“We found out this really simple rule that maybe you guys heard before, but it took us a long time to learn it. We can take these beats, which are basically the beats of your outline, and if the words ‘and then’ belong between those beats, you’re fu*ked—basically. You’ve got something pretty boring. What should happen between every beat that you’ve written down, is either the word ‘therefore’ or ‘but’. So you come up with an idea and write ‘and this happens…and then this happens…’ no, no, no. It should be ‘this happens and therefore, this happens’. ‘But, this happens, therefore, this happens….'”
Trey Parker (South Park)
mtvU, Stand In at NYU
This deals with causality, change, and conflict. (See the posts What’s Changed and Conflict-Conflict-Conflict.) It’s not that Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) in The Silence of the Lambs goes for a jog and then has a meeting with Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn), but that Clarice is on a run training to be an FBI agent but her run is disrupted with news from a guy that she has to meet with Crawford. Something caused a change in the scene.
P.S. How much would you pay to see Trey Parker and Matt Stone do a South Park-like satire on screenwriting and filmmaking and all the training material, films schools, workshops, blogs, etc? Until then there’s always the episode where the Sundance Film Festival decides to move to recapture its small town mountain roots and move the festival to South Park.