Karl Iglesias discusses the importance of creating a sense of urgency in your scripts. After all, the word urgency is derived from the Latin word urgentia meaning pressure. Urgency creates tension and tension begets audience interest.
Screenplays demand a dramatic foundation and the audience must rapidly identify who wants what, what are the consequences if they don’t get it, and why now?
Thrillers and horrors are adroit in creating immediacy and urgency. The stakes must be high for the audience to care. It must be a matter of life or death.
Urgency does not always indicate action. Inaction could be a time of reflection, pondering, pausing, gathering information or devising a plan. Taoists believe that once a path has been set, a person may stop occasionally to gather their thoughts, knowing that they will reach their destination.
Urgency relates to a character’s motivation and they choices they make in relation to the importance of their goal.
Dramatica discusses manipulating urgency through time locks (running out of time before something terrible happens) or option locks (running out of choices).
As mentioned in previous posts, urgency creates an undulating physical and emotional response in your audience which makes for better screenplays.