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Old August 8 2014, 12:32 AM   #256
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Re: Fan Film Writer's Primer

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
Maurice wrote: View Post
JarodRussell wrote: View Post
Well, House M.D. and CSI work(ed) well with their techno/medobabble.
That's at least usually based on reality, as opposed to saying "Captain, the fauxparticle emanations from the alientech has verbed the madeupium in the component. We have to madeupdefense the ship to prevent it from going kerplowski."
But for the general guy, it makes no difference. Astrophysicists do their facepalms in Trek, and forensics do their facepalms in CSI. The point is, based in reality or not, the scripts are done the same way: Technobabble causes and solves the problem, and there are long scenes of technobabble dialogue.
Sorry, just stumbled upon this thing.

Sure, yeah, technobabble in House, CSI, and Star Trek are just fine for the laymen, but it's not great storytelling. For week to week, having to churn out 24 episodes in ten months, it works. You try to churn out 24 episodes. You're probably going to have to reroute the binary plasma flow to the auxiliary deflector controls to get rid of the thingy on the hull.

But what sets this down a rung is that it's cheating the audience from a real emotional moment. People love Star Trek for the toys and the shiny things moving through space, but they love the characters the most. Typically, debates between which show was better don't have anything to do with tech, but with who was better (my money is always on Picard. You want to serve on the ship with a guy who can talk his way out of any situation).

That's why you should never, or rarely, use technobabble. Trek is about exploration. Not necessarily technology. City on the Edge of Forever? Balance of Terror? Star Trek II? Identity Crisis. Far Beyond the Stars. The Visitor. Heck, even Lolani.

These episodes all function on the crux of a character making decisions based on emotion or personal logic. They used their brains in order to further the story. It's because a character was a bit more wily or a little smarter or acted differently. It wasn't because a character made the tech do the tech.

It's because Spock made the call that nothing else could fix the ship unless he went in there and did the thingy with his hands. You never questioned the logic of it, you just knew that it had to be done.

When you're writing your fan film, ask yourself, "Are my characters making active decisions?" or "Are my characters making the tech make the active decision?"

TLDNR: Technobabble=bad. Your characters are smart, so use their personal abilities to fix the problem.
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