Exposition Mistakes Screenwriters Make – Christian Elder

Christian Elder, Screenwriter: Tell your story in the cut because that is where the story actually lives. It lives in between the juxtaposition of two scenes, it lives in the transition of those two scenes.

Film Courage: So it’s within the cut?

Christian: Yeah, that’s the other thing I like to talk about is telling the story in the cut. Telling the story in the cut is simple. It’s a little simpler than I think a lot of people make it and people tell writers and they tell filmmakers and they tell directors show not tell, show not tell, show not tell, show not telland that can be kind of really confusing because it’s like you listen to those words and you’re like Okay, what does that mean? What does that mean really show not tell? How do you show a screenplay? I don’t understand what that means. When you’re a writer and you’re hitting yourself with those words, I don’t get it. I’m telling intrinsically by writing, it can be really confusing. But see what it actually means is tell your story in the cut because that is where the story actually lives. It lives in between the juxtaposition of two scenes. It lives in the transition of those two scenes. So the period between those two scenes is where all the information of your story is uploaded. All the exposition that you need to make in your…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).



Christian Elder is a screenwriter, playwright and filmmaker based in Los Angeles, California. He has been a finalist for Tribeca All Access, a semi-finalist for the International Thomas Wolfe Playwriting Award, a quarterfinalist for the ScreenCraft Play contest and a quarterfinalist for the Academy Awards Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting. His work written for the stage has been recently developed at the Billie Holiday Theatre through the Frank Silvera Writers’ Workshop and Urban Stages, both in New York. He has written and directed two short films and is the creator and executive producer of the new crime fiction anthology podcast Hell, California. Elder’s Hell, California, is a hardboiled crime fiction podcast anthology series (co-produced by Jeremy Foley). It takes place in a mysterious, mythical California border town called Hell. Each episode is an original standalone noir story, often about greed, lust and murder. In March 2020, Elder, Foley and a team of six writers formed an online TV writers’ room during the pandemic, resulting in this series.






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