I'm an IMDB junkie. It's a great way to learn more about a movie- or simply figure out who that person is because you KNOW you've seen her in some other show. Anyway, they also had a link to this LA Times article that dissected the opening scene of UP.
I noticed that so much of what makes a good scene in a movie makes a good scene in a book. Here's what stood out to me:
Sometimes backstory is necessary. If UP had started with Carl floating away, the viewers wouldn't have cared as much. Why the balloons? Why then? The opening scene gives the entire movie an emotional center it wouldn't have otherwise.
Backstory needs specific action. The moments of Carl and Ellie's life in the montage were based on incidents the animators took from their own lives- and even the lives of strangers. The Pixar animators actually bought home videos and watched films posted on the internet.
Incomplete information can pull readers/viewers in. I'd forgotten, but that whole scene was silent, like other Super-8 films. At first, the animators weren't sure if they could get enough information in without dialog. But by pushing themselves, they were able to incorporate all the story that they needed to. Pete Doctor says it best:
"[...] there's something asked of you as the viewer or listener - you're actively engaged by creating this missing element, so it comes to life in your own head."
So go read the article! I'd love to know what you think. What stood out to you? What could you apply to your writing?
I have another question! Tess just commented that it would difficult to have a good, dialog-less scene in a novel. It got me thinking. Does anyone remember reading a great scene in a novel that didn't include dialog?