Lessons on Screenwriting: How to Pace a Fight Scene

When it comes to great action-packed fight scenes, it's all about timing.

Though fight scenes might appear to be absolute chaos and utter anarchy, in reality, they're carefully choreographed dances between two or more people that want to rip their opponent's head off. However, the success of a good fight scene doesn't start with the punches and kicks, but with really great writing. If you're a screenwriter gearing up to construct some sweet hand-to-hand combat scenes, check out this video from StudioBinder, in which Ryan Doherty talks about one of the most important aspects of writing these kinds of action-packed scenes: pacing.

  • Structuring the fight:  It's not the violence that makes a fight scene memorable, but the unpredictable power dynamics. StudioBinder suggests alternative who has the upper hand during the fight to keep your audience on their toes.
  • Utilize subheadings: A little technical tip: use names or props as subheadings to make the action more clear and easy to read.
  • Engage the senses:  It's not enough to write, "Yeah, then the big dude punches the little dude like, super hard. And then blood goes everywhere and it's like, the coolest thing you've ever seen." Nah, you've got to engage your reader's senses by including visual and sound cues.

Unfortunately, pacing is one of those mystical concepts in screenwriting that can't really be fully taught with a bullet-pointed presentation. Yeah, you can learn a few tricks to make it a little easier, like how to deal with page density, narrative time structures, and structural economy, but the only way to really nail pacing is through practice.

If you want to learn more about how to write a fight scene, you should definitely check out StudioBinder's full blog post here    

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