What is to be said of George Polti’s 36 Dramatic Situations except that the number, though even, is odd.
Actually, 36 is not quite accurate, as each situation is broken down into sub-groups. Whatever the number, it is clear that Polti (born in Rhode Island and moved to Paris) wanted his generation to see some opportunity in the more negelected dramatic situations. He hoped situations such as “Being Upon the Point of Slaying a Daugh- ter Unknowingly, by Command of a Divinity or an Oracle” or “A Fatherland Destroyed” or “Hatred of Grandfather for Grandson” could find a modern expression. He wrote:
Such an examination, which requires only patience, will show first the list of combinations (situations and their classes and sub-classes) at present ignored, and which remain to be exploited in contemporaneous art, second,how these may be adapted.
Ambitious (desperate) writers will do their best to make the most of Polit’s catalog. But I will tell you there is far too little written on his wikipedia page. Anyone sad that all the good entries have been written should scramble to their nearest university library.
Besides the fact that this was shot on an iPhone, Tangerine directed by Sean Baker (@lilfilm) is proof that simple stories can still be intriguing, especially if they are given original, under-represented characters. Rated R in the most R sense of the word, so be warned.
Even with a DSLR, we would have ended up having extra crew members, and I would have had to find certain lenses, which I just didn’t have the budget for. So what we did is just start looking at iPhone experiments on Vimeo, and we were very impressed by what we found. We realized that, instead of spending money on the equipment, we could put the money on screen on things like locations and having extras.
One way of appreciating the style of a writer is to consider what they have not written. Just as we may judge a scene for its content, we may also judge a scene for what has been omitted and the power that comes from the absence of information. For this I have to think of chapter five of The Great Gatsby in which the narrator Nick Carraway hosts the first meeting in five years between Daisy and Jay Gatsby.
This is one of my favorite techniques. It was employed by W.G. Sebald in The Emigrants. It is used to drift from one 1st person point of view into another 1st person point of view. And it’s not as simple as it sounds. For one thing, he doesn’t use quotation marks to demarcate dialogue. Also, paragraphs come rather infrequently, so it’s not as simple as indenting. He uses a couple of techniques to do this. Here’s one:
Here is a technique for the representation of foreign speech chosen by Hemingway in For Whom the Bell Tolls. Not often imitated, it is notable for its unconventional and mixed methodologies including 1) Archaisms, 2) Anglicization or direct translation of idiomatic elements, 3) Italicized foreign words.
Here’s an example:
As they came up, still deep in the shadows of the pines, after dropping down from the high meadow into the wooden valley and climbing up it on a trail that paralleled the stream and then left it to gain, steeply, the top of a rim-rock formation formation, a man with a carbine stepped out from behind a tree.
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