Thursday, May 04, 2006

Never slows down

I got my beloved sleep last night, but not after watching a couple of Star Trek: TNG episodes and having a good chat with Marie. We are such geeks - I always was, but my geekiness is wearing her down.

This morning: a business breakfast on the subject of usability. It's a really interesting topic, and even more interesting was the fact that actors make really good people for user tests, because they can articulate the emotional response that good or bad usability sometimes evokes.

Deadlines continue apace, so not much happening on paper (or screen) for my romantic comedy, but the ideas keep popping up and I keep scribbling them down for closer attention on the weekend.

One thing that's kind of puzzling is the whole area of conflict. In Making a Good Script Great, the chapter I'm on is all about conflict. If your script is dragging, there's not enough conflict, and it needs to be diametrically opposed conflict, not just little conflict. And you need to fill in all the cracks with conflict too...

E.g. an expository scene where a detective asks a policeman about the evidence, could be just:
Detective: Has the photographer been yet?
Policeman: I don't know, I'll find out.
Apparently the better thing to do dramatically is to put a bit of attitude into it, like:
Detective: Has the photographer been yet?
Policeman: Not my department, mate.
Theoretically, that makes for more interesting viewing.

Meanwhile, I'm reading a book called Change Your Thinking, all about cognitive behaviour therapy, including how to deal with ... you guessed it, conflict.

It struck me that while "the media" point out that they're not there to shape society or educate, they surely do. I mean, how can you not learn about how to deal with life - whether well or not - from the TV programmes they saw growing up?

So I wonder to myself, is there a role for films that actually portray healthy relationships? Healthy ways to deal with things? You've definitely got conflict there, but you don't have people trying to bring each other down all the time.

Or would that make the viewing experience boring? I think the answer is what it is most times... it depends.

It all depends on the context of the story. If it moves the story forward to have everyone against your protagonist, go for it. If it's helpful to the story to show some good communication practice, go ahead. I've answered my own question. Thanks to all who were going to answer for me!


Of note:

  • A piece about Australian author Luke Davies and his journey from novel to screen with the moviefication of his novel Candy.
Demographic Trends
  • Billy Mernit confirms two puzzling trends about movies I heard yesterday: women like rom-coms, even with male protagonists (they loved Sione's Wedding), and women account for a lot of the growth in horror movies. Weird!


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