Three things I learned from Gravity, the movie

I watched Gravity with Sandra Bullock last night and here are a few takeaways.

First off, I know that most people go to watch movies for the entertainment value derived from it. I get that. But most writers watch for information from the screenwriter. Clues and cues on how to do it. At least that is what I think.

I watched Gravity with a warning from my daughter that it was a total nail-biter. And she wasn’t kidding. The writers put the character’s butt up in a tree (a space station actually) and set proverbial bears loose to climb it.

If you want to write an action-packed book, one with relentless tension, this movie is a good one to watch.

These are the points I am making:

* Setting *
From the opening scene we know that we are out in space but not too far out because as David Bowie put it, Planet Earth is blue and there’s nothing we can do…the scene is set in the not-so-far away space where lies the ISS or International Space Station. Imagine being that far away from home and yet so close. The cinematography in this film is amazeballs. Writers, make the setting so damn real people forget they are reading a book.

* Character *
The movie is nearly all Bullock. She is the main one in danger, the main one we root for all throughout. And she’s almost totally helpless against dangers in space. At least for a time. Writers, if you want to see how a character changes from wimpy to whumpass, watch this flick.

* Dialog *
Well, I thought this was a little lacking, but considering that the most important conversations happen with Houston-in the first little while- you can overlook the lack. Not much needs to be said because the character’s actions speak loudly. When Bullock says, No no no no NO NO NO! Your blood pressure skyrockets right along with hers. Writers, make the character’s motivations and actions fit together and make them matter.

Oh yeah, did I tell you it was only 1.5 hours long? And I couldn’t stand pausing it to even go relieve myself or check on the dog who was scratching at the door. So, first you guys, GO GET THE MOVIE, and second, make notes the second time you watch it. The first time, you will be too busy chewing off your nails.

About master

Kim Smith is the author of Disk of Death, The Dread Room, Love Inn, and An Unexpected Performance.

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