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Old 11-16-2016, 05:40 AM   #1
harmonica44
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How can I write a fight scene without it coming off as shock value only?

For my script I am contemplating writing a fight scene to increase supense, but I don't want to come off as a fight scene, just for the sake of having one, to the reader. The fight scene doesn't technically change the plot. The point can still be made without one, for the story to go where I want it to go, but I would like to have one for the sake of suspense still, without it being obvious.

For example, in Season 5, Episode 14 of Breaking Bad:

SPOILER


Walter White, after getting Hank killed comes to to pack his bags to flee. Skyler comes home and realizes that he got Hank killed and grabs a knife from the kitchen and tells him to get out of the house. Walter tries to take the knife away, and she and him have a fight. Walter then is knocked off of her, realizes he is rejected by his wife and son and leaves.

However, the writers technically didn't need a fight scene for the plot to go in that direction. The fight doesn't actually cause the plot to change. Walter could have realized that grabbing the knife would leave to a fight before hand, and could have just left without getting into a fight, feeling rejected and that's that. The plot would still go in the same direction after.

But the writers felt that by having a fight scene, it would add suspense, even though it doesn't technically add anything to the actual plotting. But it creates drama. So when it comes to writing a fight to create drama, how should I approach it so it doesn't come off as obviously not really necessary, and having it be put in there for the sake of drama, but in a good way?
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Old 11-16-2016, 09:07 AM   #2
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Everything that goes in the script and on the screen should develop either the plot or characters (or both) in some way. If it doesn't advance the plot, then a fight scene should reveal something new about a character's current state of mind (which can be in constant flux throughout a movie).



SPOILER FOR BREAKING BAD:
Spoiler:
The BB example you give, a key part of one of the finest TV episodes of all time - is ideal: Skyler has never felt emboldened enough to take physical action to protect herself and Walt Jr, but the net closing in on WW and concern for her sister's family forces her hand to do something daring.

Similarly, WW has been all about subtle control of his family, and probably would not have reacted violently were it not for the sudden time constraints to get gone.

Also Walt Jr had no idea about his father's double life, and the first time he is confronted with it he reacts decisively for Skyler and against WW.


So a scene you say is "just for drama" is (IMO) actually a brilliantly effective way of moving three characters further along their arcs in just a few seconds of screen time.
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Old 11-16-2016, 01:32 PM   #3
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Okay thanks. That makes sense. In my script, the villain gang leader's friends find out that the villain screwed them over, by getting a cop killed, and the friends take the blame. Even though the leader didn't intend this. So the gang members, rise up against their well respected leader, and oust him, so to speak.

They could just tell him to 'get lost', or they could actually take violent action. But not sure if it would come off as unnessary to show violent action, as the audience might still get the point, with a 'get lost'. What do you think?

Either way, after they oust him, the leader comes up with a possible solution to the problem, and begs the gang to let him do it, saying it's the only way out. So the gang after thinking, has to let him stick around to try the plan. So would a fight be good, in that sense?

Last edited by harmonica44; 11-16-2016 at 01:34 PM.
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Old 11-16-2016, 01:38 PM   #4
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What fits the characters? You need to try to put yourself in their head(s) and decide.
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Old 11-16-2016, 01:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harmonica44 View Post
They could just tell him to 'get lost', or they could actually take violent action. But not sure if it would come off as unnessary to show violent action, as the audience might still get the point, with a 'get lost'. What do you think?
I think IT'S A GANG! LOL! There's your answer.

Gangs don't tell people top get lost. That's Leave It To Beaver.
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Old 11-16-2016, 01:57 PM   #6
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Yes the but the gang has been patient tries not to overreact all throughout the plot. This how they were never caught, cause they never did anything stupid, or without thinking first.

So if they do snap at this point and loose control, it would be the first time. Plus would the leader suggest the new idea and come back to the gang, if they attack him, is the question.
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Old 11-16-2016, 02:01 PM   #7
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A nice well-mannered gang that asks people to leave politely? Okay. Well if that's your gangs temperament then only you know the answer here.
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Old 11-16-2016, 02:02 PM   #8
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A nice well-mannered gang?
If I didn't know so well that this is a non-political site, I'd be tempted to take this discussion off on a tangent
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Old 11-16-2016, 03:58 PM   #9
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File Type: jpg our_gang.jpg (50.0 KB, 44 views)
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Old 11-18-2016, 10:18 PM   #10
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Man, even your gangs are polite up there in Canada!

Seriously though, it almost writes itself, and develops the characters:
1) the gang keeps low key and non violent
2) the leader betrays their trust, maybe put some tension between them in the film earlier
3) they finally snap, and lash out at the leader
4) he beats them, establishing his dominance
5) this proves why he's the leader, diffuses the earlier tension and mistrust and then
6) he reveals the new plan
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Old 12-28-2016, 01:45 PM   #11
harmonica44
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Okay then thanks! I can write it like that and that's how I envisioned it, accept for point 4.

The leader doesn't overpower all of them, as I don't think he could. But instead he offers the new plan to keep them from beating him to a pulp, so they can all work together and cooperate.
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Old 12-28-2016, 02:30 PM   #12
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Dominance is hardly ever about being able to overpower everyone. Just putting the leader of the rebels in place can be enough.
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