Knowledge arc

Knowledge arc is something I have found useful while writing a script. I came across this idea from scriptfaze. Basically knowledge arc means plotting where your audience awareness stand at different points of your script.

I write my scripts in bits and pieces. Pieces of 20-30 minutes scattered through the day. Due to the lack of continuity in writing I am always at a loss in knowing where my (potential) reader or audience stands in terms of exposition or emotional state.

In knowledge arc you move event by event in your outline and plot out how much the audience know about the characters/plot along with their particular (expected) emotional situation for every point in the story. This helps because sometimes we invest unnecessary emotion or exposition in a scene which doesn’t work with the audience. It can occur either because the audience has already guessed that particular exposition or because the particular emotional note you are hitting is out of sync with what you have build up/not build up in the previous scenes.

In a thriller this technique can be really helpful. Today’s audience second guesses the writer at every point. It is tough to conserve the surprise element (without being ridiculous). A knowledge arc helps you to time the next feeding time for your audience.

Consider Aamir. Imagine that we develop a knowledge arc for that movie. You will realise that most can guess what the plan of the abductors of aamir’s family is, within around 10-20 minutes into the movie. So actually what happens in the climax is not that of a real surprise. Though writer throws the audience of the track in between with the suitcase and its contents, in the climax everything comes back to the initial position. This could have been avoided with a knowledge arc. A knowledge arc would have helped to realise that you need some more novel elements in the midsection of the movie.

Photo by yushimoto_02 [christian]


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