I’ve been fiddling with these two scenes now for … well, let’s just say for far longer than I’m prepared to admit. You never know who might be reading this and I don’t want them thinking I haven’t advanced at all in over a w … hile.
In the treatment there was no problem, scene B follows scene A – easy. Unfortunately, as frequently happens, when I actually sat down to write it quickly became apparent there was no way to go from A to B.
None at all.
You can’t just cut, you can’t fade, you can’t end A on a pithy line which reflects how B starts, you can’t pre-lap the audio or link an object from one scene to the other … I’ve tried them all and none of them work. The only way to get from A to B is to invent some other scenes inbetween.
Except, no: what are these other scenes about?
I can fill them full of dialogue, I can have the characters traipsing around ‘West Wing’ style, I can have random things explode or turn into gerbils … but it doesn’t hide the fact these new scenes don’t really have a point. They’re meaningless, boring scenes no matter what happens.
It’s been driving me nuts since last … time I started writing the scenes … how do I get from A to B quickly and efficiently? What goes between A and B to make the transition smoother? I’ve even tried taking bits of important info from other scenes and grafting them in; but it’s no good – none of it works.
And then last night I had a revelation … the reason I can’t find anyway to get from A to B is because … and in retrospect, this is quite obvious … A and B are the same scene!
Different things happen in different ways in different locations, but they happen to the same people and have an identical purpose – they shouldn’t be two scenes, it should just be one scene with all the bits combined. There is no reason to change location and, looking back on it, the only reason I think I put that change in was because it felt like an incredibly long scene which needed breaking up.
The best example of this I can think of is from the book of ‘The Da Vinci Code’ where the characters talk about Jesus in one room until the police arrive, then move to a different room and talk about Jesus until the bad guys arrive, then move to a different room and talk about Jesus until the police arrive, then move to a different room and talk about Jesus until … for hundreds of fucking pages. I’ve no idea how they handled this in the film, but in the book it’s fucking annoying – it’s one scene spread out over various locations in a vague effort to create the illusion of a chase.
And I’ve nearly fallen into the same trap; but I’m happy now, I’ve learnt something: even if it is only how to tell the difference between A and B.