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When to write a film in the past

Never. I repeat never write a movie that takes places in the past. This is what countless screenwriters hear everyday and what I heard constantly while at USC. Most of the reasons are valid 1) they cost more, 2) harder to write 3) they are harder to produce and most importantly 4) most do not have to take place in the past. Only set a film in the past if a MAJOR plot point is heavily dependent on it. Take Back to the Future for instance. The major plot point is in the title, you cannot go back to the future if you don't start out in the past. But once your movie is in the past you are not finished, because you still have to anchor it to an EVENT in the past. In Back to the Future Robert Zemeckis (Trojan alum shout out!) invented the clock tower lightning strike to serve as the past event. Other films use real historical events to add critique to those events or show how those events shape a character or community........... Just more random madness to remind myself why I wrote my latest in the past!