Craft Chat Action scenes (movies, but...)

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Ed Simnett

Full Member
Jul 25, 2021
Hong Kong
I thought this was quite an interesting video on how moves have changed the way they shoot action scenes. It bears on how one might think about writing them.

I remember my early efforts to write an aerial dogfight caused people (who you ask? ;-)) to cry head hopping, when in my nvho I was trying to create exactly the effect of being in the action and it being somewhat confused.

I would summarize the video as observing that action scenes used to be "omniscient" (wide angle/see everything), Bourne started as third limited with some omniscient thrown in and got crazier and now we are at head hopping/confusing for modern action movies trying to imitate Bourne, and worse- we are using cuts to create effects rather than speed things up or emphasize.

All this is quite counter to Lee Child (and Tom Clancy et al?), who "write the slow parts fast and the fast parts slow".

One thing I am musing on is the way Bourne doesn't use music. Action scenes gets sound effects only. I think that might suggest starker/clearer writing, or perhaps a increased emphasis in describing the sounds of a scene.
What stuck with me from the video, from the point of view as a writer, was the movie-goer experiencing the action rather than just observing it. For me, that is the key to getting increased involvement from the reader. Getting punched in the head is a very different experience than watching someone else get punched in the head.
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Some of this new style might have a lot to do with our shorter and shorter attention spans. Look at the kids on TikTok. They scroll on to the next influencer within three seconds on average.
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