In this writing assignment I got where I’m doing rewriting of a first draft of a script I had this scene that didn’t make any sense to me.
The leading lady meets three guys that it looks like she knows, considering how they act and talk, and the minute they are out of sight she starts running for the elevator, banging on the button to get the doors to open.
The description text said the three men were her uncles, but that is information that was not passed on to the viewers.
I couldn’t figure out what was in this scene. For me it was taken out of the blue, telling me nothing that belonged in the story.
Then I got the story behind this scene from the writer and it all made sense. A sense that I now have to pass on to the viewers so they also understand the horrible background lingering in the corners at this meeting.
I’m not sure we need to know they are her uncles – I’m not sure how to pass this information without writing it on the nose, so I hope I don’t need to try. But by the trio’s behaviour and the leading lady’s reaction to it I can do much.
Many years ago I started to write a script about my grandfather’s childhood. There are some indications saying my great-granddad had a sexual relationship with one of his daughters, one of my grandfather’s sisters. My mentor gave me some tip on how to show this, without really saying anything.
He is going on a journey and takes goodbye of his big family. He is not a man of hugging and kissing, especially not in public, so he shakes hands with his wife, says a word of goodbye to each child, but lingers a little longer by one of the daughters, stroking her cheek, patting her hair. And she responds by pulling up her shoulders, looking down on the ground, like she wanted to become invisible.
Any healthy relationship between parents and children contact and response is one of comfort and happiness, not one of fright. It is not strange that a father strokes the cheek of his daughter and pats her hair, but in the context by showing him taking special care of that one child, and she responds with fear, it is obvious that there is something not right.
I think I can do something really interesting with the scene with the leading lady and her three uncles.
And the old rule still stands strong: “Show, don’t tell.”