So a screenwriter's job, in a nutshell, is making change. (And, alas, sometimes that's all we make for a while.) Articulating the surface and deep action is just the beginning. Now you have to make those patterns of human change happen in a compelling credible way.
But how? How do you build a pattern of change? Think of it as a pathway your character is moving along. What is that path made of?
In screenwriting, these stepping stones are specific moments of change. Events that make a difference, a.k.a. dramatic events. And once you can write a credible, compelling moment of change, you're well on your way to writing good screenplays. So it's of vital importance that you grasp—really grasp— what a moment of change is.
As you might expect, I looked up the word "moment," and to my joy and amazement I read: A brief, indefinite, interval of time . . . A particular period of importance, significance .. . Outstanding significance or value; importance.
Why did I feel such joy and amazement? Because the word "moment" is screenwriting summed up in one word. It's an interval of time (a scene), but also an interval of time that's important, significant (moment of change), and it comes from the Latin momentum which comes from the Latin movere—to move. And that's what good screenplays do.
We create stories told in scenes, patterns of human change out of moments of change, moments that matter, moments of moment, if you will, and these moments move our screenplays forward.
Moments of moment create momentum.
But what kinds of moments create change in our lives and in the stories we tell? To figure this out for yourself, take a shot at...
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