Okay, a big reminder that your Scriptshadow Tournament scripts are due in 15 days. And that got me thinking. Is there anything you can do to massively improve a script in 15 days?
At first I thought, no. But then I was reading a consult script the other day and the writer, while having a good concept, was not a good scene-writer. Had he known how to add drama to scenes, his script would’ve been 100 times better. And since scenes don’t take long to write, this is the answer to our question. Go through all your scenes and ask if there’s a version of the scene you can write that’s more entertaining.
How do you write a “more entertaining” scene? Make sure the basics are in place. A good scene is like a mini-story. So add GSU (goal, stakes, urgency). Once you have the basics, add CONFLICT or SUSPENSE or MYSTERY or A REVERSAL. Essentially, come up with a SITUATION. The last thing you want is characters sitting around pushing the plot along or conveying character backstory. “Hey, didn’t you used to live down on Drury Lane?” “I did, but then I moved to Rosewood.” “Ah yes, I remember. You were a great basketball player back then.” “I gave that up.” “Oh?” “Broke my foot in college.” MY GOD, KILL ME NOW!!!!
You want to create SCENES. Scenes are LITTLE STORIES. They are not package containers so you can bore us to death with two characters droning on about their lives. So let’s take the above scene. And honestly, if you thought writing that scene was a good idea, you’re probably screwed anyway. But for a challenge, let’s say you wanted to make that scene more entertaining.
A simple option is to add conflict. Make it so these two characters don’t like each other. They’re at the same party, in a room with friends, the friends leave, and these two are awkwardly left alone. They have a similar conversation, but it’s now LACED WITH TENSION.
“You still live down on Drury Lane?” “Moved to Rosewood.” (long awkward pause) “Ballin?” “Nah man. Better things to do.” “Heard it was cuz you didn’t make the team.” (dagger stares are traded) “What about you? You still livin with your mom?” Not a lot better, but a little more entertaining, right? All we had to do was add conflict.
Improving scenes is fast and easy. Just go through each one and ask, “Is there a way for me to make this scene more entertaining?”
Feel free to share your scenes for feedback in the comments. Upvote your favorite scene. Whoever gets the most votes will very likely make the tournament. Enjoy!
Note: There will be NO REVIEW next Friday as I will be out of town. So use that time to work on your screenplay!