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backstory, DO THE RIGHT THING, exposition, flashback, IRON MAN, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK -

“Backstory” is the term for any narrative that occurs in the past within the world of the script, chronologically occurring before the action of the A-story. In cinematic writing, backstory typically takes one of two forms: exposition, and flashback. With exposition, we’re telling the backstory; characters talk about what happened, or perhaps we’re “telling” via stuff like on-screen crawls, photos/images, etc. In flashback, we’re showing backstory; we’re cutting back in time to play out a scene. Backstory is like any other form of exposition: It should be treated like a necessary evil. We give the audience only so much as...

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