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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Rewatching BLADE RUNNER this weekend I was struck by how in 2019 we're supposed to have off-world colonies, but Deckard still needs to use a payphone. (A video payphone, of course. Because in the future we'll all want to see each other's faces when we talk. Heh.)

One thing I've noticed occasionally in contemporary TV, scripts or on air, is sometimes writers use old technology because it makes the story easier to plot. For example, someone loses their precious handwritten notebook. Or someone is stranded somewhere because they don't have a cell phone.

Don't write with old tech. It's lame. No one loses a notebook anymore because everyone keeps their notes on their computer.

Sure, somebody could, as a character point, have a notebook. And not everyone has a cell phone. But if you hang a plot point on it, it stops being a character point and becomes a convenience.

Note that this is different from a convention. A convention is when someone knocks on someone's door instead of just calling. Everyone understands that while people don't really ever do this, it's usually more fun to twatch can be more two having a conversation in the same space than watching two people on their cell phones. Also, cheaper to shoot, since you don't need two locations. And no one really wants to watch two people texting each other.

The audience will tolerate conventions so long as the plot doesn't hang on them. The audience will get vaguely irritated when you use conveniences. Try to come up with a plot point that can survive both characters having cameraphones and laptops that they regularly back up.


I use spiraled index cards to write my notes. Carry them with me at all times. Computers are great but I don't want to lug mine around every time I go out and that is when I usually find some great new character phrases and foundations for characters as well. So sorry but I use pen and paper still. Hey Blade Runner is ancient lucky they had what they had then. It has that Tron feel to it. Lol..

By Blogger meme, at 6:33 PM  

Notebook here. But it's a good point anyway.

By Blogger taylor, at 6:17 PM  

I don't think that's totally true. I have a cell phone that I'm not quite sure if it's charged, or where it is, but my young children will steal the notebooks I write in CONSTANTLY. As I'm literally writing in them. So I give plenty of pens and notebooks at Christmas and all holidays. But I do think that all books and writing have a tactile quality that can't be replaced, or maybe shouldn't be replaced. Sorry, Kindle. (Isn't that the computer thing? The book thing? Oh, well, never mind...)

By Blogger merianne, at 3:37 AM  

Also, I really did bang my head against the coffee table, causing me to get amnesia and forget I have an evil twin.

By Blogger Morley, at 12:30 PM  

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