Why am I blogging this? This isn’t about screenwriting!
But it is. We imagine, and it becomes reality… Some day. Sometimes things exist only in theory or on the silver screen, like socialist utopias. Other things are just a matter of time. That, and the laws of physics, political bias or social acceptance.
Star Trek came out with flip phones and now they’re so 2005. We have smarter phones now!
We used to have windows. Not Microsoft, though I’m sure they’ll corner this market as well. I’m talking about those things attached to your house. Those quaint glass or plastic sheets we used to look out of to see the world outside.
Now it’s interactive! Welcome Minority Report!
New at the Consumer Electronics Show: the Samsung Smart Window. It may not be able to tell the future, but it can tell us the time, the temperature and what your twitter friends think about it.
There’s got to be a down side. Imagine being the first kid to fowl away in stickball and break one of these!
Technology is part of establishing the arena for any story, along with social stages and customs. It’s important for screenwriters to consider how society will develop, especially if you’re writing sci-fi, but even if you’re not.
If you’re writing a “current” story, it will be out dated by the time it’s produced. I remember writing a terrorist thriller with an outrageous concept: a drone fighter vaporizing human targets. But before I finished the first draft, the US military did exactly that, in Yemen. Or was it Syria?
Does it matter? It’s been done! Now I have to think of something even MORE outrageous, just to keep the story interesting.
This is also why I like writing period pieces. The arena is established and understood. Subverting the arena with fantastical elements, like monsters, or simply a unique perspective, allows us to gain a richer understanding of where we came from, how knowing more of our past (or alternate past) could effect our values today.
In a couple years, if anyone can afford the technology, we’ll look back on Minority Report, the Star Trek holodeck, the “second-life” of Avatar and the like and think, how quaint.