To elide

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  • To elide

    What does everyone here think about elision and whether or not to elide?

    I've read threads on this forum and others, scripts, dramatic writing books, and the like, and I've always noticed one constant axiom: generate conflict. Throw obstacles at your characters and make them react. Escalate and progress.


    Then I came across the idea of elision and the smaller moments in film. Do you think you could ever skip the most important scenes? We're not talking about cutting or condensing a novel, either.

    How about doing it on purpose for dramatic effect?

  • #2
    Re: To elide

    Originally posted by Ven View Post
    What does everyone here think about elision and whether or not to elide?

    I've read threads on this forum and others, scripts, dramatic writing books, and the like, and I've always noticed one constant axiom: generate conflict. Throw obstacles at your characters and make them react. Escalate and progress.


    Then I came across the idea of elision and the smaller moments in film. Do you think you could ever skip the most important scenes? We're not talking about cutting or condensing a novel, either.

    How about doing it on purpose for dramatic effect?
    I'm not even joking. I just had to look both those words up to see what they meant. Huh. Learn something new everyday.
    il faut d'abord durer

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    • #3
      Re: To elide

      Originally posted by Ven View Post
      What does everyone here think about elision and whether or not to elide?

      I've read threads on this forum and others, scripts, dramatic writing books, and the like, and I've always noticed one constant axiom: generate conflict. Throw obstacles at your characters and make them react. Escalate and progress.


      Then I came across the idea of elision and the smaller moments in film. Do you think you could ever skip the most important scenes? We're not talking about cutting or condensing a novel, either.

      How about doing it on purpose for dramatic effect?
      Elision is such a broad notion that it's difficult to know what you're referring to. If it's to something like withholding key scenes, as in the last episode of 'The Sopranos' or the 'objective' version of the rape (if there was one) in 'Rashomon', such narrative devices are not uncommon. If you're talking about the elision of oblique dialogue (Pinter, etc.) its use seems to me even more commonplace, though maybe moreso in Brit and Euro films than U.S.. I don't think it's unfair to use the degree of suggestion or understatement in a narrative, vs. declaration and statement, as a measure of its quality. But it seems is that such qualities/techniques are generally discouraged in the business -- the famed Mamet memo might serve as an example of this.

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      • #4
        Re: To elide

        If you can successfully skip the most important scenes without disrupting the story flow, then I suspect the scenes weren't really all that important.

        I think it's sometimes useful to omit moments where audiences can fill the details themselves, but not the big ones. ESPECIALLY not the endings. I personally hate it when the movie leaves you wondering what the protag chooses in the end. (Which I think would be an example of this.)

        Tell me YOUR story.

        Finish YOUR story.

        I'll decide if I liked your story or not.

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        • #5
          Re: To elide

          Originally posted by Ven View Post
          What does everyone here think about elision and whether or not to elide?

          I've read threads on this forum and others, scripts, dramatic writing books, and the like, and I've always noticed one constant axiom: generate conflict. Throw obstacles at your characters and make them react. Escalate and progress.


          Then I came across the idea of elision and the smaller moments in film. Do you think you could ever skip the most important scenes? We're not talking about cutting or condensing a novel, either.

          How about doing it on purpose for dramatic effect?
          I wouldn't overlook the value of the "quieter" vignettes in a movie. Like all other elements of the story, they should serve to further the narrative, albeit in a subtle way. One of my favorites from Stand By Me...
          https://youtu.be/c9imHz0nBd4

          How did the motifs of that scene (e.g. gun, troubled boy sitting on train tracks reading a comic book, deer) connect to the narrative and theme of the movie?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: To elide

            Originally posted by Ven View Post
            What does everyone here think about elision and whether or not to elide?

            I've read threads on this forum and others, scripts, dramatic writing books, and the like, and I've always noticed one constant axiom: generate conflict. Throw obstacles at your characters and make them react. Escalate and progress.


            Then I came across the idea of elision and the smaller moments in film. Do you think you could ever skip the most important scenes? We're not talking about cutting or condensing a novel, either.

            How about doing it on purpose for dramatic effect?
            On ‘elision’ as an omission of a passage in a book, speech, or film: It looks as though you may have thought up a plot to a very left-handed movie (and all of it by omission).

            What if the story premise is that the football teams in a league decide to run the plays without the ball?

            Better still, the story premise could be about farmers who grow anything but the usual farm crops.

            Finally, what if you had a story premise about all the Greek goddesses and gods who go to a bar where everyone knows their names after a hard day of being a goddess or god except that they don't speak of each day’s events? Instead, they speak of matters surrounding them, purposely omitting mention of any of the actual events.

            Any of the aforementioned premises could carry the title “Elision Fields.”
            Last edited by Clint Hill; 09-29-2018, 10:59 PM.
            "If you're going to have a story, have a big story, or none at all." — Joseph Campbell

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