And, sometimes, you need to write these things into your screenplay. Many times, the audience won’t understand what’s going on -
When you create a history for your characters (or world), that’s called backstory.
Backstory is anything that happened before your main narrative starts.
The most common form of backstory is, obviously, the flashback. Flashbacks were created for the sole purpose of telling backstory.
You aren’t just telling the story that happens in your screenplay -
Often events that happened in the past can come back to haunt your characters. A relationship that was cordial in the past, might be violent today. Things change.
But, flashbacks aren’t the only way to get backstory across to your audience.
For instance, you can have one of your characters mention what happened! This is also called exposition. But, you can literally just have one of your characters say ‘I dated your sister in college,’ or whatever it is you want to get across.
You could put up a superimposed title, like the Star Wars opening crawl. You could mention a prop or an item of set-
Slumdog Millionaire is an interesting one -
The audience starts off knowing that the protagonist is accused of cheating on a game show and the entire plot revolves around his recounting of events that led him to knowing the answers to the million-
And, just look at how well they pull it off!
Having so much exposition and backstory could really backfire horrifically. It could be extremely boring for the audience. But, not here! The screenwriter has made sure to keep each story exciting or engaging or heart-
In Memento, there is no backstory! Well, not really, but kind of.
So, the entire plot forms backwards. Each piece of new information about the past -
When Memento came out, everyone was shocked and thought it was ground-
But, that’s not the case.
Memento follows the exact same three-
Christopher Nolan just did it in a unique and interesting way -
That’s what you should aim for!