The Same Things We See

One thing I seriously enjoy is seeing someone break down the formulas we consistently see but may not be aware of because of how much we see them. I don’t think I can explain it better than simply referring you to this Cracked video detailing similarities we see in movie trailers:

The reason I love seeing things like this is because I find it funny how we can get so barraged by these formulas and we can begin to see them as so “normal” that it maybe doesn’t occur to us the formula is being used. This is something we also see in storytelling, with The Hero’s Journey being a wonderful example of formulaic storytelling.

Now, I’m not saying that following a formula is a bad thing. It can get annoying sometimes, especially if you can consistently recognize it and see the predictability of it, but the fact that you’re following a formula doesn’t make your work bad. After all, if someone can make a better Hero’s Journey tale than the original Star Wars, I’m all for that and I’ll be in line to see it. So it’s certainly not a bad thing. But I guess what I’m trying to get across, and what I’m hoping you’ll take away from this as well as that Cracked video, is that it’s important to know the formula, not just so that you can follow it well, should you choose to apply it (God, I feel like I’m writing about a skin cream now), but also so that you know what the formula is should you choose to not follow it.

It’s like I say to people about writing: you must first learn the rules before you can thoughtfully break them. 😉


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