Bumps & slides

Come here to ask questions or give advice about the theory that forms the basis of Dramatica.
dietelco
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Joined: May 09, 2008 12:21 am

Bumps & slides

Postby dietelco » Jun 16, 2009 7:40 am

hi all,

I had emailed Chris about this; and he very kindly explained it with much patience...I liked especially his analogy about a tennis match. I checked out the dramatica books via the dramatica help files...

however, all i see are checkered boxes and even more checkered boxes in [i]colour[/i. :?

could anyone be so kind as to explain how bumps and slides work in more popular movies? can bumps & slides work up and down varying degrees of resolution? (ie. act level, scene level, sequence level...even down to a beat level?)

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Chris Huntley
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Re: Bumps & slides

Postby Chris Huntley » Jun 17, 2009 2:38 pm

Bumps and slides do occur at every level, within every quad explored temporally. HOWEVER, the software only shows you the temporal, 1-2-3-4 progression of the Types in each of the four throughlines.

The best way I can describe bumps and slides is by how they feel in a story. A bump transition is noticeable. A slide transition is gradual and often goes un-noticed.

For example, the bump-slide-bump "Z" or "N" pattern represents the traditional three-act structure. A short first act, a long middle act (which is really two acts with a slide connecting them), followed by a short third act. Movies that fit this pattern include Witness, The Fugitive (hmm, both Harrison Ford movies), Harold and Maude, and much of Chinatown.

The bump-bump-bump "U" pattern represents the episodic story structure. Each of the four acts are felt as separate, but sequential, pieces of the story. Movies that fit this pattern (more or less) include All About Eve, The Godfather, The Verdict, and Taxi Driver.

The third pattern is the slide-bump-slide "X" pattern, which represents the typical "rise and fall" story structure. The first half of the story flows along, hits the midpoint, and noticeably goes off in a different direction. Movies that fit this pattern include To Kill A Mockingbird (where there is even a time change in the middle), Barefoot in the Park, The Crucible, Hamlet, and Rain Man.

What makes this more complex and nuanced, is that each throughline has a pattern. All four throughlines will NEVER be the same -- at least one will be different. Three of the four throughlines in Witness and The Fugitive are Z patterns, with the MC/IC Relationship throughlines as X patterns. That is why the "three-act structure" is felt so prominently. Even though the Overall Story throughline is an U [episodic] pattern in To Kill A Mockingbird, the three remaining throughlines are the X [rise-and-fall] pattern which really emphasizes the midpoint act turn.

By contrast, Lawrence of Arabia has a U [episodic] pattern for the Overall Story throughline, with the other three throughlines as a Z [3-Act] pattern. The story feels episodic more than three-act because the Overall Story throughline is heavily emphasized.

Chinatown and The Godfather are quite complex when you look at all four throughlines together. Chinatown has two Z (OS and IC), one X (MC/IC), and one U (MC) pattern. The Godfather has two U (OS and MC), one X (IC), and one Z (MC/IC) pattern. That is one of the reasons they "feel" complex.
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dietelco
Published Writer
Posts: 43
Joined: May 09, 2008 12:21 am

Re: Bumps & slides

Postby dietelco » Jun 18, 2009 6:10 am

...I guess, Trust your feelings, Luke, would be the most apt response? hee... :wink:


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