Why things are not effective in movies, and why that’s not a good thing

“Why do almost no films ever show civilization functioning well, institutions doing their jobs, democracy working? The answer is simple: laziness.

A storyteller’s job is to keep his or her characters in pulse-pounding jeopardy for 90 minutes of film, or 600 pages of a novel. It’s hard to do that if they can dial 911 and get skilled professionals to come to their aid. So you see a panoply of tricks used by directors and authors to deny their characters useful aid.  That’s fine, but when the trick is to simply spread the assumption that there are no decent civil servants, there are no smart cops, there are no loyal first responders out there, then that spreads a propaganda message that such things are impossible in our real world.

It takes real writing skill to come up with a way of keeping your characters in jeopardy, despite there being skilled professionals who want to help them…..” – David Brin – 2016

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