Exposition, writing, spoon feeding
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Arts Entertainment

TMI...More Like TME

TME, or Too Much Exposition. Exposition is needed within a film to explain the story, but more often than not, it becomes quite clunky and too much of a spoon-feeding tactic.

TMI...More Like TME


To begin, I am looking to approach these articles differently moving forward. Perhaps it was that I spent weeks writing about "The Walking Dead" and the "View Askew" films, and that much time on a single topic causes a lost luster. It doesn't help, either, that I haven't had the time to go to the theater and see anything new. Thus everything I wrote about has been older and written about times over (with a few exceptions).

That being said, I want to start having more focused articles. I want to write more topic based pieces, as this one will be. I want to write more pieces like my interview with 'John Doe;' I want to write articles that commentate more on what's current, be it entertainment related or news related. Thus, some of my articles may become more research-based and less comedic and opinion-based.

In that vein, I'd also like to attempt to write more fan-theory pages. "Wrapped In Plastic," the fanzine for "Twin Peaks" was the co-created by John Thorne, who encouraged his writers to find evidence within the show and film in order to prove their ideas. While this isn't the same as investigative journalism or as disciplined as journalism itself, it brings about more attention and provides a greater leg for a theory to stand on. I did some research with my "Heathers" fan-theory, but with future writings, I'll be taking that a step further.

I'm even thinking of writing some speculation pieces, maybe based on trailers for upcoming shows. As stated, I wrote for weeks about the walking dead series. I recently saw the trailer for the upcoming Ninth-Season. There are countless videos saturating Youtube about trailer breakdowns and theories with where the story will go moving forward. Look at the example above. Why not produce articles of a similar nature? That even falls somewhat in line with the idea of fan-theories.

In this approach, I'll be adding more variety to my page here at SNHU Odyssey. That, I believe, will help my writing improve, create a larger audience, and will create more engaging material. That's the ultimate goal here at Odyssey.

Now that that's out of the way enjoy my article "TMI...More Like TME"


If you type in "exposition" in a Google search, the first result is the offered definition: "a comprehensive description and explanation of an idea or theory." That doesn't sound like a bad thing. Afterall, how would a viewer understand what is going on in the film if things aren't explained? Why does he care about her? Why do they need to find this long-forgotten artifact? What's at stake here?

But there are different ways to approach this dilemma. In any writing class, the adage "Show, don't tell" or some variation of it is constantly uttered. And there's a reason for that. Vivid imagery is what makes reading enjoyable. It allows a reader to escape and become fully immersed within the story.

Obviously, you don't "read" a film, so any vivid imagery is left to the visuals. The main focus of a movie is the dialogue, at least in terms of writing. Done well, everything they say will feel natural, spontaneous, and not preconceived by a screenwriter. The dialogue will have an improvisational quality, meaning it will feel like the conversations we have every day; on the fly. When you speak to your coworkers, friends or family, you don't know how they will respond. Thus, everything you say in return is spontaneously decided upon after you hear their reply. Good screenwriting mimics this effect.

One of the best examples can be found in most Tarantino films. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of his work. I like "Reservoir Dogs," "Pulp Fiction," and "Inglorious Bastards," and that's pretty much it. But I can't take away that the guy knows how to write dialogue. He has a knack for unique cadence and speech.

Arguably, since Vince is explaining something, it could be construed as exposition. But he is giving away nothing about the plot, and he isn't giving away anything about his or Jules' characters, at least not directly.

This opening, minus the last 30 seconds, seems like it's just too friends, in a car talking about one's trip in Europe. They're laughing and its a light-hearted, funny scene. Then in the last 30 seconds, you realize, they're on their way to kill someone. You realize they're hit-men. But at no point is this directly said, it's all shown in the situation of the scene, while the dialogue gives us insight, while not directly, into their personalities. They're laid back, and comfortable with their lifestyle. Its a job, and they are unfazed by killing.

All of that becomes apparent, without spoon-feeding it to the audience. That's what makes good writing. The dialogue feels natural. And good exposition is little exposition. Things are inferred, and assumed, without being force-fed to the viewer. It shows, rather than tells. And that makes getting to know these characters much more enjoyable and allows a viewer to feel like a third passenger in the car during this conversation, rather than an idly viewer in their seat.

Here is an example of heavy exposition.

Is there anything wrong with this scene? No. I love "The Matrix." In fact, I'm one of the few people who actually like the second and third films as well. But from a writing perspective, this dialogue is borderline clunky and very spoon-feeding. Granted, given this type of film, a scene like this is necessary. Laurence Fishburne acts it perfectly. It's enjoyable to watch, engaging and pulls you in. But everything is being explained, told. Yes, some things are shown, but compare this to the "Pulp Fiction" scene, which one is more natural its explanation of things.

The scene from "The Matrix" is more or less, however, a good scene. But below, is the final example of exposition, when it's bad.

It may be enjoyable to see the visuals but the narration...flat out says everything, even commenting on things you're seeing.

Watch these scenes, and see which you think is the best example. Sure there are better examples that show bad exposition. Strictly on a paper, if you read the "Pulp Fiction" scene and "The Matrix" scene, the latter would clearly be an example of bad writing. But it is executed well, which is why the scene overall isn't that bad. And the "Ready Player One" scene isn't necessarily executed poorly but based on the three, its the most exposition heavy and in my opinion, exposition in this manner is a bad thing. I'd much prefer to see more writing that presents exposition in the same vein as "Pulp Fiction."

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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