10 screenwriting lessons from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

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Screen Capture from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Lesson 4: Contrasting Emotions

Scenes of ridiculous humor are juxtaposed against very sad, poignant moments. Because these two types of emotions clash, their contrast only serves to heighten their individual effects even more.

I call this the “sugar and lemon” effect. It’s akin to someone feeding you a spoonful of sugar and then suddenly having you suck on a lemon wedge. Alone, these two flavors may not be as strong, but when tasted side by side, the dramatic differences can be instantly felt.

For screenwriters having problems trying to convey emotions, they may be able to try this technique. Set a baseline of happiness and levity. Any downward deviation from that will be felt—and a sad moment can be made even heavier due to the overall context of the scene.