Friday, August 03, 2007

The Logic Gap

Those I've been giving notes to will recognise that phrase well! An extreme [and fictitous!] example - A guy gets a breakfast flight from London to New York. A few scenes later he's back in London in time to pick his son up from school.

Logically, that's not going to happen. But it's the kind of thing that can easily creep into a script if you aren't on the look out. It may sound petty. And if you got a note like that you might think ''What the hell? Does it matter ?''

The answer is it really does. Logic gaps can kill you stone dead. Suspension of disbelief is the hold you have over the audience. But that hold is tenuous and is very easily broken. Logic gaps stand out like an erection in a convent.

That logic gap might mean nothing to most of the audience but a great deal to others. For example, a show I watched recently had a British girl announce she was going to work as a sales assistant in a shop ......... in America. Ummmmmmm no. I'm afraid the INS aren't going to allow that to happen. ''Sales assistant'' figures lower than whale crap in the list of occupations likely to get a work visa. Granted I may have noticed that more because I wrote the fucking episode. But not that particular line!

Bang! I was out of the story. Just like that. Okay that was a research matter more than a logic matter. But the same thing applies. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those writers who has to know everything about everything I write about. I make shit up all the time. But I hope it's logical shit.

And the thing is, many of these logic gaps do make it to the screen, essentially because they are not picked up early enough.

The writer is so close to the script they don't see it. The editor has different proplems with the script and doesn't notice. The producer is more concerned with snaffling an actor for the lead and budget problems. The director is busy looking at motivation and scene construction and location. The actors are......well.... actors. lol

So as well as your Character pass, and dialogue pass and action pass, I'd also throw in a logic pass.

Thanks to all who sent scripts. I'm nearing the end of the current batch now so if any one else fancies a read from a pro, now's the time.


Phill Barron said...

One of my favourite logic gaps is 'The Empire Strikes Back' - just how long does it take to train to be a Jedi?

Exactly the same time as it takes to fly from Hoth to Bespin, apparently.

Yoda says Luke isn't ready - he slips off, has his hand chopped off and comes back - Yoda tells him there's no more training. So that's ... what? A week maybe? A couple of days?

And yet, in 'The Phantom Plot', Yoda thinks Anakin is too old ot be taught. I guess he either really lowered his standards over the years or he managed to boil his teaching down to a few very choice words.

Jaded and Cynical said...

It's funny the impact those niggly little details can have.

It's not a logic flaw as such, but I never fell in love with The West Wing because, while I could believe America might elect an intellectual as President, I couldn't believe they'd elect one as short as Martin Sheen.

Phill Barron said...

I had a similar problem with 'Love Actually' I've never seen a politician as good looking as Hugh Grant.

English Dave said...

''I had a similar problem with 'Love Actually' I've never seen a politician as good looking as Hugh Grant.''

Oh I don't know. Im my youth I had a crush on Virginia Bottemly. lol

Xấu zai said...

Finance recruitment agencyNew York hair extensions salonsExactly the same time as it takes to fly from Hoth to Bespin, apparently.