[MUD-Dev] Ownership

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Thu Jun 13 23:55:05 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

On Thu 13 Jun, Damion Schubert wrote:
>  From Marian Griffith

This really is an old argument and thus severely beaten into the
mud on numerous occasions...

>> Simply because it is far easier to evoke emotions using a few
>> words where it takes a lot of footage to do the same with images.
>> Simply because here your imagination works for you, where the
>> movie must show you.  Lovecraft was a master at this, but much of
>> the stylistic tools he uses in his prose do not translate well,
>> if at all, to movies.  It is easier to make a text-based mud with
>> a Lovecraft theme than it is to create a graphical one.

> I would disagree strongly with this.  It is much easier to elicit
> strong emotions from movies than from words.  Movies have full
> control over the experience, whereas a book can be put down.
> Movies flood your two most imaginative senses: sight and sound.
> Books require your brain to reverse engineer the words an author
> is written.  Books can describe things that cannot be put on film,
> but movies can use camera motion, filters, effects and whatnot to
> create visual sequences that would be nigh- impossible to recreate
> in all of their glory.

You can just as well put down a movie.  E.g. by closing your eyes,
by leaving the theatre,  or by being distracted by  that fat bloke
in front of you who keeps shouting boo everytime he disagrees with
the plot.

More so,  sight and sound are perhaps the most imaginative senses,
but they are easily beaten by imagination. Our reasoning abilities
are largely controlled by our language abilities. I.e. we think in
words to a large extent.  This means that words provide a very di-
rect path to our thoughts. We respond more directly to senses, but
only for (relatively) primitive reactions: threat, sex, hunger and
things like that.

The phrase "She was beautiful" stimulates my imagination to produ-
ce an image of a beautiful woman. If the actress who is chosen for
the part does not fit my notions of beauty then the meaning of the
phrase is lost in the image.  Pictures *show*  so they can not use
the imagination of every individual member of the audience to fill
in the dots in their personal matter. All emotions in Titanic were
destroyed for me because I found Leo DiC insufferable. With a book
and a skilled writer  that would not have happened  because then I
would have supplied my *own* ideas,  which would be different from
yours, no doubt,  but would be perfectly valid for me.  One of the
things about writing prose  is that you must supply sufficient de-
tails that the reader can get immersed,  but not so much that they
get in the way of reader imagination.

If you want a scary monster in a film  you tend to get  either the
alien-clone  with lots of saliva,  or the skin-less monster clone,
or the shark clone,  or you are bombarded with shock effects  (and
frequently all of the above).  I deliberately used Lovecraft as an
example of  how writing  can invoke emotions  and thoughts  that a
picture or movie can not, because he made clever use of words that
relied on the reader to fill in  the gruesome details.  It is hard
work,  for a movie,  to portray "a sense of evil hung around him".
To do it you will have to bombard the audience with cliches, alter
the music score to be vaguely threatening and use any other number
of visual tricks just to show to the viewer that a certain charac-
ter is easy.  Often the script includes  such a character explici-
tely doing  something horrible  to underscore the evilness  of the
character,  and at the same time  to provide a little shock effect
for the same purpose.  This does not mean it can not be done,  but
you are looking at  lots of work,  likely at least an entire scene
(i.e. a minute of valuable movie time),  devoted to  what in words
is not even  half a line of printed text.  For this purpose  words
are more efficient and effective.  To really describe a location a
picture is obviously a better choice.

> Not good writers often result in me reading a book
> and only absorbing the dialogue and other changing elements, as all
> of their backdrop is unconvincing and not worth absorbing in detail.

Of course there are many bad writers, but the same is true for bad
script writers, and bad directors, and just plain bad movies. That
does not prove anything  either way.  It just says that it takes a
lot of skill to effectively evoke emotions with words.

> Maybe at some point we're just better off saying we're comparing
> apples to oranges, and we should move on. =)

Well, yes :)

Yes - at last - You. I Choose you. Out of all the world,
out of all the seeking, I have found you, young sister of
my heart! You are mine and I am yours - and never again
will there be loneliness ...

Rolan Choosing Talia,
Arrows of the Queen, by Mercedes Lackey

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