Screenplay: Flashbacks

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One area that can concern new writers is using flashbacks to tell your story. Flashbacks in themselves are not a violation in technique, but there are some things to keep in mind. What we try to avoid is over using flashbacks to complete a story. Flashbacks have to be woven into your story carefully as to not jar the reader or the audience. Given that flashbacks don’t naturally occur in most stories, it is often good to include them as a early as possible to let the reader know that flashbacks will be used in your style of writing.

A good technique is to determine how many flashbacks will be necessary in your script. Find strategic points where they will be used to continue to adhere to that interval. In most situations a flashback can be used towards the beginning of your script and only then. Some critics might feel that an overuse of flashbacks identifies a bad writer. That a writer should be able to verbalize or visualize past events without going back in time. Given this principle, we should try to make flashbacks as unique and entertaining as possible to ensure the audience feels like this information could not be told in any other mechanism.

Flashback Types

There are two distinct types of flashbacks, one that a character would use to think back to a previous event, and one that is simply a part of the story. For the individual, it is typical to have them pause and express an emotion that symbolizes their desire to think back on an event. For the events of the past, the flashback can be integrated into the normal flow of the script.

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