Professional screenwriter shows you how to write a scene quickly

hey I’m Michael Bassili I’ve produced directed written for digital media and feature films and I’m going to show you a really cool trick on how to craft amazing scenes very quickly so I’m super excited to introduce to you a free software tool that I created which I call the scene structure generator it’s totally free link in the description and I created it to speed up development and I’m going to show you how you can leverage this tool keep it in your back pocket whenever you want to use it now you can use this every time you’re trying to streamline your scene get it on track and really get that focus in your narrative I personally use it all the time I have a lot of professional colleagues that use it all the time and I’m gonna go ahead and show you how to use it right now so I’m gonna go ahead and use it structure a scene right here on this spot totally spontaneous with you then I’m gonna actually write that scene in front of you off the cuff so let’s jam

so when you access the scene structure generator you’re going to see this interface and it starts with a few very fundamental questions and it and the first one is what’s the name of the character that drives the scene and in this circumstance, I’m going to call her Jane now how do you know who is driving your scene well fundamentally that is the character who is active towards something has an objective and is driving the narrative forward in that scene so if you do not know who that character is in your story you have a fundamental problem and it has to do with not having clear enough goals or motives for your characters uh that is something you know I’ll leave something in the description uh for you that you can actually view to get a better understanding of that but for right now.

Let’s continue to roll because the next question really um is very crucial it’s central it’s asking what is the character’s macro goal or motive in the story now the macro goal is the spine of your story it’s what the character’s overall macro goal is what do they want in this story so for this one say jane is trying to uh she wants to find her long lost twin sister this is what the majority of the narrative is going to be after it’s going to be following jane as she’s trying to find her sister so now let’s look at the next question which is now a little bit more micro it’s more scene oriented which is what is the character’s micro goal in the scene in other words what does a character want in the scene so if we have a goal an overarching goal of she wants to find her long-lost sister then you have to understand that the micro goal is anchored and tethered to that macro goal so for example in this scene.

Let’s just say that uh she wants to get the truth out of her father okay somehow she knows that her father knows about this twin sister and now she wants to get some truth because if she can get that information now she can actually go and pursue her twin sister with uh with some uh intel let’s say so this is a step in that right direction you see how there is uh there is no uh the micro goal and the macro goal are not mutually exclusive they were bound together they are tethered and anchored um so hope that makes sense

Let’s continue because now we get to get into the structure of this scene where is the scene located okay so as typical let’s just said it’s interior jane’s house let’s just say the living room day, okay and now we’re asking basically the beats of the scene because just like your overall structure your scenes need to have shaped you have to have characters that want something and escalating towards whatever their objective is so the first question here is action number one what is the first action the character does to try to achieve the micro goal.

Now that micro goal to remind you is she wants to get the truth out of her father so let’s just say she asks her father politely for some answers okay she asks nicely she wants to approach this very in a very civil manner but if you’re a good writer and you like conflict which you should you’re going to hit your character is going to hit an obstacle wall number one what is the obstacle or result achieved through action number one let’s just say father’s a dick and um father ignores uh ignores her okay he just totally ignores her doesn’t want anything to do with the question so like any good story good conflict you get that uh obstacle you’re gonna pivot you’re gonna continue forward you persist every single uh character uh or hero in a situation like this is going to persist because you don’t want to have passive characters you want active characters.

Okay, so action number two what is the second action the character takes to try to accomplish your micro goal so let’s just say she um says she tries to psychologically play a trick on him she tries to guilt-trip her father okay she says things along the lines of you don’t care about me you don’t love me can you give me this please I’ll do anything, uh you know I’ll never ask you anything else ever else or ever again so what is the obstacle wall number two what is the obstacle or result achieved by action number two, of course, she’s not gonna get it you’re a good writer you don’t want her to get what she wants so you’re going to aggravate it say father orders her to her room get out of the room.

I don’t even want to talk to you about it I’m done with a right big obstacle so action number three is the third action the character takes to try to accomplish her micro goal well let’s just say she’s getting overly frustrated and she resorts to. She uh resorts to aggression and belittling her father right and what is the obstacle result of that action is say father drags her to her bedroom and locks her inside right that’s it done now where does the character go now well pretty simply the character I always want to know where the character is going this is very very important if you don’t know where your character is going then there’s something wrong with your scene because you have to have that objective.

Now she’s in jane’s house and her bedroom right and the scene ends with the character either obtaining or failing to obtain the goal well she’s failed to obtain it right so where is the logical next step for the character now well what does she want you know she didn’t get the micro goal she’s still on that macro goal she’s still trying to find her sister so let’s just say she escapes and runs uh she escapes from her bedroom window there we go she’s continuing to go towards that macro goal and so as you can see we just answered these questions and now I’m gonna hit build and what happens boom we have the outline of the scene is right here I’m gonna copy this but as you can see here we know what the goal is she wants to find her long lost twin sister and we know in this scene the micro goal is she wants to get the truth out of her father so now let me go ahead and throw this into the final draft and here we go and I’m gonna actually bold this so I can use this as a reference because I’m gonna write the scene right now I’m gonna use this as the basis for um for writing a scene right here on the spot.

