Action sequences can be a screenwriter’s best friend or worst enemy. If you can write them well, you’ll be more of a coveted commodity in the eyes of the powers that be. Such a gift will make your spec scripts shine brighter than the rest, being entertaining and engaging reads, and will increase your chances of being considered for key writing assignments.
If you can’t, well, it’s time to start honing that skill set.
“But what about character and story? Isn’t that the most important skill set to have?”
1. Action is Augmented Storytelling and Characterization
It’s a device in screenplays in multiple genres that allows for kinetic, thrilling and entertaining ways to move the story forward and reveal character depth. At least when written well. We certainly can’t say that the action in a movie like Commando is a tool to develop the story and character depth.
That type of action has its entertainment value, but it’s not as engaging as the action found in films like Die Hard which showcase a life-threatening element of danger, where the lead character gets hurt and shows pain and emotion.
We learn more about characters through their overall actions and reactions. Thus, action sequences are central to taking a character forward. In conjunction with that, the whole reason an action sequence should exist in a film is to be a bridge to move the story forward to the next point.
So action sequences are augmented ways to tell a story and to add to a character’s depth.
The torture sequence in the original Lethal Weapon is a brilliant example of action that moves the story forward and reveals character as well…
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