Time, Structure, and Plot
So much about film’s appeal is hotly debated, but, “if anything is natural,” says Dudley Andrew, “it is the psychic lure of narrative, the drive to hold events in sequence, to traverse them, to come to an end.”1 Every intended film has an optimal structure, one that best conveys its dramatic issues, their working out and outcome. You begin by deciding how to handle time. As with all design problems, less is more, and the simplest solution is usually the strongest. Before you direct something, pause to make a detailed, written analysis of sequences or short films that move you and that parallel your intended project (see Chapter 5, “Seeing with a Moviemaker’s Eye”). Then what follows will make more sense.