This is the third step in our 6-part tutorial on “How To Write A Screenplay“
Writing a good scene is one of those processes that at first can seem impossible(tying your shoelaces when you are a kid) but after you’ve done it 100 times it’s second nature. You still remember the steps, they are just don’t think about them
1. What needs to happen in this scene. This is really it and if writers just focused on what NEEDS to happen and not what COULD or SHOULD happen our cinematic experience would be so much better
2. Can it go? You need to ask yourself, what’s the worst thing that would happen to my story if this scene were cut. Be honest. Even though you think it’s a great scene, you need to be brutal here. Your script depends on it.
3. Who is in this scene? Does everyone that is in the room HAVE to be there? If they are in the background not saying or doing anything, then ask yourself why
4. How long is this scene? You know what I’m going to say here. Again, ask yourself that if this scene does need to be included how long does it really need to be. You will be surprised how this question will change the process.
5. Play It In Your Head. The single best exercise you can do during your process is close your eyes and play the scene in your head. I would say that this is what you should be doing 75% of the time. It’s a tough exercise but if you take your time and don’t rush it you will get it.