Time-Lock Post

“Time Lock” is a Dramatica term. I’ve never fully embraced Dramatica–mostly because it’s confusing to learn, and I like the mode of story analysis that they use at my spelunking school–but I like the term “time lock,” which means–roughly–that a tension in the story will have to resolve at a certain point, because there is a deadline: The guy in Strangers on a Train has to get to the psycho who’s trying to frame him for murder before sunset, because once it gets dark the psycho can plant his pen (was it a pen?) at the murder site. Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck in Armageddon have a limited amount of time to blow up the asteroid before it enters the earth’s atmosphere. Like that.

My time lock for this post is the red bar on the computer battery. Whenever this ends, you will know the battery has run out.
Today I saw two and 3/4 movies and a play. The films were: Mirage, most of Aliens, and The Island. The first was for my thriller class, because it’s a thriller, and we screened it in class; the second was for the workshop I’m going to teach, because it’s in conjunction with International Day of the Woman, and I want to show a scene where a woman is a bad-ass; and the third was for research, since the new script I’m outlining involves a clone. (The play had no far-reaching motive–a friend invited me and had a free ticket.)
I’ve notice lately that often when I tell someone I’m writing something with clone, even before I say much about characters or plot, they say, “It sounds like The Island. ” or “It sounds like Moon” or ‘It sounds like Never Let Me Go.”
I’m always happy to hear suggestions of movies that bear some similarity to something I’m working on, or might inform the same subject matter in some way, but I can’t help but bristle when the response is too reflexive and dismissive-sounding.
If you say you have a movie whose protagonist is in jail, I will try to refrain from automatically firing a barrage of “It sounds like The Rock,” “It sounds like Shawshank Redemption,” “It sounds like Cool Hand Luke” at you. This is because I don’t think you are a moron, therefore I will listen to two or maybe even three more sentences before jumping to the conclusion that you plan to spend the next six months of your life replicating The Green Mile, just because it was the first film to pop into my head when you said the word “jail.”

Time’s up… I actually cheated and plugged in just for a minute, just so I could finish that last paragraph. G’night!
UPDATE: 1) Finished Aliens yesterday: Wow, that Paul Reiser character was a TOOL. If someone tried to impregnate me with an alien for profit I would be soooo mad! 2) Working on my Second Act outline–actually, maybe my movie DOES sound like The Island. Damn.

3 thoughts on “Time-Lock Post

  1. My reaction is usually, "That sounds like Parts: the Clonus Horror, but I'm weird like that.I also like Dramatica's time-lock/option-lock idea, and the concept of an "impact character," but the rest confuses the bejebus out of me.

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