10 Screenwriting Lessons You Can Learn From Man Of Steel

10. Give Your Audience Room To Breathe

krypton man of steel

The more I think about it, the more confused I am as to how, exactly, the structure working within Man Of Steel's screenplay wasn't tweaked or refined before its director started shooting the movie: simply put, it's horrible, and about as messy as they come with regards to Hollywood blockbusters like this. For a writer as well-established as David S. Goyer, too, it seems rather bizarre, as there's no sense of rhythm or timing apparent throughout. In a lot of ways, I'm genuinely shocked as to how the beats of this movie were laid out on the page. It may seem rather basic to suggest that you ensure your audience room to breathe, as opposed to throwing relentless action sequence after relentless action sequence at them, refusing movie-goers the much needed time they require to process the story and digest what it is they're seeing. And yet here we are, with a movie that shows no real concern for that. Man Of Steel opens with a 20-minute prologue set on Superman's home planet of Kryptonite (more on that next), which - given that this is an origin story - is a wholly logical place to start. But having witnessed Krypton's destruction and Superman landing on Earth, you'd think that Goyer would have opted to give us a moment to breathe - that's an entire planet we just saw destroyed, so now let's slow down and let the story build, right? Nope. We jump straight to the point where Clark Kent is already grown up, working on a fishing trawler, and suddenly the crew notice a burning oil ring, and here we go with another action sequence. Point is, there's no sense of timing. We simply go from one big action moment to another, and it spoils both of them. The reason? There's been no time to comprehend anything, or a period where we can learn about the characters in order to care about what they're doing or what they're feeling. Action is nothing without backstory or knowledge about the characters involved (a point I'll touch on later in more detail). When you're writing your own screenplay, though, ensure that you're not overwhelming your audience with action moment after action moment. If you blow up a planet in your first scene, it's going to be hard to top anyway - that's when you let your characters develop, in order to imbue the next one (even if it's on a lesser scale) with the necessary weight.

All-round pop culture obsessive.