Monday, July 27, 2009

Speculations: The First and Last Minutes

Here's an exercise that won't require you to write too much, but it will be one that will require you to think a little. You need to find a movie that you have never ever seen before, and then you need to rent that movie, buy it, or borrow it. You also need a stopwatch, pen, and paper. This is also important: You need to NOT know the story of the movie, and you need to NOT read the movie's summary.

You need to watch the first minute of the movie. Time yourself using the stopwatch. Next, fast forward the movie all the way to last minute. You can do this by going to the credits and then backtracking. You can watch the first two minutes or the last minute, since you might not be able to estimate the last minute correctly.

Now that you have the beginning and the end of the movie, you can start speculating. What happened in the middle? How did the movie's beginning lead to the end? Start writing this story out, but take no more than 5 minutes to tell it. You don't have to use the characters' names. You can just say GIRL 1 or BOY 1 or whatever you wish to call them.

Next, you need to watch the movie. Take down notes on the story and try to tell the story in your own words. When the movie is finished and you have completed your story, put your story and the movie's story side by side. Which one is better? How are the stories different? Were there things that you didn't expect to see?

This exercise should help you realize what your own biases might be, and how great a role expectation plays in how you rate or watch movies. This exercise can also help you critique a movie's plot line by concentrating on what happened, how it happened, and what twists the movie's story might have. Happy speculating and happy watching!

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