Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Good Movies vs. Bad Movies

I like movies as much as anyone, but I don’t often take the time to see them. Although, I’ve seen several lately. Some were extremely well written, and some were very poorly written (no, I’m not telling titles—you’ll have to figure that out on your own).

The well written movies had high tension levels, strong suspension of disbelief, identifiable characters, and plots with unexpected twists and turns.

On the other hand, the poorly written ones moved slowly, weren’t believable for one reason or another, had characters that were difficult to connect with, and a plot that didn’t fulfill the viewers’ expectations.

What’s the difference? Well, in the case of two of my recently viewed movies, several million dollars in ticket sales. But even more than that, fans that walked away either stimulated and satisfied, or feeling like they wasted their ticket money.

Notice I didn’t bring up the big-budget/small-budget comparison. It’s because I believe small budget movies can be well written as often as big-budget movies are poorly written. It’s a mixed bag.

One thing we can do to assure we don’t end up on the bottom end of the spectrum is to fact check and research. Especially real life scenarios. If law enforcement plays a big role in your storyline, talk to a law enforcement official. If your story draws on medical science, talk a doctor to or research the relevant subjects. If there is a strong historical side to your story, make sure your story is set in the right time and that you have given your characters the right tools.

I’m not saying you have to get everything exactly right. Just make it believable to the reader or viewer.

What other things can we do to assure that our stories are the best they can be?


Janet Johnson said...

Amen! A little research can go a long way. :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I would add make sure your characters are acting true to their age. Sometimes I pick up a YA novel and think, teenagers don't act or respond that way. TV shows for teens are like that too.

Carolyn V said...

I totally agree. It has to make sense and be believable (without being's s thin line).

I just got done watching a series that was AMAZING! Great twists and turns, kept me enthralled. I'm going to have to pick it apart and see how they did it.

Nichole Giles said...

Thanks Janet!

Susan, I agree that this is an issue in some cases. Although, I think we have to make allowances for the different maturity levels of all teens. For example, I have a 13 year old who acts older than most adults, and also know a 21 year old who acts about 15. Just very different people. But I agree that we have to find a middle ground so it's believable, right? Yep. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

Carolyn, I agree about the boring / believable line. Good luck figuring out how that series made it all work.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Good advice! One movie I saw recently that I really loved was Hugo.

Angie said...

I'm all for a little research. It really doesn't take long, usually, to get a few facts straight. I think making sure characters are believable is huge too.