There are no rules for writing. There are only tools and techniques. The key is to find what works for you.
These are tools and techniques that help me. My hope is they’ll help you too.
SCRIPT HACKS FOR SCENE CONSTRUCTION
Questions to ask when creating a scene:
WHAT ARE YOUR CHARACTERS’ AGENDAS?
What are your characters’ individual agendas in this scene?
How can you make achieving these goals visual?
How can you make the audience understand what these goals are so they can root FOR or AGAINST your characters achieving them?
Figure out your characters’ individual agendas in a scene and the rest falls into place.
These agendas can be as simple as: “Avoid eye contact from any human.”
Or they can be as plot driven and complex as: “Retrieve a specific object of importance”.
Doesn’t matter what the goal is, as long as every character in that scene has a purpose.
Understanding your character’s agenda clarifies WHY a scene needs to exist. A clear understanding of why a scene exists informs all creative decisions such as:
What are the best contrasted elements you could add to maximize conflict in the scene?
What is the best situation to play out the scene given these chosen creative elements?
Where is best location/set piece to have the scene occur given the agenda and situation?
WHAT OBSTACLES CAN YOU FORCE THEM TO OVERCOME?
A character’s victory in a scene is only as strong as the obstacles you force them to overcome.
What obstacles can you throw at your characters to make it as hard as humanly possible for them to achieve their agendas/goals?
These obstacles can come in infinite forms both internally (self-sabotage/friendly) and externally (outside forces/strangers/foes). It can be anyone or anything that gets in the way of the character’s agenda.
What are the most creative actions your characters could take to overcome these obstacles and achieve their goals given these chosen elements?
-Contrasts for Maximum Conflict?
-Internal and External Obstacles?
-Creative Actions to Overcome these Obstacles?
Scene construction can be an arduous task. If you take the time to answer these questions when crafting your scene, the possibilities for making that scene entertaining are endless.