The FlashBack Part 2

Le FlashBack Partie 2

The FlashBack

Part 2

This week we are going to see the second part of what is Flashback, what it is and what it can tell. As promised last week I’m also going to give you a concrete example with a technical story to introduce a Flashback and a concrete example with a technical story to come out of a Flashback so that you can understand, and if you want to, reproduce the same thing in your scenario.

This is just one example…as you’ll see in the Flashback and its usefulness have various possibilities.

Very well ! Let’s take a concrete example of the use of a Flashback :

Suppose that in our story our hero (James) 30 years of age, was single and that he should go back to his hometown to bury his mother that he has not seen for 15 years. Even if he did not want to go there, being the only heir there is obliged. His old friend (Luke) who still lives there and with whom he has kept in contact comes to him, slip a hand to empty the house of its mother. Then they get out of garbage bags and various other business throw away, a young woman is made to drop by a large sedan in front of the house across the street.

Sequence XX : Ext – Home Mother of James – day

James and Luke have armloads of bags and odds and ends of all kinds.


You’re not gonna tell me that you feel nothing at all ?


Because it was my mother ? She put me in the world, that’s all….it was nothing like a mother


I loved him…


It’s not complicated, you love the whole world…if a clébard had you eat the leg, you would find it pleasant

Luke shrugs

A big sedan comes to park in front of the house across the street. A beautiful young woman, about thirty, comes out.

James can’t look away.


Who is it ?


Tu déconnes ?!…..you do not recognize it ?


Interrogatively James

Luke (disappointed)

Ha ben non tu déconnes not…It’s Salome

James freezes

Sequence XX : Ext – House of Salome/ 1993 – Day-Flashback

James, age 10, a gift package in hand, stands in front of the entrance door on which a paper is pasted with the inscription : Anniversary Salome 11 years. The music and the screams of children echo up to the porch.

James hesitates for a moment.

His finger approaching the doorbell…and supports.

A few seconds later the mother of Salome opens.

Ms. Blain

Hello James


Hello Ms. Blain, I’m sorry, I’m a little late

Ms. Blain

Don’t worry. (She cries) Salome ! Salome! James is there…


A door opens at the end of the hallway from the entrance. In the room the party is in full swing. Salome appears and approaches James.

James only has eyes for her, the few steps that separate them seem endless.

Ms. Blain (James)

Back on earth, coco !

James looks at her.

Ms. Blain

It is an old story…

Sequence XXX : Ext – Home mother of James – Day


…And then she’s getting married in 3 weeks.


James returned a hit to him.


What ?!! With who ? And why you didn’t tell me that she had bought the house across the street ?


Each time I tried to give you news from the neighborhood, you changed the subject…


That tells us this example ?

– The first thing is that you don’t need the” effect “ to introduce a Flashback. You can see in some of the films effects such as panning left – right very fast, to symbolize a return to the past or a calendar effect, or a halo, a little diffuse around the images of the Flashback, etc…While in the above extract the change of sequence to the Flashback is done naturally by the presence of James at the age of thirty years connected directly to James at the age of 10 years. Not need effect.

– The other element of story that we have here is the passage of a Flashback (past) to the present time. This time it is not thanks to James (young and old) but by a deformation of the Flashback because the words of Luke are spoken by the mother of Salome. As a spectator we find the first dialogue of Mrs. Blain weird. The second we say that something is wrong, seriously and like the rest of the dialogue is said by Luke, the connection of the past to the present is done naturally by the viewer….In order to strengthen its reasoning unconscious, it is enough to leave James (the actor’s performance) of his vegetative state and is symbolized by the dialogue : what ?! with that ?!…and the turn is played.

I leave you to look and search in your movies and series favorite all the possibilities to include a Flashback into a screenplay, and especially its usefulness.

Whether you use the Flashback, the Flashforward , or the Flash sideway, each time it will be necessary to change the sequence, you are back in the present, the past, or that you were going to in the future. I’ve already said earlier in this article, but for the understanding of your story and the good presentation of your scenario, it is important to follow this rule.

To conclude : We have seen today how to use and apply the Flashback. But I would like to add one thing : If in your story your hero is reliving a scene that belongs in your timeline, that is to say, a scene from the beginning of your movie, and your hero will be remembered, it is also a Flashback. Some writers call this a Flashback internal, that is to say, internal to the story.

Don’t forget, the Flashback has to serve the narrative. Do not switch just because you find that it does well ! All the information, all of the dialogue and all the scenes that you write must have a justification and need to serve your story.

If you haven’t seen ” Memento “ by Christopher Nolan (Batman trilogy editor’s note) I invite you to watch. This film is constructed with Flashbacks….I won’t say more…I put the trailer (vostfr) :o)



I always try to be as clear as possible in my explanations but if you have any questions please do not hesitate to leave me a little message.

If you liked this article, the best way to tell me that it is to click the “Like” button at the top of the article.

Good Luck,

Tom Weil

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