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Comments

Tony Conniff

Great post, Bill!
In a future post maybe you would elaborate on this:
'A scene can’t live, and sustain an audience’s interest, unless the “why,” the real reason for dramatizing a conflict is delivered, clearly and specifically.'
Thanks,
TC

mernitman

Thanks, TC. A brief elaboration here and now would be: Too often, working with pre-pro screenwriters, I find scenes on the page that are satisfying some agenda (e.g. the writer liked this line of dialogue, the writer wanted to add this detail of the back story, the writer had a cool visual idea, etc.) that isn't strong enough, or compelling enough to the READER, to sustain interest; we read subliminally thinking "why are they telling me this now?" If you've set your characters and conflict in motion, we need to feel (intuitively) that the scene is important, and worthy of our attention, if it's going to get us emotionally involved. This means the writer needs to have answered such a "why" question for her/himself, first.

Bradford Richardson

Billy, Great article! A fascinating tribute and a screenwriting Master Class all in one. Thank you.

mernitman

Thank you, Bradford - glad it struck a chord with you. I've been reading Nichols in print for decades now, precisely because he was so articulate about his craft. Well-worth further research at Google University...

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