MONDAY'S SCRIPT TIP:
SCENES: WEIRD LOCATIONS
Have you ever seen a scene you've seen before? A cliche scene? Scene 53-B, that pops up in every movie in that genre? You know exactly where the scene is going, because that's where it's gone in every other movie it was ever in?
Our goal is to create NEW scenes - to work through any scene we've seen before to find something fresh and original. You wouldn't use dialogue that's already been used in another movie, so don't use a scene you've seen before. All of the brilliant dialogue and suspense in the world can't breathe life into a cliche scene!
You can change an element of the "standard version" of the scene and end up with something new and exciting. The easiest element to change is location. By dropping the scene into an interesting location, you change the dynamics of the scene... changing almost everything about the scene in the process.
In Steve Gaghan's TRAFFIC we have that scene where the DEA is going to make a deal with an informant. This scene usually takes place in the back of a police car or in some grungy bar... we see it once a month on NYPD BLUE. But we've never seen the version in TRAFFIC. The main concern informants have in scenes like this is that they will be overheard by someone in the bar with mob connections and get rubbed out in scene 53... or that the DEA Agents are wearing a wire (recording device) and are really collecting evidence against the informant. Gaghan uses that to find a strange new location to play this scene: A public swimming pool. Not exactly a place mob guys hang out, and it's hard for the DEA Agents to hide a wire in swim trunks (which are underwater, creating short circuit problems if they did). The worn out scene became something new and exciting: three guys in the center of a bright outdoor public pool trading secrets to make a deal. The location contrasts with the content of the scene, adding another level. Several critics have mentioned this scene in their reviews because it was so unusual and inventive.
Changing the location of a scene is a great way to create a fresh, new scene and turn it into something surprising and completely unexpected.
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