tropes

Troperiffic Tuesday!: The Montage

Chick 1 says:

What do you do when you need to develop certain elements of a story but you don’t really have the time to do it?  Use this week’s trope, The Montage!

The Montage is a common trope that has fallen into disrespect in recent years.  Like many common tropes, it has been overused or done badly and that has given it a bad reputation.  It has the stink of a hack writer on it.  But I think it’s time to clear the air.

Like any other trope, The Montage can be powerful, funny, energetic, and even touching if it’s done well.  The Montage, of course, is the stringing together of short scenes or vignettes, with or without diaglogue, usually set to music.  It can be used to show a passage of time or solidify a development in the story. Read more

Posted on by Chick 1 in Tropes Leave a comment

Troperiffic Tuesday!: Car Fu

Chick 1 says:

Welcome back to Troperiffic Tuesday!  This week we take a look at one of my favorite action movie tropes.  When in a tight spot, the Hero often has to improvise a way to defend himself or others.  He may not have a weapon; maybe he’s the kind of Hero who Doesn’t Like Guns (a la MacGyver).  If he and his entourage are trying to escape, they may turn to one of the biggest and most easily obtainable weapons around, the car.  Let’s hope our Hero is skilled in the not-so-ancient art of Car Fu. Read more

Posted on by Chick 1 in Tropes Leave a comment

Troperiffic Tuesday!: One Steve Limit

Chick 1 says:

This week’s trope is once again an example of how the world of fiction often doesn’t (and possibly shouldn’t) mirror the real world.  Ever notice how in most books, TV shows, and movies no one has the same name?  But in the real world people share first, last, or both names all the time.  There is a very important reason that it doesn’t happen often in fiction; it’s confusing.

When you are creating a story and the universe in which your characters will live, everything is completely new to your audience, even if the plot takes place in modern day America.  And there are a lot of details to keep track of.  Having two characters with the same name or even similar sounding names, even if it is more realistic, will just muddy the waters. (Anyone else wonder in Lord of the Rings if they were talking about Sauron or Saruman?)  Thus almost all fictional works have a One Steve Limit. Read more

Posted on by Chick 1 in Tropes 2 Comments

Troperiffic Tuesday!: The Almighty MacGuffin

Chick 1 says:

What do the Ark of the Covenant, the Maltese Falcon, and Unobtanium all have in common?  They are all versions of the MacGuffin, one of the most commonly used tropes of all time.  The MacGuffin is simply what they are after; what the hero is chasing, trying to find, or trying to protect.

The MacGuffin has been a trope in stories for as long as there have been stories (see the Golden Fleece in Jason and the Argonauts) but it was first given its name by Alfred Hitchcock who credited one of his screenwriters with the term.  The MacGuffin is the external motivation for the hero’s journey but has little to do with the hero’s actual character arc.  In its purest form, the MacGuffin could be replaced with any other item and the story would remain essentially the same. Read more

Posted on by Chick 1 in Tropes Leave a comment

Troperiffic Tuesday!: Stuff Blowing Up

Chick 1 says:

In continuing to explore my friend’s own personal genre of Men of Honor Blowing Stuff Up, this week we look at … Stuff Blowing Up.  Explosions are such a staple of movies that they are basically a subgenre of tropes.  And the reason for their rampant use isn’t nearly so deep or complicated; explosions are cool and people, especially men, like them.  They’re an awesome way to anchor an action set piece and they look great visually.  Should you put explosions in your movie?  Unless you’re working on a Jane Austen adaptation the answer is yes!  And even then you should at least consider it.  (I think I just invented my own genre.) Read more

Posted on by Chick 1 in Tropes 2 Comments

Troperiffic Tuesday!: MST3K Mantra

Chick 1 says:

It’s time to give you a little help with all these tropes I’ve been dishing out so this week we will discuss How To Deal With Tropes.  Because, let’s face it, learning about tropes can really screw with your ability to enjoy a movie or tv show.  You start realizing that almost everything is a trope and suddenly everything seems cliched and you can tell the entire plot of a movie from the trailer.

It’s OK.  You can move past this.  And the MST3K Mantra can help.  Read more

Posted on by Chick 1 in Tropes 1 Comment

Troperiffic Tuesday!: Big Damn Heroes

Chick 1 says:

It’s the moment we go to the movies to see; the Damsel in Distress, or the Mentor, or the Innocent Bystander is about to be killed by the Big Bad, but at the very last second the lead bursts in and saves the day, making him the Big Damn Hero!

The entrance of the Big Damn Heroes is one of the most popular tropes in movies today, especially big blockbuster popcorn movies.  It creates a huge rush of adrenaline and rightly so.  As conflict is the heart of all drama, waiting until the last minute to rescue the victim makes maximum use of this tension.  And it’s usually accompanied by a swell in the music. Read more

Posted on by Chick 1 in Tropes Leave a comment

Troperiffic Tuesday!: Heroic Blue Screen of Death

Chick 1 says:

If you’re unfamiliar with the Blue Screen of Death then you are a very lucky computer user…or a mac user.  The Blue Screen of Death appears when your pc is crashing to inform you that basically you’re screwed.  It’s Microsoft’s merry little way of saying, “You’re computer’s going away for awhile and you won’t be allowed to visit.”  When people are shocked they can go into a sort of Blue Screen of Death (hereafter known as the BSOD).  This trope is oftened used when the story is moving into the final act and it’s know as the Heroic BSOD. Read more

Posted on by Chick 1 in Tropes Leave a comment

Troperiffic Tuesday!: CPR (Clean, Pretty, Reliable)

Chick 1 says:

Whether you live or die in a movie or TV show depends on how secure your contract is.  But if you’ve been signed on for the sequel or the next season, then any medical emergency can easily, though dramatically, be solved through CPR!

In the real world, CPR stands for Cardiopulminary Resuscitation.  But in trope world it stands for Clean, Pretty, and Reliable.  What’s the difference?  In real life, CPR is an emergency procedure used to buy time for a victim until more advanced treatment can be given.  If someone’s heart and/or breathing stop then brain damage and tissue death can set in fairly quickly.  CPR gets the blood and oxygen flowing in an attempt to delay the damage until the patient can be revived.  But CPR alone usually does not revive the patient.  But not so in Hollywood! Read more

Posted on by Chick 1 in Tropes 3 Comments

Troperiffic Tuesday!: Chekhov’s Gun

Chick 1 says:

Welcome back to Troperiffic Tuesday!  This week we’re looking at one of the basic tenets of storytelling, Chekhov’s Gun.  The trope is based on a principle espoused by Russian playwright Anton Chekhov.  Chekhov said it a variety of ways but it comes down to this, “If you have a gun on stage, it better go off before the end of the play.”

Chekhov’s Gun falls under the Law of Conservation of Detail which teaches writers to make every word, every bit of dialogue count.  If it doesn’t drive the story, don’t waste your precious time with it.  In movies you only have 90-120 minutes to tell a story, on TV only 22-43 minutes so every detail has to count.  Don’t introduce any element that distracts from the story. Read more

Posted on by Chick 1 in Tropes Leave a comment