Breakdown Webcast: Flashbacks

Flashbacks - When Should a Writer Use Them?
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The Breakdown

Webinar hosted by: The Breakdown

Jason Mirch is Stage 32's Director of Script Services and host of the Writers' Room. Outside of this role, he is a feature film, television, branded entertainment, and digital content producer and executive with over 15 years experience. Most recently, he produced a 3D animated feature film starring Jacob Tremblay, Christopher Lloyd, Mel Brooks, and Carol Kane. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

Flashbacks are not meant to be a storytelling crutch, but rather a tool used to reveal additional backstory or subvert the audiences expectation of a character or situation. We will examine Casablanca, The Usual Suspects & Casino Royale.

What You'll Learn

Write a short scene of flashbacks using one of the following storytelling conventions. Make sure that your flashback scenes drive the plot forward, are not more dramatic than the present, reveal information about your character or situation, have a specific point of view:
 
- The Brief but Urgent Reminder: Give a sense of your character’s dilemma in the present more urgent by flashing back briefly to their past actions. Only tell fragments of the story and tell them out of sequence. Show their state of mind at that moment.
 
For example, a man in an interrogation room tells how he did not murder his wife, but his flashbacks show the opposite.
 
- The Life-Changing Incident: Show a character's sense of point of view and then flashback to see how they got there. Remember that the flashback should contain conflict in scenes and unlock the mystery of why the character views the world the way he or she does. The moment should be one of trauma or a life changing event, such as Casablanca or Barry. Try and subvert the expectation.
 
- The Autobiographical Voiceover - A character becomes the narrator and initiates a flashback narrative about their life. How reliable is your narrator? Can we trust their version of events? Fight Club, The Usual Suspects, Forrest Gump, I, Tonya, Big Fish

About Your Instructor

Jason Mirch is Stage 32's Director of Script Services and host of the Writers' Room. Outside of this role, he is a feature film, television, branded entertainment, and digital content producer and executive with over 15 years experience. Most recently, he produced a 3D animated feature film starring Jacob Tremblay, Christopher Lloyd, Mel Brooks, and Carol Kane.

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