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Exposition in Drama - The Godfather

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In my last blog I gave you an example of how to get out exposition by revealing character in an action movie.  Here is a great example of how to get out exposition while revealing character in a drama. To be fair, it's a total cheat.  And that is not only because "The Godfather" is one of the best, if not the best movie ever made (because it's executed flawlessly on every level from script to screen) but because the subject matter of this exposition is so intriguing that we can't help but be wrapped up in it.  

I mean rule number one about exposition should be: make your story so interesting that its exposition is thrilling and we can't help but pay attention.  However that's not always the case.  In fact, exposition is hardest because it's usually about details we don't care about but have to know.  

To learn from The Godfather, consider this: this story about Michael's father is intriguing, but what makes it even more intriguing is Michael's refusal to romanticize it.  Because of the way he tells this story, we know everything we need to know about Michael Corleone in his first two minutes of screen time.  So, while we are getting information about the kind of business Michael's family is in, we are also getting the information that Michael does not want to be a part of it.   Literal and emotional story being told at the same time through exposition.  It doesn't get better than that. 

I mean just imagine if Sonny Corleone was telling Kay that story.  It would have been a very different scene!  

I am enjoying this exploration into examples of exposition in different film genres!  Hope it's making sense to you.  As always, hit me up with any questions either in an inbox or in the comments.

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