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The Destructiveness of Formulaic Screenwriting
Robert McKee: That there are \r\ncertain points, certain pages in fact, in which certain things must \r\nhappen. You got 120 pages—although screenplays are getting shorter, \r\nbecause the emphasis on spectacle becomes greater and greater... And so,\r\n anyways, say 100 pages. And properly typed in the right format, a page\r\n is equal to a minute of time. And so they say, at a certain page, \r\ntherefore at a certain minute, more or less in the film, there must be a\r\n major turning point of some kind, or expositional point, a revelation \r\nof some kind perhaps. And that the worst advice is to—many, many books \r\nthat say certain events must happen at certain pages in a screenplay. I\r\n mean, that is the most destructive possible thing to say to a young \r\nwriter. And to actually destroy a young talent by actually convincing \r\nhim that he has to pretzel his work into these page counts, that is just\r\n terrible.
But there is a rhythm, and in order to reach \r\nanything like a satisfying limit of experience for these characters, \r\ngenerally, you need a minimum of three major reversals. Okay? And you \r\nspread those... it could be four or five, I mean “Raiders of the Lost \r\nArk” was in seven acts. It could be seven, eight, nine acts structures,\r\n I mean in “Speed,” if you counted the major reversals in a chase film \r\nlike “Speed” or whatever, it's probably nine. Every ten minutes \r\nsomething explosive happens. Right? But three is a minimum. And if \r\nthe film is, again, 100 minutes long, and you’re going to space those \r\nthree out in some kind of fashion, then clearly one of these is going to\r\n happen, perhaps at the very beginning. There may be another one \r\nsomewhere in the middle and maybe one toward the end, or it could be the\r\n first one happens like 30 minutes in, and the next one happens like 90 \r\nminutes in, or whatever. Okay, so you can have, obviously if they have \r\n100 minutes of storytelling, you can’t have three major events happen, \r\nbang, bang, bang, in the first 15 minutes and then leave 75 minutes \r\nworth of resolution. Okay? Nor can you make somebody sit there for 75 \r\nminutes in which nothing happens and then bang, bang, bang three things \r\nhappen in the last 15 minutes. So, obviously these events have to be \r\ndistributed with a certain rhythm. Exactly what that rhythm is, is so \r\nidiosyncratic to the nature of the story that is being told that you \r\ncannot predict, or demand that they happen on certain pages, but you can\r\n point out to the writer, of course that there is a rhythm and that you \r\nhave to hook the audience’s interest, hold it, and progress it for up to\r\n 120 minutes, two hours, even more in many films. And to do that you’ll\r\n need at least three major reversals and then you’ve got to work out how\r\n to distribute them.
So, there’s certain forms. There’s a \r\nform, but by the page is a formula, and that formula kind of thinking is\r\n very destructive.
Don't try to put plot points on specific page numbers, says the screenwriting guru.
- Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
Bacteria under microscope
needpix.com<p>Today, bubonic plague can be treated effectively with antibiotics.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Unlike in the 14th century, we now have an understanding of how this disease is transmitted," Dr. Shanthi Kappagoda, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care, told <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">Healthline</a>. "We know how to prevent it — avoid handling sick or dead animals in areas where there is transmission. We are also able to treat patients who are infected with effective antibiotics, and can give antibiotics to people who may have been exposed to the bacteria [and] prevent them [from] getting sick."</p>
This plague patient is displaying a swollen, ruptured inguinal lymph node, or buboe.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<p>Still, hundreds of people develop bubonic plague every year. In the U.S., a handful of cases occur annually, particularly in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/plague/faq/index.html" target="_blank">where habitats allow the bacteria to spread more easily among wild rodent populations</a>. But these cases are very rare, mainly because you need to be in close contact with rodents in order to get infected. And though plague can spread from human to human, this <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">only occurs with pneumonic plague</a>, and transmission is also rare.</p>
A new swine flu in China<p>Last week, researchers in China also reported another public health concern: a new virus that has "all the essential hallmarks" of a pandemic virus.<br></p><p>In a paper published in the <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/06/23/1921186117" target="_blank">Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</a>, researchers say the virus was discovered in pigs in China, and it descended from the H1N1 virus, commonly called "swine flu." That virus was able to transmit from human to human, and it killed an estimated 151,700 to 575,400 people worldwide from 2009 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p>There's no evidence showing that the new virus can spread from person to person. But the researchers did find that 10 percent of swine workers had been infected by the virus, called G4 reassortant EA H1N1. This level of infectivity raises concerns, because it "greatly enhances the opportunity for virus adaptation in humans and raises concerns for the possible generation of pandemic viruses," the researchers wrote.
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Times of crisis tend to increase self-centered acts.