Master screenwriter Bill Wheeler explains how to structure a good scene around plot and character
- As Mike Nichols says, every scene is a fight, a seduction or a negotiation.
- A scene is a contest of sorts: the audience needs to be invested in what happens next
- A scene is a moment where something changes.
- Get in late and get out early – only give the audience the information they absolutely need.
- Exposition is only compelling if it contains new details about a character.
- Start writing indispensable moments to help determine which scenes must be in your film.
- Write from a place that moves you, and then make it entertaining and accessible to an audience.
Ask these questions of a scene:
- Does it advance the plot?
- Does it advance the journey of a character?
- Does it advance a shift or change in a key relationship?
- Does it advance certain thematic ideas about the shape of the world?
Bill Wheeler has written screenplays for six produced motion pictures. His filmography includes the 2016 Disney release QUEEN OF KATWE starring David Oyelowo and Lupita N’yongo; THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST directed by Mira Nair and starring Rizwan Ahmed; THE HOAX directed by Lasse Hallstrom, and THE PRIME GIG featuring Ed Harris. QUEEN OF KATWE was runner-up for the People’s Choice award at the 2016 Toronto Film Festival and won four NAACP Image Awards. more...