Now let’s take a look I just want to see what the time is because I’m going to bang this thing out as fast as possible and I want to be able to see you know this isn’t going to be the best this is obviously just vomiting out a scene but I want you to see how I’m using beats creating these beats and progression to then have something that’s solid have something that’s actually useful it’s not gonna be a perfect scene right away but what’s gonna happen is it’s gonna be something that may be worth rewriting or at least it’s the basis for something going forward this is gonna help you you know it’s beautiful because you’re not starting with a blank page you’re starting with some structure to it and that’s what I really love about this tool.

I´m gonna jump right into this and and and check it out so here we go so we always like to start later in the scene let’s start right into the action where jane is asking a question so let’s just say that father is unloading his uh dirty clothes from his work bag see I’m for some reason I think he’s a mechanic I don’t know why and jane says have you ever heard of the name Hilda Gardner first name that comes to mind okay and father reacts but he continues to unload his lawn his clothes into the into a laundry basket laundry and father says never heard of it I might never hear of.

It ignores her right maybe there’s a little beat there he says uh can you start the wash please and what does that do maybe uh jane is still trying to play nice we’re still on this first beat right here so she’s playing nice and say jane pulls a photograph we want to capitalize that if it’s the first time we see it a photograph of Hilda from her back pocket and she stands there she’s trying to muster up the guts to maybe present it and father is ignoring he says regarding the laundry you know please you know to take this and jane places the photograph on the coffee table in father’s line.

right father’s line of sight all right

you know he ignores and he says you know hustle i gotta get back to work and in two hours now important to note here I’m always looking for objectives for a character okay I don’t care if it’s a minor character somebody’s always trying to get somewhere he’s trying to get to work he’s trying to get his laundry made or done it may seem small but you can’t have characters in a scene that are doing nothing if you do then you have to fix that they have to be after something

I don’t care if they’re trying to eat a carrot or they’re trying to get asparagus or whatever it may or they’re trying to get their laundry made you have to find something for people to do they always have to be working towards something obviously his goal is not driving the scene it is jane’s goal or objective that is driving the scene but at least he’s doing something he’s up to something and she’s being an obstruction to him so we’re creating some kind of conflict so hustle I gotta get back to work in a couple of hours um jane interjects like do you know her to have you seen her uh and let’s just say father um let’s just say father grabs the basket bruscley or the laundry basket bruscley and heads to the machine um jane follows

You know and now maybe we’re starting to get into the next beat here maybe now she’s going to try to guilt-trip her father like he’s obviously irritated uh he’s ignoring her now she’s starting to press and she says something to uh to the effect of let’s say uh you know can he answer me can you give me anything you know is you know you care more about your dirty laundry than your own daughter right very on the nose but you know I’m trying to get the point across people so um we’re on to this next speed now she’s trying something different he’s ignoring her now she’s trying to really get in his face um father says obviously what was the reaction here father ordered her room father has had enough you know uh go to go to your room

and let’s see maybe he interrupts her around go to your room and jane just continues on just kind of badgering him saying you know I’ll never ask anything ever again you know I just need to to know and father is now say he’s now impatient now there’s we want to transition into him dragging her let’s just say oops let’s say you know father walks to the coffee table grabs the photo throws it out the window

Jane screams in slow motion um you know you prick whatever she gets very mad and uh you know now we’re on the next finally father grabs her by the shirt and drags her to the bedroom my spelling is my fingers are lazy today but actually the bedroom door throws her in locks it and now we hear jane off screen yelling you’re pathetic whatever she’s belittling him as we said and that’s that scene we’ve escalated it we’ve had that structure we escalated she had her objective she failed to reach her objective and now she’s on that next scene and where she escapes from the bedroom window.

so let’s just say she you know she slams her fists against the door turns eyes the bedroom window eyes the bedroom I know and obviously this is all she has to do is an eye the window and we know as the audience exterior window or you know uh building whatever you know what I’m trying to say uh she slinks out the bedroom window okay very rough obviously very rough but here we are uh a page and a half later we have a scene and it has some structure to it I’m not here trying to say this is the greatest scene in the world but what it does have undeniably is it has characters with objectives

and they’re trying to get their objectives so jane is driving the scene she’s trying to get these answers about her mother or which is leading to her macro goal which is to find her twin sister um and her father is just trying to get his laundry done we have people with actual objectives here and that is what is driving this scene you want a goal you’re getting obstructed you’re pivoting you’re continuing you’re getting obstructed you’re pivoting you’re going and the last thing he drags her he throws another room boom you’re done she escapes out the window and you know what she has an objective.

You know what that means I can come up with a million ways in which she’s going to continue next scene she’s going to be at the train station right or she’s going to be at the bus station or she’s going to be hitching a ride from some weird creep or whatever it’s going to be there are a million directions and that is what having an objective does just and this is just a general overall writer’s note an object an objective is going to give you just an abundance of ideas to get your character to where they need to go so take this note I hope you really enjoy this.

So there you have it I hope you really enjoy and utilize this tool it’s a super powerful tool when you get used to it if you’re struggling right now uh to just create specific goals and motives for your characters this is so so so fundamental and important to your success so what I’m going to do is I’m going to leave a link to the free character development course in the description below that it’s going to teach you how to master that concept very quickly.

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