The Purpose of a Scene

Think of every scene like a domino. One scene ends and directly affects the next scene, which concludes and leads into the next scene, and so on. Every scene needs to act like a mini-movie with an intriguing beginning, a problem, a solution to that problem, and a conclusion that moves the story forward.

In the 1976 movie “Network,” a news anchor has been fired for low ratings. That’s his problem and the beginning of the scene. His solution is to show up at his last night on the network drunk. Then he screams at the audience to get mad as hell, which suddenly grabs the attention of the country and the network, which realizes they have a sudden ratings bonanza on their hands.

Every scene changes something in the story. At the beginning of the scene, the news anchor is going to lose his job. Yet by the end of this scene, he’s suddenly proven to be popular so the network wants to keep him on the air. That’s the purpose of every scene to show the change of your hero’s situation. By watching this short clip from “Network,” you can see how the scene progresses and concludes with the hero in a completely opposite position than what he began.

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