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A Breakdown of Why the First & Last Images of a Scene Matter

Start and end with the images you want your audience to remember.

I’ve told people (inspired by the advice I’ve read) that they should choose snapshots within their films to represent each scene or sequence. That way, as they design their film in prep, they know what is most important in that scene.

Those snapshots represent the information or emotion you think is most important for you to communicate to the audience. It’s a useful way to focus in on what matters most – to filter out noise.

The existence of snapshots, or key images, is a reason why storyboarding is such a great tool. As you create storyboards, you discover what the most important images/information/emotions are (and therefore what you should absolutely make sure you capture while on set).

What do key images have to do with the first and last image of your scene being important? I’ll get there in a moment, I promise.


First and Last Key Images in a Scene

So each scene has key images. Let’s look at a scene from American Psycho.