Details Matter: Foreshadowing the Future

One huge mistake many novices make in writing their screenplay is that they write a scene that has almost nothing to do with any future scenes. The end result is a jumble of scenes that simply show the same characters in different locations.

A far better solution is to plant setups in each scene that foreshadow the future. These setups are visual clues are often added by the film crew, not the screenwriter, but you can see how foreshadowing can dramatically enhance any scene.

In “A Quiet Place,” the opening scene shows a family scavenging for food in an abandoned supermarket. Yet if you look carefully, the one shelf that’s still loaded with food is the potato chip aisle. That’s because eating potato chips is noisy and noise attracts the monsters.

While subtle and easy to overlook, this shows the attention to detail you must heed when writing a screenplay. It might be fine to omit details like this, but if you include them, now you’ve enhanced the scene by causing the reader to question why this is important. Then later on, you reveal why it was so important.

Take away these subtle foreshadowing hints and the scene still flows okay, but the foreshadowing gives a scene an extra moment of importance. As a screenwriter, foreshadowing the future simply shows that you’ve thought your screenplay through, and that will definitely help make your screenplay stand out.

In “Silence of the Lambs, ” Hannibal Lecter indirectly tells Clarice what she wants to know, but he says it by mentioning he drew a picture from the viewpoint of the Belvedere. Belvedere, Ohio is where the serial killer, who Clarice is hunting, killed his first victim.

Dropping subtle hints that foreshadow the future shows that you, as the screenwriter, knows exactly what story you’re telling and you’re letting a reader know how thoroughly you’ve thought through your screenplay. Details matter so make sure you layer in as many hints of your story as possible. It can’t help but make your screenplay feel more unified and well-crafted.

To read more about how different movies have foreshadowed future scenes and events, click here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.