How to keep your film from stagnating. Top tips for pacing your film

March 15th, 2021  |  by amaliehluthra

Tips for pacing your film:

Pacing your story is incredibly important in the filmmaking process. You want to make your film to be exciting, fun and fly through the story.

No one wants to watch a slow, laborious story that doesn’t have many twists and turns to offer - they want fast-paced, exciting stories with relatable characters.

In this article,  we will discuss what pacing means within film and the top tips to ensure you’re creation action-packed, fast storylines.

Make sure your next film is paced correctly, keeping your audience focused and intrigued. Right, let’s check these tips out!

What is pacing within film?

Pacing within the film is essentially how the audiences are directed to consume the film and at what speed. There’s no tangibility to pacing. It’s more of an element made up of multiple factors.

Pacing is the speed at which the plot moves and can be determined by the speed of camera shots, length of dialogue and movement. It’s made up of absolutely everything, and you want to get a balanced pace and a consistent rhythm to ensure your movie moves smoothly.

Top tips to keep your film from stagnating

Here is the breakdown you’ve been waiting for. Here is how you can keep your latest film project from stagnating.

Intentionally write your script with pacing in mind.

From the forefront of your story development, you must ensure pacing is right in the mix. There’s no point carving out a well-written story but forgetting to include pacing within.

Unfortunately, you’ll end up rewriting it as pacing changes everything. You need to understand how the other elements within filmmaking sit within the scene. Will the camera move? Will the lines be spoken at light speed or reasonably slowly?

Ensure these factors are considered, as it will build a picture of how long you’ll be spending within each scene and whether or not it’s relevant. You may want to fly through part of the film but slow down in other areas.

With this, you must understand the pacing and intentionally sort the level of pacing to ensure the story runs smoothly.

Storyboarding

You can start planning the pace of your film out through the storyboarding process. This is a great pre-production step where you’ll start to see the movement of time within the film and how your plot moves along.

This may also highlight some key areas in which you need to switch up the tempo, but it catches it before you move into production.

Sometimes it’s good to slow the movie down, there might be a key event or line delivered, and you want the audience to feel it.

You want the delivery of that line to hit the audience hard, and it may be best delivered by your protagonist as they are slumped in a rickety old armchair with their face lit by candlelight.

Or, the stories been pretty slow, and you need to add a bit more camera movement to the shot to push the story further.

Create momentum

Is your story being a little sluggish? Do you need to spice it up?

The best way to speed up the story is to create momentum. How do you create that momentum, you ask?

By using camera movement.

Not just panning side to side, but trying shooting overhead, maybe even running alongside or above the protagonist as they chase down their nemesis.

It can be quite subtle too, a simple movement at a key point in the movie can help give it momentum and push the pace of the film to the next level.

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