One common mistake with most novice’s screenplays is that they write scenes that are vitally important to the characters involved but deadly dull to anyone watching the scene. To the writer, the scene may be jam packed with emotional intrigue but to an objective, neutral outsider watching this scene, the events are simply boring, dull, or illogical.
The screenwriter thinks this scene is great because he or she knows the characters and how the scene is affecting them emotionally. However, the audience does not have the same knowledge as the screenwriter. As a result, the scene appears flat and meaningless.
Try this exercise. Go to a public place like a shopping mall or a restaurant and watch other people. A couple may be on their first date and for them, just sitting, talking and eating could be a highly emotionally charged experience, but to an outsider, all they can see is two people eating and chatting.
The trick to writing a scene is to make it important for both the characters and visually interesting to the audience as well. Assume that an audience knows nothing about your characters. Then write each scene in a way that makes that scene visually compelling to watch even if a person just saw that one scene and did not see any previous scenes. Will your scene still be interesting?
Pick apart the screenplay of a great movie and analyze each scene. Is each scene understandable and important only to the characters and the screenwriter? Or is there something that draws in an outsider’s curiosity as well?
By making sure a scene is appealing to a total stranger, you can create more interesting scenes that grab and hold an audience’s attention. String together enough interesting and compelling scenes and eventually you’ll write an interesting and compelling screenplay.