Without doing research on montages (I’ve only
used them when I’m directing and writing, or
working with a director as the screenwriter
when we’re writing the shooting script, which
is different than a spec script), I have to say
to limit the use of montages. I haven’t used
them for so long I find it hard to remember
how long they should be.
You want to be careful with montages. For a
new writers, some actors, directors and
producers look at new screenwriters using
montages as amateurish. Some would also
look at it as directing, which could cause
some negative feelings.
Montages are usually used in shooting scripts.
That means that the director working with
the screenwriter makes the decision, “Let’s
put in a montage here.” The director is
thinking in terms of the visuals and the flow,
how they fit into and tell the story. The producer,
on the other hand, would look at a way
to use montages to save money.
If you listen to people, they will tell you stories that can effect the way you think. If you watch people talk and listen to yourself, you will hear stories that cause your consciousness to go to a higher level. Which would you rather do, listen to others or listen to yourself?
In every story, there must be a beginning, a middle,and an end. It must contain a main theme that holds everything in the story together. The story should also have a main character who has to achieve a goal in the story. There should also be an opposing force,an antagonist, and/or a villain who has the same goal, but for a different reason and who goes about achieving the goal in a different way.
Another key element to writing an effective story is to make sure you are “showing” the story and not “telling” the story. The way you accomplish this is to pay special attention to your verb usage. Using passive verbs results in “telling” the story. Using action verbs results in “showing” the story. You must have the instinct to know when to use passive verbs and when to use action verbs. This will make a big difference in the effectiveness of your story.
A compelling story always contains these story elements. It is in the execution of these elements that determines how compelling your story will be.