Saturday, October 28, 2006

Hit and Shun

I beseech you my writers! Please stop and resist from trying to shock us with the over done. I’m not sure if it’s Halloween, the Execs not getting out enough, or if writers truly think it’s original. If you are writing a thriller, a coming of age, tragic romance, or just any thing and for some reason you need that moment, that twist, the turning point, the thing that’s going to make people feel… Scared, Sorrow, Satisfied, Sorry they ever watched. Do not have your antagonist, or protagonist, or anyone step out onto the road just when the car, bus, van, moped flash into scene and kill, mangle, toss your character on end. IT DOESN’T WORK ANYMORE! We’ve seen it. It’s been done. We are not shocked. We’ll be more surprised if it doesn’t happen… Oh wait! Don’t do that either! Don’t have the crying teen angry at the world slowly back into the street making us think, “Here’s where the car comes and hit’s the poor girl”. Then you cleverly have the car just miss her. And if for some reason you did this and then you think, “I know how to put a twist on this, I’ll just have a second car come in and hit her!” This is not a Brilliant solution!!! Another solution is to have two people sitting in a car when it is struck, killing at least one of the passengers.

I bring this up after seeing it on this past weeks Smallville, "Reunion". Which if no one has been watching, the Green Arrow has been a great addition and Justin Hartley is the perfect balance. Now if they would finally get rid of Lana Lang! But I digress…

I don’t think I could ever list the amount of times this has happened on TV or the movies (and in a great deal of Car Insurance commercials). I will admit there are times where it has worked but the time has come to stop. I’ve submitted my definitions to Urban Dictionary. I also started a site of Screenwriter Vocabular, not sure where that's going but chime in and add your 2 cents!

Hit and Shun:

The act of avoiding a better way to come up with an insightful moment or turning point, the screenwriter has the character conveniently backing into an empty road protesting their anger or the events that proceeded when suddenly they are hit by a speeding car.

Hit and Shun 2:

If the first car doesn’t get him (her) the second one was does.

Sit and Shun:

The same act as Hit and Shun but the victims are sitting in the car. In general there are two characters in the car one of which doesn’t make it. The car probably just pulling threw a traffic light, or sitting idling after a deep conversation. If there is only one person in the car they probably just hung up the phone.

From "Meet Joe Black" (warning: shocking, it worked this time)

p.s. About 10 years ago I was sitting in my 87’ Jeep Cherokee waiting to make a legal left turn when a Ford F-150 traveling 55mph re-ended me sending my truck into the air and colliding into another vehicle. I walked with two small cuts the size of a tic-tac on top of my head. As we all sit and wait in life for our “TV Moment” this was not an insightful moment or turning point in my life.


Kal said...

I disagree. If you know the market for such films, you'll realize that its geared toward a younger generation. A generation that hasn't seen it a million times over like we have.

Take for example the ever so classic, "Oops!" I accidently slamed my face into a door, a window, or if you've seen the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a flying elevator.

These tactics are proven to work. Kids get a kick out of them. Sure its overdone like a bad steak but if it works, why fix it?

bc3 said...

I can't believe it's taking me this long to respond back to this. Sorry about that!

Something to consider is that my concern revolves around a turning point or insightful moment. These are areas you, as the writer, needs to be very clever and original. Believe me your audience is more educated then you think. Smallville, the e.g. I used, panders to a very broad audience of 14-45. These viewers have seen it and will call you on it.

Have you ever watched TV with a teenager? They may not understand the significance of your turning points but they will laugh in your face if it's not good.

Your example of slamming ones face into glass can be funny, but it's rarely used as a turning point. It's used for Character development or for the laugh. If it is an insightful moment then it needs to have context and reason.

Did Mr. Wonka bump into the glass for no reason but a laugh, or in that moment did he realize he's related to Charlie? One is Character development; the other is an insightful moment.