Hair Metal, what a glorious time for Rock & Roll. The glamour, the rock, the hair, spandex, attitude, groupies, money and killer videos on MTV. Remember music video on MTV? Then there were those guitar solos. Who can forget those bitchin guitar solos that just HAD to go in every song? You couldn't even begin to consider yourself a legitimate rock and roller if you didn't have a shredding guitar solo. Yes, Hair Metal was a glorious time of sex, drugs and rock and roll... and then, suddenly, it wasn't. Proof? Pop quiz! Let's name all the Hair Metal bands. There's Guns N' Roses, Motley Crue... Poison.... uh... there's uh... Great White, they had that one song.... uh... I'm out.
Now let's name some classic rock bands. There's The Who, Led Zeppelin, Credence, Bruce Springsteen, Blue Oyster Cult, Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young, The Eagles, Bob Seger, Aerosmith, Deep Purple... I could go on, but I don't think I need to. Who I really want to talk about is The Rolling Stones. Why is it that Hair Metal came and went with the winds but The Rolling Stones have been making records and touring to sold out houses for over fifty years? Why is it that I can name more hit songs of theirs than I can name Hair Metal Bands in general? And, no, it's not because I am just harping on the music of my generation being the greatest. I was born long after all of these bands started playing together. I propose this simple answer. Harmony. Everything they do in their songs works in harmony. At no point does anyone of the other members overpower the other. They all work together to make a great song. Sure, there are musical interludes, but they are not bitchin guitar solos just to have a bitchin guitar solo. There are drums, horns, harmonicas, rhythm guitars, back-up singers and pianos. All of these elements are used to add to the whole and makes something even greater.
How does this relate to movies? Tell me, have you ever watched a movie and suddenly thought, "What the hell was that scene in there for?" An action scene that only seems to be in there because they wanted to have an action scene. A comedy scene just because it seemed like something funny to do. A musical interlude, just because one of the stars is a really good singer. Can you name the movie they were in? If so, would you rank that movie as one of your favorites? Just like the Rock and Roll songs that have stood the test of time, your movie must also work in harmony. Each scene needs to be in there for the specific reason of driving your story forward. There should be no comedy scenes because, "It was just too funny to leave out." No action scenes because just to blow something up and look cool. No musical interludes because, well... no musical interludes.
This means that if you ever find yourself saying, "I really need an action scene here." or, "This scene is just too funny to leave out." You need to stop, take a step back and really think about whether or not that scene will accomplish anything for your story. The last thing you want is to take the audience out of your story in the middle of the movie and leave them thinking, "What the heck did I just watch?"
Don't believe me? Then let me leave you with one final thought. The Rolling Stones just completed a sold out, multi-nation tour even though they are in their seventies. Bret Michaels does reality shows on VH1.