1. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Staging

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by OJB, Apr 26, 2017.

    Hello everyone,

    I know we have a lot of new writers on this forum wanting to learn the craft of writing. Today, I wanted to share and discuss Staging.

    What is staging?

    Staging in where the scene setting reflects the emotional subtext of the character(s) in a symbolic way. Let us discuss the different parts that make up staging for anyone not familiar with the concepts of subtext and symbolism.

    Subtext: Subtext is the underlining emotion/motivation/thoughts of a character that are not stated up front, but are in play in the background of the story. An example of this would be where a couple has a fight and the next morning the two are discussing rather or not they should go out to breakfast. While the discussion would be about breakfast, what they are really talking about is if they forgive each other or not. Famous works that are great to study for subtext is The Great Gatsby, Moby Dick, and The Castle.

    Symbolism: Symbolism is where something represents something more than what is discussed. A basic example of symbolism is the cross, it represents the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    So let us take a look at a three famous examples of staging from books and movies.

    The first example I'd like to look at is Freddy Kruger. Now, as we all know he wears a green and red sweatshirt. Do any of you know why? The color combination of green and red represent the two biblical ways that mankind has been/will be destroyed, green for water from the biblical flood, and red for the fire in the apocalypse. With this symbolism in mind, let us look at where we usually find Freddy, a boiler room filled with a fiery furnace and steam (water). The boiler rooms scenes were not just picked because they look scary, but because they reflect the emotional subtext of Freddy (he wants to destroy/kill.)

    The Second example I want to is from the Great Gatsby. In the climactic scene in the hotel room, the tension between Gatsby and Tom is as unbearable as the summer heat. The heat represents the hatred/rage between Gatsby and Tom, and the fact that everyone is in such a small room makes it that much unbearable.

    The third example I'd like to look at is from Clive Barker's Hell's event. An Icy Hell is associated with traitors. When the Main Villian makes a deal with the devil to betray mankind to Hell, it is done in a frozen room. The Ice represents the traitorous nature of the villain.

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    Often I read threads "What should my setting for this scene be?" Well, it is my hope that this very basic guide will give you a new option in how you want to approach the setting for your scenes. If anyone wants to discuss Staging further, or come up with your own idea for Staging and post it in here to discuss, please do.
     
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  2. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin A tombstone hand and a graveyard mind Staff Supporter Contributor

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    For real? Makes sense. Super cool! About all I remember from that movie is the scene where a (very) young Johnny Depp gets killed in bed and the volume of blood is hilariously overstated.
     
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  3. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Yep, I discovered that bit of info when I was researching color symbolism for my story. Horror seems to use staging a lot (I am not sure if Fantasy and Sci/fi follow that trend.)
     
  4. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin A tombstone hand and a graveyard mind Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Movies usually do what with all the set design and wardrobe considerations. Color palettes are huge in cinema. They have to build everything from the ground up already, so why not?
     
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  5. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    I think it is open to interpretation of the reader. They may not see
    the subtlety of the metaphor that you have created. It is hard
    to tell when there is more going on than what is simply going on.

    Though I think some of the imagery helps to depict the metaphorical
    atmosphere. Though I kinda hint at some of the characters portraying
    mythos in the way they are. Though I won't tell you who is playing
    what in these roles. :D
     
  6. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    And that is what makes staging so cool. Staging is a subtext tool, and it is meant to be subtle/invisible, not IN YOUR FACE, BRO!
     
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  7. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    True.
     
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