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  • Writer's pictureLee Hamilton

Montages: Cheap Gimmick or Shortcut to success?

Montage often falls into the same category as voice over, dream sequences and flashbacks, as being an over used screenwriting gimmick which is widely regarded as being an easy shortcut to reveal information and which is almost never emotionally involving. Screenwriting guru Robert McKee tells us that on the whole, “montages are a lazy attempt to substitute decorative photography and editing for dramatization and are, therefore, to be avoided”, yet look at the 2011 Oscars. Out of the ten films nominated for best writing, both original and adapted, eight can be described as containing montages.

I'll examine the concept of montage, why screenwriters choose to use it, and its effectiveness as a story telling device.

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