Exposition and complex sci-fi concept

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  • #31
    Re: Exposition and complex scifi concept

    Originally posted by SamuelClark View Post
    I liked the way the exposition was handled in Inception. The scene in the cafe was nice. Firstly it was interesting and engaging and secondly the scene ended on a revelation. "We're dreaming?" Boom. Cinematic explosions... abstract and surreal.
    That's only one minor scene that meant almost nothing to the rest of the movie and was still handled poorer than anything in The Matrix.

    I'm actually in the process of reading the Inception screenplay. There's a point in the second act where literally everything out of Ariadne's mouth - I'm not joking, this is a true statement - for over twenty consecutive pages, is a question. It's beyond comical.

    What you never want to do is answer a question before the audience asks it. Inception is answer after answer after answer for the sheer sake of plot convenience. Make me care, first.

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    • #32
      Re: Exposition and complex scifi concept

      i guess one question you need ask yourself is how much is the audience already awhere of the science and/or implications? There's nothing worse than sitting in a movie where the "hero" explains the situation in small words to the "dumbest kid in class." Don't talk down!
      I heard the starting gun


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      • #33
        Re: Exposition and complex scifi concept

        Originally posted by Dr. Vergerus View Post
        Hi all. I'm working on a scifi spec, set in the present or the very near future; the story deals with a scientific experiment and the consequences of its success, kind of a "what if...?"

        Because of the theme(s) of the story, it's important that the reader not only understands the nature of the experiment but also believes it is possible, and a fairly complex explanation needs to take place.

        I'm not an anti-exposition, show-don't-tell kind of guy; I know that at some point a character is going to have to explain how the experiment works, and I'm fine with it.

        What I'm having trouble with is deciding when to do this. I fell I should make it clear as early as possible, maybe even in the very first scene, because it's fundamental information to understand what's going on.

        So:

        Can you think of stories that had to deal with a similar situation and you think handled the exposition nicely? I'd like to compare my current choices with those of other writers to decide which is the best way to go.

        Thanks very much for any help you can offer.
        Watch CONTAGION

        Lots of scientific explanations spread throughout.
        Story Structure 1
        Story Structure 2
        Story Structure 3

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        • #34
          Re: Exposition and complex scifi concept

          The writer's of Stargate SG1 had a running "gag". Whenever Carter started to explain how something worked, O'Neill would cut her off and ask what that had to do with them - now.

          I always figured if Carter knew how it worked, that was good enough for me.

          edited to add:

          When Dr. Evil attempted to explain his plan didn't Mini-Me, who was strapped to his chest, fall asleep?

          edited to add:

          Didn't Mary Poppins say she doesn't explain anything.

          Get on with the story.
          "I am the story itself; its source, its voice, its music."
          - Clive Barker, Galilee

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          • #35
            Re: Exposition and complex sci-fi concept

            Try Blindness or Another Earth. Low budget, high concept....NO to little explaining, went strait to the drama....not Physics class!
            "Mr.Purple is another guy on another job, you're not Mr.Purple!"

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            • #36
              Re: Exposition and complex sci-fi concept

              To me it's always best to show the technology in action -- it requires less explaination. Provide just enough exposition to explain what really HAS to be explained, nothing more.

              In Minority Report the opening sequence actually explained the technology well enough to suspend my disbelief, but the entire first act was like 40 minutes, and I think that has to do with so much of the rest of the movie's action was tied to the explaination of the technology and the story rules.

              I think you'd be suprised how little needs to be said if you can find a way to communicate the 'workings' of technology. Find a compelling visual explaination. Writers can find themselves buried in minutia if they don't self-edit.

              If someone told you there was a cure for cancer, and you saw patients cured, would you really need to know HOW it cured cancer? Of course not.

              FA4
              My Opinions are just that... opinions.
              "Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy b/c you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say." -- Edward Snowden

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