Ideally, every scene should be interesting, especially the beginning of each scene. Remember, movies are show business so you want to make each scene beginning as captivating as possible. One way to do this is to have your characters behave in unexpected ways.
In “The Bridge On the River Kwai,” a group of British prisoners of war are being led into a Japanese prison camp. You would expect the British soldiers to be dragging their feet and exhausted, but this opening scene actually shows them marching smartly in formation despite their ragged clothes and shoes. What’s more interesting is that they’re all whistling a happy tune.
Of course, this happy tune shouldn’t just be any song. Instead, it’s actually a song that the British made up poking fun at Hitler. The actual song title is “Hitler Has Only Got One Ball.” By using an actual song to show the British soldiers’ defiance towards their Japanese captors, this scene becomes stronger, even if most people watching it have no idea of the real song’s origins. This just shows that using interesting examples from real life can beat fiction any day.
Study this scene to see how it grabs your attention right away as everyone wants to know what’s going on. If your scene beginnings can’t get the audience to ask “What’s going on?” then you’ve failed. Just in case you want to hear the original whistling song from “The Bridge On the River Kwai” you can watch it here.