Scènes à faire (French for "scenes to be made" or "scenes that must be done") are the scenes or scene elements that a fan of the genre in question expects to see in a work set in the genre, or in a particular location. You can't tell a story in this genre or this setting without them.
They're a step up from a genre's Necessary Tropes, in that they're elements that take place to establish or further the story to a greater or lesser extent. They usually contain tropes of their own.
Tropes Are Not Legos, and scènes à faire are not legos, either. They have to be customized to fit the story that they're used in.
Scènes à faire don't count as copyright violations per se - while they are expressions of ideas that other people have written down in the past, they're necessary elements in a story. The first person to use them was original; everyone who follows in their footsteps is writing what they need to write in order to tell a story in the same genre or setting. For example, we'll quote from The Other Wiki:
The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit interpreted the scènes à faire doctrine expansively to hold that a motion picture about the South Bronx would need to feature drunks, prostitutes, vermin, and derelict cars to be perceived as realistic, and therefore a later film that duplicated these features of an earlier film did not infringe.
- Your action-adventure private detective will likely end up in Hot Pursuit of a suspect, possibly starting with a cry of Follow That Car! or involving a Sheet of Glass along the way. Depending on how far into the story the scene takes place, the detective might or might not catch the suspect - odds of apprehension are inversely proportionate to the length of story remaining.
- When - not if - the climactic ship-to-ship battle takes place in the days of Wooden Ships and Iron Men, the characters will board and storm their enemy's ship.
- In Japanese mystery works, the Engineered Public Confession takes place at the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea.
- Superspies use concealed gadgets, visit exotic locations, meet femmes fatale and love interests (sometimes the same person) and get into Chase Scenes while carrying out their missions - which often result in Saving the World.
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And the examples we have need sorting by genre, too.