Monday, September 15, 2008

Ring My Bell

This weekend, the Los Angeles Times published an interesting analysis of how ubiquitous communication devices are changing story lines in "Remember movies before the cellphone?"

While cellphones appear to help storytellers, since they allow anyone to talk to anyone at any time, "that seeming freedom only makes it all the more difficult," says Robert McKee, the screenwriting guru and author of "Story." "It takes away a possible source of conflict -- the difficulty of communicating, the difficulty of calling for help."

McKee compares the situation to the loosening of rules about depicting sexuality -- writers have more options, but they lose the tension created when they're forced to be implicit rather than explicit. Still, he doesn't see the development as negative. "All it means is that the writer has to be even more ingenious in building the conflicts and the tensions in a credible way," he says.

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