Crunch the Accordion

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Creative writing to increase pace in a scene

Creative writing to increase pace
Leave out detail to increase pace

On TV I once saw an actor having to re-shoot a scene because she wasn’t running correctly down a hill. The director explained to her that when played back it would look like she was running too fast. This was strange, she was running for her life. Apparently, it has to do with the frame rate at which the camera captures images; 33 frames per second I’m guessing. It intrigued me I suppose because I remember it. And it makes sense. Jam fewer frames per second and play it back at normal speed and the image speeds up, more frames and it slows. Steve Austin always looked strange running fast by slowing

down his speed (the sound effects made up for it). Then again, running very fast would have looked comical.

To increase pace in a scene a similar technique is used.

Crunch the accordion

And you can liken it to an accordion. Expand the bellows by increasing the volume of air and slow the music down (In my mind this is how an accordion works. I understand it might not be the case. If I’m wrong, this is my story). More words, or more aptly, more detailed description tends to slow things down. You can ease back and absorb the detail.

Today I needed to slow a few scenes. The previous two were running fast so I needed a change of pace. I added some additional information, broke up dialogue and focused on the environment my character found himself in. But the music wants to play. There’s the build up. The coming of speed and action. Squeeze the bellows. Strike out words. Keep it short. Move. Run!


Also published on Medium.