stretchin' out them stories!
I think I first heard the phrase “uncompressed storytelling” via the great John Byrne, comic artist and writer, and man of very strong opinions. He was criticizing some other writer or comic series (I don't remember which one) about hinting at stories that wouldn't pay off - wouldn't even start delivering - for many months or even years to come.
Stephen King mentioned the concept in a recent article, too: he was talking about the idea of adaptations of books now being adapted into series as opposed to standalone movies.
In a series, there is more time to cover things more fully, and maybe not having to be so ruthless with reaching a 90 or 120 minutes runtime. Very handy for adapting a full-bodied novel and being able to include a lot more of the content in the screen adaptation.
The downside is that too much freedom and too much time can lead to including TOO much stuff and boring the viewers. Sometimes the editing shears are good to have!
I don't know if there's a science to pacing. There probably is but I think a lot of it comes down to taste. Sometimes a slower pace at certain parts is what you need to inform the audience without throwing too much at them - or to let the characters react to what's been happening before shooting off to the next big plot thing. And sometimes you need to pick things up and get moving to avoid people tuning out!
Knowing when to end a chapter, or a scene - there's surely a craft to it, and rules you can follow, or break.
To tie this in to my Walking Dead rewatch, I've hit the point where I think it's better as a binge watch. It's about midway through season 3.
Back in the day, viewers complained that after the short and intense season one, things got way too slow in the following seasons.
I don't agree - I really liked the slower pace and character stuff in season 2. Not a whole bunch happened, but I really appreciated the chance to know the characters a little better, and really start to care about the core group. That's what's given that show its longevity.
But a few shows into season 3, I noticed I was watching two episodes at a time, or even three if I could. I remember I'd done the same thing years ago, when I first watched the show. The pace of story seemed to stretch across multiple episodes before I felt some satisfaction, story-wise. I can understand why people would be frustrated seeing only one show a week at this point.
And I remember that a season or two later, it becomes even more stretched out or uncompressed.
I think this gave the “soap opera” feeling that some viewers began to get.
Better as a binge, I'll say it again!
Webcomics, if they're story oriented as opposed to gags, are slower paced by their nature. Do you ever have issues with that, as a writer/creator or reader? Or is it the way you like to read webcomics? How about pacing issues with other things you read, watch or play?
Have a good one!
Banes at 12:00AM, Nov. 5, 2020
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