Order of Exposition

So now you have an outline. Where do you go from here? Discuss getting past FADE IN:.

Order of Exposition

Postby mgarrido2440 » Feb 23, 2010 10:22 am


Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

Assume the screenplay is 120 pages long and the story told in chronological order. Act I ends on page 23. Act II ends on page 90. I have moved pages 83-90 to the beginning of the screenplay because I believe is a good hook. Then I go on to tell the story in chronological order. Now, I am on page 82. What do I do here? Do I repeat pages 83-90, which will be somehow boring? Do I edit pages 83-90 to show prominent aspects of those pages to remind the audience, which is what I am inclined to do? How do I remind the audience that pages 83-90 took place in the beginning? THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP.

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Re: Order of Exposition

Postby Chris Huntley » Feb 23, 2010 12:41 pm

You only want to repeat the material if you plan on showing new information. Otherwise, BRIEFLY cover the material, or show what led up to the material, break away to another thread in the story, then come back after the material. There are lots of ways to handle this. It is done particularly well in Michael Clayton. Notice how material shown at the beginning of the film is later:

1. Shown from a different perspective

2. Limited to as much material that was NOT originally shown

3. Shown in a different context so that the audience's understanding of the material is enhanced

NOTE: Putting that much information at the beginning of the story may often shorten the first act's material. If it doesn't, the first act will tend to be longer than "normal," while the second act may be slightly shorter.
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Re: Order of Exposition

Postby Fr4gm3nt » Oct 25, 2010 2:59 am

I agree unless you have something different to show you shouldn't show it again. I would work hard on the start, so the audience has an understanding that whats happening at he beginnig is actually further on. This could be done with text or dialogue from a narrator or character in the scene.

If you where going to repeat the scene at the end you could use flashes of visual information relevent to the changes in the ending and keep the audience thinking after the film has finished, you want people to sit and think or discuss what they saw with others.

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Re: Order of Exposition

Postby AlabasterCole » Oct 29, 2010 12:00 am

Well, I'm a noob so I offer this suggestion with a grain of salt, but . . .

7 pages of intro is like 10 1/2 mintues, approximately, right?

And if what I've learned is correct, you've got 17:30 precious minutes to establish the situation. (For me, that means the audience's Act One ends a little sooner than Dramatica's technical Act One, sometimes. In a movie where a chunk of Act 2 is put at the beginning, this seems inescapable.)

Using the crisis for the hook IS a great technique, though, and the advice to never present the same information twice is very correct, in my humble opinion.

What I'm getting at here is that a 10 1/2 minute chunk of Act Two at the beginning is a very BIG hook. Maybe your urge to re-explain things is because you presented so much right at the beginning?

I think about movies that use a 'cut right to the action' approach to really grab us: In 'The Matrix' we don't get 10 1/2 minutes of Trinity running from the Agents, do we? In 'Star Wars' I don't think it's 10 1/2 minutes of Princess Leia getting captured by Vader, either . . . I realize these aren't really Act 2 at the beginning type of scenes, but it feels the same.

My instinct leads me to suggest looking at putting some of that chunk of Act Two back in Act Two and just keeping the really, really great stuff 'on your hook.'

In other words - Have you considered using just 4 pages for that Act 2 hook? A very blindly and humbly offered suggestion.

I like to keep myself thinking, is all.

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Re: Order of Exposition

Postby AlabasterCole » Oct 29, 2010 12:09 am

And, actually, Fr4gm3nt, I misspoke.

I said 'keeping the really, really good stuff for your hook,' but then I thought of something I just typed, like, yesterday -

In 'Highlander' they show us the stuff JUST BEFORE the end of Act Two, right at the beginning of the movie. It's not quite the crisis, just yet. It's the Highlander fighting ONE OF the last remaining immortals behind Madison Square garden. This isn't yet the big crisis, though it's drawing very near. It was very effective, because it showed us this really far out place the story was headed, instead of plunking us into a medieval Scottish village and making us trudge all the way to the future blindly as the Main Character did. But the writer still kept the really juicy stuff for the climax.

I'll shut up now! :)

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Re: Order of Exposition

Postby forty » Jan 10, 2011 12:37 am

Two Options:

Watch "Trainspotting." You have a loop there that begins and ends at about the same stages. You'll see what I mean when you watch it. Use the same technique.

A story is rolled out in specific way - specific functions are meant to occur at various stages (see http://www.clickok.co.uk/index4.html and videos at www.youtube.com/user/clickokdotcodotuk ). All you've done is moved a sequence to another point where the function is better fulfilled. You just need to create a new sequence where there is a gap.

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