Monday, August 4, 2014

TODAY'S NUGGET: Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007) - Delaying the Reveal Gets the Reader to Participate

[Quick Summary: Two brothers rob their parents' jewelry store, but it goes very wrong.]

I find that Sidney Lumet scripts pull you in without you knowing it.

They get the reader to participate.

ex. "INT. HOSPITAL - DAY

Gina and Andy hurry down a long corridor to...

INT. HOSPITAL WAITING ROOM - DAY

They turn into it and both stop. A lone man sits hunched over in a chair with his face buried in his hands. Andy runs to him as Gina hangs back.

ANDY: Dad!

The man looks up and we see it's Charles."

Note:

- This scene does not reveal who the man is right away.
- It makes us wait to discover his identity WITH the other characters.
- We're curious about the "lone man", so we keep reading.

(Also, I like how the scene is uncluttered, i.e., not overloaded with adjectives or description.)

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Don't tell the reader everything immediately.

When possible, let the reader discover things with the characters.

P.S. If you're looking for how to segues into a flashback, this script has several excellent examples.

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007)
by Kelley Masterson

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