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Author Topic: Inception and how you write a great story  (Read 1762 times)

Offline Yora

Inception and how you write a great story
« on: March 16, 2015, 04:50:01 PM »
Really wasn't quite sure if I should put it here or in the Writer's Corner section, but since it probably doesn't mean anything to people who havn't see it I went with doing it here.

I was just thinking about a funny quote from my favorite movie Inception, and it occured to me that in addition to the joke there is probably a piece of very good and very well considered writing advice in it.
It's easy to miss when you watch it once or twice, but once someone points it out, it's really obvious that the whole movie is not about heists or dreams, but really just about storytelling. (Don't tell the audience what they are supposed to think and learn, make them come to the conclusion themselves. Don't take too many liberties with the rules of the world, or the audience gets reminded that its all made up and then reject the fiction. Really, the whole movie is like that.)

The quote is:
Quote
Ariadne: And why don't you approve?
Arthur: Because it involves telling the mark that he's dreaming. Which involves attracting a lot of attention to us.
Ariadne: Didn't Cobb say never to do that?
Arthur: So now you've noticed how much time Cobb spends doing things he says never to do.

All the characters in the movie stand for the different members of a film making team (with the man they trying to trick representing for the audience), and the character Cobb represents Nolan himself as the director and scriptwriter. And through the first half of the movie Cobb/Nolan explains how you tell a good story well and also points out what things are dangerous as they risk losing the audience.
And I think the line "So now you've noticed how much time Cobb spends doing things he says never to do." is not just a joke. Because in the end, breaking lots of the rules works out very well for them.

Perhaps it's even the most important line in the whole movie. Know the rules, understand the rules, but trust your instinct when you think it might be a good idea to break them.
Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor

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Offline Raptori

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Re: Inception and how you write a great story
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2015, 05:00:49 PM »
Interesting perspective on the film, will have to watch again with that in mind to see what difference it makes  :P

Incidentally, I always wondered whether Inception was inspired by a couple of lines in The Matrix:

Quote from: Morpheus
Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?
I wish the world was flat like the old days, then I could travel just by folding a map.

Offline ArcaneArtsVelho

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Re: Inception and how you write a great story
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2015, 05:21:28 PM »
Very perceptive of you, Yora!

I really have to watch that one again, since the first time most of the plot twists went over my head. ???


Quote from: Morpheus
How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?

Well, you spin a top and watch whether it keeps spinning or not, obviously.  ;)
Everything I wrote above is pure conjecture. I don't know what I'm talking about.

I'm a perfectionist but not very good at anything. That's why I rarely finish things.

Offline Yora

Re: Inception and how you write a great story
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2015, 05:36:54 PM »
Quote from: Morpheus
Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?
I don't think so. That was what I expected when I first saw the movie, but the only one who ever struggles with this is Cobb and only towards the very ending. It's always made very clear which dream is which one and nobody ever gets lost. (Except the first time Ariadne did a shared dream and that was quickly resolved.)

I didn't figure it out myself, but once somebody has given you the hint, it really is very obvious.

Spoiler for Hiden:
Cobb is the Director, having the whole idea.
Arthur is the Producer, doing the whole managment work.
Ariadne is Skript Writer, planning all the scenes.
Ames is the Actor, interacting with Fisher (and also doing all the cool action scenes)
Saito is Production Studio, making an order for a story and providing the money and resources.
Yusuf is Special Effects, providing the technology required to make the project work.*
Fisher is the Audience, getting told a story that the film makers want him to believe in.

Not sure what Cobbs wife stands for, though.

*The coolest special effect happened when Yusuf had the van roll over. And when it landed back on its wheels, he asks "Did you see what I just did?", but then realizes everyone is sleeping (watching the movie).
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Offline Raptori

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Re: Inception and how you write a great story
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2015, 06:11:02 PM »
Quote from: Morpheus
Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?
I don't think so. That was what I expected when I first saw the movie, but the only one who ever struggles with this is Cobb and only towards the very ending. It's always made very clear which dream is which one and nobody ever gets lost. (Except the first time Ariadne did a shared dream and that was quickly resolved.)
I meant more the general idea - knowing the difference between the dream world and the real world is one of the central ideas of the film, all the rest could easily have grown from that :)

I didn't figure it out myself, but once somebody has given you the hint, it really is very obvious.

Spoiler for Hiden:
Cobb is the Director, having the whole idea.
Arthur is the Producer, doing the whole managment work.
Ariadne is Skript Writer, planning all the scenes.
Ames is the Actor, interacting with Fisher (and also doing all the cool action scenes)
Saito is Production Studio, making an order for a story and providing the money and resources.
Yusuf is Special Effects, providing the technology required to make the project work.*
Fisher is the Audience, getting told a story that the film makers want him to believe in.

Not sure what Cobbs wife stands for, though.

*The coolest special effect happened when Yusuf had the van roll over. And when it landed back on its wheels, he asks "Did you see what I just did?", but then realizes everyone is sleeping (watching the movie).
Yeah that does make sense. Don't think I'd have ever got it, since I don't really pay much attention to the people behind a film  :D
I wish the world was flat like the old days, then I could travel just by folding a map.

Offline Yora

Re: Inception and how you write a great story
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2015, 06:39:39 PM »
That's what makes it such a great film. Even if you don't discover the creators intention, it's still a good story that entertains.
Which is kind of the point of Inception: Don't tell the audience what you want them to get out of the story.
Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor

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