Someone once said that the scenes are bricks and the film a wall, because they are the ones that gradually make up the argument and those that determine the total set. John August is a screenwriter and film director, best known for his frequent screenwriting collaborations with the well-known Tim Burton, in films such as Dark Shadows, Corpse Bride, Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Frankel weenie. In his blog, August offers a series of guidance lessons on how to tell a story. These lessons are summarized in 11 steps, 11 steps on how to write a scene.
1. WHAT MUST HAPPEN IN THE SCENE?
This is not decided by the characters, the writer decides. Your. What do you need to happen? What do you want to happen? Make a very basic mental sketch, and that can be summed up in a few words, about what must happen in the scene that you are going to develop. At least you need a rough idea of what you’re going to tell. Do not answer the other questions until you are clear on this point.
2. WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF THE SCENE WAS OCCUPIED?
If you have considered including a specific scene in your story you have to have a compelling reason. Do not include something simply because it seems fun to you, or because you like how it functions as an independent scene. Remember that you are working with bricks, and you are trying to build a wall. If you put a white brick in that red brick wall because yes, because you like the white color, the end result will be uncomfortable for the view. The viewer will easily notice that this scene is too much, because there is no cohesion with the rest of the story.
3. WHO SHOULD BE IN THE SCENE?
Take a look back at your characters and do a review. Sometimes we have a scene very clear, so much so that we ignore what it would be to put an unexpected character in it. Do a mental exercise and imagine what would happen if characters you did not have appeared and gave an interesting twist to the plot. To move on to the next question first you must be very clear which characters are key in the scene that you are going to narrate.
4. WHERE SHOULD THE SCENE BE PLACED?
Never cling to a single scenario, shuffle and meditate on all possible options. Do not circle a scene to a place before having everything else developed. From the theater we have learned that the most important of a scene are the characters and their dialogues. The setting is secondary. Decide what would be the ideal place for that scene once you have specified the events that are going to happen, never do it the other way around.
5. WHAT IS THE MOST AMAZING THAT COULD OCCUR IN THE SCENE?
One of the writer’s most powerful tools is his imagination, if not the most powerful one. Use it to imagine endless possibilities and events that would make the scene something wonderful. Something surprising does not necessarily have to be the appearance of a character, or a specific action. Sometimes a sentence of the least expected character is enough to put it all upside down.
6. IS IT A LONG SCENE OR A SHORT SCENE?
Be aware of how long it will take this scene from the beginning. Do not start to pile up events without telling, you’ll lengthen a scene that was already perfect for a long time ago. Synthesize everything you can: although this method is valid for writing a novel, it is mainly focused on the cinema. And when it comes to putting together a movie every second is crucial. You must dispense with all the obvious and unnecessary information.
7. MAKE A STORM OF IDEAS TO OBTAIN AT LEAST THREE POSSIBLE DESCENDANTS OF SUCH SCENE.
Every creative process requires a mountain of ideas. A brainstorming, or brainstorm, is to squeeze all the ideas that go through your head and write them down. However absurd it may be, this idea can be transformed into something great. Or maybe two nonsense bad ideas can come together and result in something magnificent. Choose three possible outcomes for the scene from a brainstorming and select the one that you consider most appropriate for the final set.
8. PLAY THE SCENE IN YOUR HEAD.
Imagine going to the movies to see the scene you want to write. Display a screen where the sequence happens as you would like. When you have seen clearly what you want to see, go to the next step and play it on paper.
9. MAKE A DRAWER.
Write a draft of the script. Do not go into detail, simply capture the essence of the scene. Although in your mind is something solid, you need to see it embodied in a leaf. Many mistakes only manifest when we begin to write.
10. WRITE THE FULL SCENE.
At this point you know what has to happen, where it has to happen and who has to happen. You know the duration of the scene. You have already shuffled all the options and you have opted for the best ones.