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#scriptchat @Londonswf 50 Kisses Comp #2: Plot Construction

Following on from Concept, here are some thoughts on Plot Construction of the VERY short film (1-2 pages maximum), which is what you’ll be writing if you enter this great FREE opportunity.

As screenwriters, we’ve ALL heard this very important maxim:

Start late and finish early.

Important in all screenwriting, it’s ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL in the very short film, however you approach it. Lots of Bang2writers confess to be unsure what the above *really* means however – which leads to their prose being “flabby”. Flabby prose then detracts from the flow of the story. This example was given to me at university by a lecturer that has stayed with me:

A YOUNG GIRL sits at the table, eyes her parents with trepidation. Swallows, uncomfortable. Her parents wait for her to speak.

I’m pregnant.

The parents go wild, practically frothing at the mouth.

Get out of this house!

The girl runs sobbing for the door.

The above’s not bad writing, but it’s not what it *could* be in terms of being economical. Imagine this instead:

You’re pregnant??? Get out of this house!

The girl runs sobbing for the door.

BOOM – that’s starting late and finishing early.

NOTHING should be in your very short script that needn’t be when it comes to plot construction. Not even a single second can be wasted. Well dur, you say – yet in my experience of reading the very short film, too often even as much as HALF or even THREE QUARTERS of a page are thrown away as writers concentrate instead ONLY on the ENDING. Focusing only on the ending in the very short film is a rookie mistake because it means the story does not feel “whole” – again, obvious stuff ‘cos the beginning and middle are undervalued.

So, when constructing the plot of your VERY short film for the “50 Kisses” competition, ask yourself these questions:

What IMAGE do I open with? (Remember walking down the street, blackness, mirrors etc are BORING).

How does my story BEGIN?

What happens in the MIDDLE? How does this create the maximum CONFLICT?

How do the first three elements AFFECT the ending?

WHAT is my ending – a funny punchline? A devastating payoff? A moving denouement?

Again… All this might seem obvious stuff – and it is – but too frequently it gets forgotten.
Here’s the full details for the “50 Kisses” Competition from London Screenwriters’ Festival: CLICK HERE. Join Bang2writers and/or The Feedback Exchange to swap ideas and work for this contest.

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