Lessons from Back to the Future
I just rewatched Back to the Future with my daughter who had no idea what I was talking about when I made a BTTF reference. So, of course, I had to rent it for her. :-) I can't even remember how long it has been since I had seen it last, but it completely lived up to my memories of it.
The lesson I want to cover, which for some reason I didn't consciously remember about the movie, is layering.
Wow, go back and watch the opening twenty minutes of this movie and notice all of the little details of visuals and dialogue which come into play later on in the movie. It's a feast for the eyes if you know what you're looking at. If it has been a long time since you've seen the movie, I would actually recommend you rewatch it twice so you can go back to the beginning and see all of the groundwork and layering the filmmakers did with BTTF.
Consider layering and hinting with your own work. Your reader might not consciously notice it in the first run through, but it will add richness to your story when those earlier references come together in a later scene.
In the opening sequence of BTTF, there isn't a single live person in the scene, it is a camera pan going over Doc Brown's house, but almost every single item the camera goes over will come into play later on and tells us a lot about the character Doc Brown. Small details which lead to a big pay off.