Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Enough with the Backstory Rationing!

Noel Murray over at the AV Club has a great article on "backstory rationing," essentially asking us screenwriter's for "no more movies that are so preoccupied with how to convey the characters’ backstories that they forget to tell the story-story."

Per the blog, "At this year’s Toronto fest I saw a Swedish film called The Ape that opens with a man covered in blood, then proceeds to show how he tries to make it through an ordinary day. Why all the blood? We don’t find out right away. Instead, we watch him fumble around, obviously distressed. But not knowing his secret doesn’t really add much value to the first half of the movie, beyond making us wonder how long we’re going to have to wait for answers. And in some ways, it’s a dramatic mistake that writer-director Jesper Ganslandt doesn’t tell us right away why the hero’s in trouble. It ultimately makes no difference to the story when we find out, and being kept in the dark prevents us—or prevented me, anyway—from seeing much irony or tension in all the scenes of a guy aimlessly driving around."

Check out the full article here and be careful about creating a movie that is only there to reveal backstory.

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