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January 31, 2008


My outline pitch on the historical movie went very well. Michael had major changes and notes for everyone but me, and said my story was in very good shape. However, one thing he encouraged me to do was cut down on the flashbacks I was planning on writing.

I've since talked to him and told him I'm just not ready to give up these flashbacks yet, and I'd like to still give them a chance to work when I actually write the pages. He told me that's fine, and to go ahead and do that, that's what first drafts are for.

Anyway, I was wondering... how do you feel about flashbacks? I personally like them, and even though they are somewhat discouraged by those "in the know," I think they really work well in a lot of movies. And, of course, LOST (which starts again tomorrow).

So my question is: Do you like flashbacks? How do you think they can be used well, and how do you think they are used badly?

Posted by jason on January 31, 2008 02:24 AM


I hate discolored flashbacks, and when movies over use them. Most of the time, i do like it when the viewer is not sure if they're watching a flashback or not till later. I think mostly an effective flashback for me is dependent on how it is cinematographilly (is that a word?) portrayed.

Posted by: paul on January 31, 2008 03:04 AM

I think that when a group of "experts" decide that something is ineffective or obsolete, that's usually when someone comes along and uses it very effectively and proves them wrong.

Posted by: Xerxes on January 31, 2008 03:04 PM

Generally speaking, I would say I don't like flashbacks. But I don't think much of rules when it comes to screenwriting. Narration/voiceovers are also considered a no-no, but they work so well in some movies. Same with flashbacks.

I'm trying to think of specific movies...

I remember not liking how they did it in Munich. I thought it was too disjointed and would have preferred to just have watched all that in the beginning, and then the rest of the movie uninterrupted.

The flashbacks in Arrested Development are hilarious and awesome, but that's not a movie.

Posted by: SnakeMan on January 31, 2008 08:11 PM

I don't really ever thinking "i hate flashbacks" and I actually really enjoy get glimpses into why this or that person is who they are. It's like learning a secret.

I really enjoy watching a movie that starts at the end and then flashes back to the beginning like BANDITS.

Of course, I love how lost uses flashbacks and it gets us away from the location and introduces new characters that influence the story.

Posted by: Jonathan on January 31, 2008 09:26 PM

bad flashbacks = CSI (whatever city)

good flashbacks = Family Guy

Posted by: bsweber on January 31, 2008 10:20 PM

So what did you think about the lost season premiere?

Posted by: Anonymous on January 31, 2008 11:31 PM

I'm watching it now... it's 9.30 on the west coast.

Posted by: jason on February 1, 2008 12:29 AM

do you have any flash forwards in your screen play?

Posted by: Anonymous on February 1, 2008 02:50 PM

No, although I think they are cool.

Posted by: jason on February 1, 2008 03:35 PM

for my money, the best use of flashbacks in film history is in Godfather II.

Posted by: sean on February 6, 2008 06:36 PM

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