(27 of 40) Writing a Scene, III: Deep Cuts

How do they get out of the Garbage Chute?

This is my final observation concerning our scene from Star Wars. Filmmakers have only a certain number of minutes they can hold onto an audience. Writers, too, need to be aware of how much patience their readers may (or may not) have. What's essential? As someone has said, "Art is life with the boring bits left out."

This is why filmmakers, despite the $$ they've invested in every scene they shoot, leave a lot of footage on the cutting room floor. Just because you put some time and ink into writing it, doesn't mean it belongs in your final, edited story.

Think deeply about what your story is really about. Make deep cuts between the important, most relevant parts. We don't need to know that the character turned the doorknob (with his left hand!), opened the door, stepped out, walked down the hallway (looking over his shoulder to see if we're still following!). If one scene shows him wide awake at midnight and thinking of home, then the next shows him drinking coffee talking on the phone to his mother, we'll make that leap with you. It's morning!

Why Luke's hair is so tidy in the next scene is a different sort of question.