End of Scene Checklist
 

Whose scene is it?

What does the scene's main character want?

The conflict in this scene is:

The conflict is difficult enough. YES NO

Is there a better setting for the scene? YES NO

What "activity" is going on in the scene, if any? (jogging, shopping, repairing house, etc. Each brings a different tone and tension. Choose carefully.)

Do new characters make an ENTRANCE? YES NO

The characters (including dialogue) are unique. YES NO

What character is not needed?

What are the motivations behind the actions?

Do action and dialogue reveal anything about the "inner" characters? YES NO

Is the scene true to the "world" of my movie? YES NO

What do we hope for?

What do we fear?

The scene's main character's emotional + or – change was (started out cocky, ends up humble, etc):

Did I really get in late and get out early? YES NO

What, if anything, shows contrast? (A fish monger with Catcher in the Rye in his pocket.)

Is this scene PREPERATION for another scene? YES NO

Is this scene the AFTERMATH of another scene? YES NO

Do I PLANT anything in this scene? YES NO

Is there a PAYOFF in this scene from an earlier plant. YES NO

Does this scene employ DRAMATIC IRONY? YES NO

Is there any SURPRISE in this scene? YES NO

 

SWEETENERS

Do the characters visualize their feelings instead of talking about them?

 

What elements create chaos, an out of control situation, or danger?

 

Are tense moments drawn out to maintain doubt and build suspense?

 

Is tension created by uncertainty in making a decision or contradictory feelings?

 

Can you build suspense by letting the audience in on jeopardy the protagonist isn't aware of?

 

Can you create tension by cutting back and forth between a dangerous scene and one that isn't dangerous?

 

Can you create reversals by taking something that is cliché or expected and do the exact opposite?



THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
Subtext is created by each character's feelings impacting the way they handle other people and things in a scene without directly stating or expressing their emotions.


Push every character, emotion, or situation to the extreme. Raise the stakes, look for the worst thing that can happen, put the hero in a spot they can't get out of, have characters react in an extreme fashion, amp up emotion or add a twist.


If a scene is just plain bad, but is necessary for the plot keep it short and add an emotional element.

And the most important tool in creating powerful page popping scenes: write Visually, Aurally, Verbally – in that order. In another words, show the audience what they need to know, if that doesn't work let them hear what they need to know, and if that doesn't work have a character tell them what they need to know.