Ever seen a movie and thought: This is SOOOOOOOOOOO mundane? You can tell where every scene heads and you can predict the outcome? Can we say BORING?!?!? I hate movies like that! UGH!
The screenwriter probably is very good at what he does. The problem is REVERSAL.
A reversal is that part of the scene where you go, “Oh my GOD! I never saw that coming!”
A great reversal is in THE DEPARTED. Leonardo Di Caprio’s character has worked and worked on nailing the bad guy, Matt Damon. He finally has him in his control and they’re on an elevator. When the elevator door opens, BAM! Leo’s shot in the head! I don’t know about you, but I NEVER could have predicted that! And I love the movie for that. It completely changed the tone of the movie! And, if that wasn’t enough…here comes another reversal…Matt Damon’s friend is the one that saved him. Matt thanks him and BAM! He shoots his friend! If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s highly recommended. By little ol’ me.
Reversals add a depth to your script. It shows you aren’t contained in a pretty little box and you actually think outside it. You have innovative, new, and unique ideas.
Have you ever seen Shutter Island? Another FANTASTIC example of reversal…all the way to the very last scene. Amazing! And one of my favorite movies of all time, now.
Look at it this way: the more twists on a rollercoaster, the better the ride, right? Same thing here. Your audience, your reader, has committed to spend time on your “ride”. Give them the twists, turns, and drops that make a ride so great! Make it worth their while! Because…
…if the reader loves the ride, your chances are much better for your script to find its way into the hands who can hook up with your vision, see the movie posters, the taglines, the merchandise, and hot dog! You’re off and running!
Reversals. Your script needs them. It’s what separates a good script from a great one.