In the LEGO Movie, there is a character who really wants to build a spaceship. In the end of the film of course he gets to build his spaceship but it wasn't an easy road. He was denied his true goal of building a spaceship several times.
This is what made this moment so good and interesting. If we learned only seconds before he built the spaceship that he loves spaceships, we wouldn't care as much. This is because we, as an audience, need to know that the goal is hard to achieve in order for us to care. Even in secondary characters like the guy who wants to build a spaceship.
We need to know that a goal is hard to achieve for us to care.
This rule is often very important in romantic situations. Some TV shows build up to relationships over seasons and seasons. Maybe the girl is in a relationship and the guy isn't. Then the girl is available but the guy is in a relationship. This makes us care about the relationship.
Meanwhile other shows will introduce a guy and a girl and only one or two episodes later, they're going out. That's not how you make the audience care about the relationship.
In writing and filmmaking, withholding information or an event while still teasing at it makes the audience want it the most.
For example when you shoot a scene and you have a guy learning that he has cancer but you don't cut to him while he talks. This makes the audience want to REALLY know what he's thinking. Then when you cut to his reaction the audience will pay a lot of attention to him.
This is all because the audience wants what it can't have. But we'll eventually give it to them....eventually.
Zachary Will is an Award-Winning Filmmaker creating short films and content for the Internet as the owner of Riverside Studios. He has a Bachelor's in Film from Full Sail University. He has worked on productions for companies like Webmd, Sears, Home Depot, Six Flags and more!
"the trick is to never give up... I think the secret of success is not how little you get knocked down but how often you get back up." - Gareth Edwards