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  • I got in my first car accident when I was sixteen.

  • I had just gotten my license and I was driving home

  • when a car pulled into the intersection

  • and bang! It hit me.

  • It had happened that quick.

  • Bang!

  • But when I play that memory back,

  • it doesn't take two seconds.

  • I see the tires of the car rolling through the stop sign,

  • I have time to think,

  • "You know, I think that car is going to hit me."

  • I see the right-hand corner of the hood

  • crumple up like tin foil,

  • I see the red paint flake off and drift off into the air,

  • I can see all of that, like it's happening in slow motion.

  • In my memory, that experience takes ten seconds.

  • But why?

  • Why did that memory play back longer

  • than the actual time it took?

  • This is an interesting phenomenon

  • and it's not just for car accidents,

  • a roller coaster,

  • or a first kiss.

  • These events seem to take longer than they actually take.

  • But why?

  • And when it comes to writing about that experience,

  • how do I get that peculiar feeling across?

  • How do I slow down time as a writer?

  • To get the answer, we have to visit Hollywood.

  • You see, the way filmmakers create slow motion

  • will tell us a lot about how writers can create slow motion.

  • First, let's remember how film works.

  • When the camera turns on, it's not recording motion,

  • it's taking lots and lots of individual pictures.

  • Then when those pictures are played back in the projector,

  • they blend together and create the appearance of motion,

  • like a flip book.

  • So, let's imagine that a camera man needs

  • to film his actress skipping through a field of daisies

  • in regular motion.

  • Ready, action.

  • She skips across the field,

  • he records it,

  • and...cut.

  • Let's say for the sake of easy math

  • that our camera man took 50 pictures,

  • 50 little frames on that length of film.

  • Now, let's take that film and play it back

  • at the rate of 50 frames per 5 seconds.

  • This rate is constant,

  • the projector will always go at the same speed.

  • It's easy, we got 50 frames, so our film takes 5 seconds.

  • She skips across the field...

  • ...and cut!

  • So, then, how do we slow down time in film?

  • How do we create slow motion?

  • Maybe this is a surprise, but we don't take less pictures,

  • we take more pictures.

  • Ready, action!

  • She skips across the field,

  • he records it,

  • and cut.

  • Now we have a lot of film, a long length,

  • let's say 100 frames long.

  • Now, when we play it back,

  • it takes a longer time to get through,

  • and there's the actress in slow motion.

  • Skipping through the field of daisies!

  • Which brings us now to writing.

  • When you're writing a narrative,

  • you may want to use slow motion in one of your scenes.

  • It's a cool effect, just like it is in Hollywood,

  • and it draws the reader's attention to important moments.

  • Well, here's how you do it.

  • You see, when we read,

  • our brain makes the words into pictures

  • and the pictures blend into action.

  • So what we read is what we see

  • in the time it takes us to read it.

  • For example, imagine you're writing a narrative

  • about your game-winning free throw in the championship game.

  • Here's a moment as a writer

  • that you might want to slow down time

  • to really capture the second-by-second tension

  • produced by the scene.

  • You concentrate,

  • you put the pencil to paper,

  • you really want to slow down time,

  • you write,

  • "I shot the ball in the hoop.

  • Time slowed down. Then we won."

  • To read that, takes two seconds;

  • therefore, your reader imagines a scene that takes two seconds.

  • Ball goes up, comes down, done.

  • See, even though you wrote, "time slowed down,"

  • you didn't achieve that effect for your reader.

  • Just saying it doesn't make it happen.

  • Now, let's take what we make about film,

  • time slows down with more pictures,

  • and try again.

  • This time write A LOT more.

  • "I bent my knees and held the ball loosely.

  • Letting the ball bounce on the floor once more,

  • I gathered my thoughts.

  • This was the moment.

  • My right arm extended as I released the ball with a gentle flick,

  • it rotated slightly as it arched toward the rim.

  • I held my breath.

  • The ball nudged the back rim,

  • falling through the net with a gentle, satisfying swish.

  • And the crowd exploded from their seats."

  • See, we just slowed down time through our writing.

  • The bottom line is this:

  • there are moments in life that take longer

  • than they actually take.

  • When you're planning out your narrative,

  • think about those moments,

  • those snippets of life that took longer than the watch:

  • the moment of hearing bad news,

  • the moment of hearing good news,

  • the moment of exhilaration when you realize you hit the jump,

  • or the moment when you realize you aren't going to land it.

  • Once you identify these moments in your narrative,

  • you can use this effect of slow motion when you write.

  • Just remember, it's not enough to say, "time slowed down"

  • and it's not enough to throw a couple adjectives

  • in a sentence and call it done either.

  • Descriptive writing is good writing, that's true.

  • But if you want to express the feeling of slow motion in life,

  • you have to actually take up

  • more physical space on the page,

  • use more film so to speak.

  • In doing so, you will create tension

  • and keep your reader interested.

  • And that way, the next time you write,

  • you'll control the camera of your own writing.

I got in my first car accident when I was sixteen.

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A2 BEG TED-Ed slow motion motion slow film writing

【TED-Ed】Slowing down time (in writing & film) - Aaron Sitze

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    VoiceTube   posted on 2013/05/13
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