Inneresting #112 - The Importance of Seeing Objects
How props help tell a story.
It’s not just stuff
The Meaning of the Object - Jonathan W. Stokes presents The Objective Correlative, showing how objects track a character’s dramatic arc.
Transferring the Meaning - Rishi Kaneria shares a meditation on how seeing actors interact with props creates a connection with the audience.
Finding the Right Things - Hadley DesMeules speaks with property master Ellen Freund about searching for the everday items that complete a character.
Examples in Action - Ciara Wardlow details how Christopher Nolan’s films use props to strengthen key emotional moments. Donato Totaro examines the use of significant props in Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing. Thrillist collects the backstory behind 100 iconic movie props.
Exercise: The Hot Object
Actor and teacher Nina Foch used an exercise where students shared a personal memento. The prompt forced people to look at how an object tells a story both in what it is and what it means to the person holding it.
As Randal Kleiser explains:
“The Hot Object exercise is intended to teach students the power of partnering first-hand. Hot Objects are personal items that mean something to the student. A Hot Object can be as small as a stamp, or as large as whatever you can carry to class. The important part of the Hot Object is that it have meaning to the student.
To start the Hot Object exercise, have the student describe the object. As Nina would say, have them “reeeeally look at it.” The student will start off with the obvious, but as they run out of things to say, they will look for more aspects of the object, turning it over in their hands, finding things about it that they themselves have never seen. When it was clear that the student was immersed in the object’s physicality, Nina would softly say, “reminisce.”
At this point, the student starts talking about their experience with the object. Now that they have really looked at the object anew, they will have partnered with it, and the difference in their demeanor is astonishing. This exercise is a clear demonstration in the power of partnering. Speaking about their memories of an object they have demonstrated an intense bond with creates a spell over the entire class. Years later, many of Nina’s students might have forgotten each other’s last names, but rarely do they forget a Hot Object.”
Is there an object important to your story, or a character you’re writing? What could you learn from taking time to look deeply at that object?
No one dies harder than John McClane
Die Hard is the story of a man’s attempts to confront his fragile masculinity so he can support his wife’s climb up the corporate ladder. It’s also about a barefoot cop waging a solo fight against a team of international criminals.
This week in the Writer Emergency blog, we take a look at ways the story keeps the cavalry from riding to McClane’s rescue.
We break down key moments from early in the film with tips from Writer Emergency Pack card #22: Lose The Cavalry.
Likes & Retweets
Previously on Inneresting…
In case you missed it, in last issue’s most clicked link Joe Fassler summarizes the best writing advice from 150 authors.
Other Inneresting Things
Reader Dave Merson Hess recommends Aaron Swartz’s “HOWTO: Be more productive” to learn about training your mind to find fun in necessary tasks.
Alan Burdick looks at how what we look at changes our perception of time.
Tamlin Magee talks to 90s electronic music makers about the beat-making power of the Amiga 500.
And that’s what’s inneresting this week! If you’re new to us, welcome! We hope you’ll subscribe and join us again next week.
Inneresting is edited by Chris Csont, with contributions from the entire Quote-Unquote team.