene when they first start talking.
You can facilitate the flow of your screenplay by having the beginning of a scene built into the scene preceding it and the end of the scene built into the following scene.
Written by Jim Mars and Jim Garrison (books) and Oliver Stone & Zachary Skylar (screenplay)
Lesson 11: Part III
Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Written by George Lucas
The Caine Mutiny (1954) Written by Herman Wouk (novel) and Stanley Roberts (screenplay)
The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
Written by Tony Gliroy and Scott Z. Burns
and George Nolfi.
Based on a screen story by Tony Gilroy
Based on the novel by Robert Ludlum
Lesson 11: Part IV
Watch the short film from the lesson, Love and Respect, and analyze one scene from the movie. How does the scene build and what is the main point of the scene?
Discuss one of your favorite scenes from a feature film in terms of some of the concepts for creating scenes we’ve discussed in this lesson. Now that you understand more about how scenes work, use this understanding to explain why this scene works so well.
You should now be in the rewriting stage of your screenplay. Choose one scene and rewrite it in terms of the concepts we’ve discussed in this lesson. You might inject humor, give your character bits of business, make the subtext more evident and so on.
Next Lecture: The Search
for the Perfect Line
Written by Julius J. Epstein and Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch
Based on the stage play Everyone Come to Ricks by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison