Flashbacks

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  • #16

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    • #17
      Other than some mysteries, I have never seen a flashback anywhere that:
      - could not be eliminated, or
      - moved to the beginning of the story, or
      - done in a different way to BETTER move the story forward.

      Your entire scene could have been:

      INT. MITCH'S APARTMENT - BEDROOM - NIGHT

      Mitch picks up the framed photo of Anders, looks at it a moment, and angrily flings it out the window.

      What's more important than WHY he did that is what happened in the previous scenes to bring Mitch to this point - and - what he does next in the following scene.

      If the swimming pool incident is that important to Mitch, he is going to have to confront Anders (or his father) about it.

      Keep your story in the present - in the now. Don't risk destroying the momentum of your story by stopping to explain something.

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      • #18
        a new topic. it's refreshing when someone sparks a new debate. like young love and lemonade.

        vig

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        • #19
          SW,

          Sometimes being tempted to use too many flashbacks can be a symptom of another problem. It can occur when your backstory is more important than the present-day proceedings of your screenplay.

          You have
          1. childhood incidences causing a bad relationship between two brothers
          2. a love triangle and a murder
          3. and (presumably) some kind of courtroom drama.

          My guess, the action and passion is mostly in 1. and 2. whereas you might have problems injecting the same kind of interest into 3. That's why you're tempted to use so many flashbacks - because these scenes from the past are more interesting and easier to write.

          Try to pitch the story to yourself or friends and see what you're most excited to talk about. Chances are, that's where your story is.

          Put the story in a logline and see if your protagonist is active enough, and if the story idea is interesting enough without all the flashback details.

          My guess is: If you had a kick-ass story about the present-day lawyer, his brother, his father, etc. you wouldn't need so many flashbacks... you wouldn't even have room for them, because what's happening in the present is so much more immediate and interesting! Flashbacks would feel like they're getting in the way.

          On the other hand, maybe your present-day plot is a bit flimsy and weak, and you're using flashbacks as a crutch to prop up a story that can't stand on its own. (Not saying that it is, it's just a possibility on the other end of the spectrum.)

          It's hard to center a screenplay around a bad relationship between two brothers where one got bullied a bit too often twenty years earlier.

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          • #20
            sw

            did not read your entire post, but flashbacks are fine. they are used all the time. i, robot for instance uses them extensively. on this board flashbacks get trashed. unfortunately, most posts on this board are written by wannabes shmucks who don't know @#%$ about writing

            so...


            zilla

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            • #21
              I still don't like flashback #1.

              And kojled...are you a wannabe shmuck or a professional shmuck?

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              • #22
                flashaid

                They are used all the time. But for me, it most often cheapens the moment. Sure, everyone can find examples that work well ,like FREQUENCY or STEALING HOME. But that's because they are part of the 'texture' of the story. It's not as much a flashback as a 'non-linear' part of the fabric.

                If the flashback is a blanket delivery of exposition? Cover it with lime and six feet of dirt then pee on it.

                But, if it helps throw your story forward and it can bridge a gap for you - write it. In 15 rewrites you'll know whether it's going to stick or you found a better solution.

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                • #23
                  ....

                  i, robot for instance uses them extensively

                  Shall we chalk this one up for the pro or con argument?

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                  • #24
                    I, Robot

                    Just FYI, those flashbacks weren't in the script. Not even in the final draft. They were a directorial choice - an effective means to shorten the story and lessen exposition...

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                    • #25
                      Flashbacks

                      I have thought about it. Yeah, flashback #1 is unnecessary and is discarded.

                      SW

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