Create a Unified Story By Making Everything Important

Here’s one common flaw with many stories. Rather than stay focused on telling one story, they wind up telling lots of stories that have no purpose or conclusion. A prime example of this is the opening scene in “The Flash.”

In this opening scene, some terrorists have a biological weapon that could spread if it falls into the water. While Batman chases after these terrorists and corners them on a bridge, the Flash has to save a hospital that’s falling down. So the Flash uses his super speed to rescue falling babies.

All of this action looks interesting but ultimately means nothing. Once Batman catches these terrorists and retrieves the biological weapon (with the help of Wonder Woman at the last second), the terrorists and the biological weapon play no further part of the story. Even the Flash’s rescue of the falling hospital and the babies plays no further part in the story.

This entire opening scene serves to do nothing more than let us see the super heroes in action. Even worse, the movie is supposed to be about the Flash, yet Batman takes up a good bulk of the opening scene.

Compare this to the opening scene in “The Equalizer 3” where an organized crime leader returns home to find multiple bodyguards dead and meets the hero being held captive. When the hero proceeds to kill everyone, he gets wounded, which is the reason why he recuperates in an Italian town where he must later fight the Mafia.

This opening scene also shows the hero contacting a CIA agent about the organized crime’s ties with drugs and money laundering, which brings this CIA agent into the hero’s world where she later helps him.

So in “The Equalizer 3,” the opening scene shows the hero’s skill, gives the reason why the hero is in Italy where the rest of the story takes place, and gives him a reason to contact a CIA agent who will help him later.

In “The Flash,” the opening scene spends more time focusing on Batman than on the Flash, but the action serves no purpose for the rest of the story. Thus the opening scene in “The Flash” is completely pointless. Is it any wonder why “The Flash” is just a mediocre movie?

As a screenwriter, you don’t have time to write scenes that serves no purpose to your story. Yank them out and stay focused on telling a single story. Great movies focus on telling one story. Mediocre movies get distracted in telling multiple stories that have no relation to one another.

So what type of story do you want to tell?

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