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Old 05-21-2016, 11:50 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 511
Default How to describe a slide show

So I have a [teacher] character clicking through a slide show on a big white screen, showing specific works of art--paintings, movie posters, and some music. Schools nowdays have the modern technology where they use Apple TV, but they still click through to the next page of the slide show. Is there a better way to say it than "he clicks to the next slide showing XYZ"?

My second question is, these pieces of art are not as famous as the "Mona Lisa", and most readers won't know what they are. Is it enough to simply name them and give the briefest description? Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.


Mr. Burns clicks through a SLIDE SHOW. Illuminated on a large, white board is “Scene during the Eruption of Vesuvius” by Joseph Franque which shows the bare breast of the mother and her children fleeing a volcano.

MR. BURNS ("blah blah blah")

He clicks to the movie poster for “Jaws,” “The Day After Tomorrow," 'The Martian.”

MR. BURNS ("blah blah blah")

He clicks to “The Deluge” by Francis Danby, where the unceasing rain creates an ocean drowning all people and beasts not aboard Noah’s ark.
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Old 05-22-2016, 08:55 AM   #2
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Default Re: How to describe a slide show

There's nothing wrong, per se, with what you're showing, but--

The more important question is whether it's important for the audience to see/know these images on the slideshow? Does it have anything to do with the story? Does it set up some future event? Or pay off a moment from earlier? Don't waste time on things that don't matter-- not even 30 seconds. It's better to use those seconds to advance the story.

Remember in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, when Dr. Jones is ending his class? Well, he's explaining to his class that "X" never marks the spot, and this is an important set up to a humorous gag later when he's searching for a way into a crypt and it turns out that "X" does, if fact, mark the spot.

My point is that we come into that scene at the very last moment possible. We don't want listen to him blather on about his class, because that's boring, and you never want to be boring in your story. It's the same in the class scene with Denis Quaid and Meg Ryan in D.O.A and the classroom scene with Nicolas Cage in KNOWING. They have a specific function. They set up the story.

It's your job to dramatize the scene. If it's not dramatic, it's boring. People tune out of boring.

Maybe in your scene it's important and it is dramatic, in which case ignore everything I've said above.

But if there isn't significance to the slideshow images that set up some kind of foreshadowing of a later event, like a volcano erupting and people fleeing, then I would suggest that you limit your description to a one liner about the images that fly by on screen. Come in at the end of the slideshow and get in your bit of information, then get out.
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,” Pablo Picasso
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Old 05-22-2016, 09:59 PM   #3
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 511
Default Re: How to describe a slide show

Thanks much finalact--yes, I feel it is important... that being said it is actual seconds when one clicks through a slide show, so it is devoting a lot of valuable space on the page.

I'm most curious about how to-- and how much to-- describe these various [at times obscure] works of art for the reader.

Thanks again-
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Old 05-23-2016, 01:01 AM   #4
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Default Re: How to describe a slide show

I think that if all you're trying to do is showcase Mr. Burns' artistic sensibilities and knowledge, it may be better expressed in a different way (maybe through casual dialog with another character, more person to person).

If however, something interesting happens in the classroom in this scene, maybe a student disagrees with one of his arguments, I think it could have value.

Paintings and power point slide shows both have their own separate viewing apparatuses from film. Writing them into film feels a bit dry and redundant to me.

I may be way off base, but I think the information you're trying to convey could be better dramatized as a situation between characters.
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Old 05-25-2016, 01:55 PM   #5
Mitchell McLean
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Default Re: How to describe a slide show

1.) I'd just name the painting, without describing it. If something about the projected image is vital to the story, have Mr. Burns mention it in dialogue.

2.) If you want the slide to fill the screen, use INSERT SLIDE.

3.) Are any of these images copyrighted? If so, I'd make sure they're absolutely vital to the story, and worth the cost of getting them cleared. Otherwise, it could either get rewritten or (worst case) tossed into the reject pile.
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