Why you get bored during fight scenes

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Fight scenes are hard to write and even harder to write well. A great fight scene will simultaneously amuse and move the story forward. This applies to any medium.

There are three elements to a fantastic fight scene and if you’re missing one of them it will fall flat. Those three elements are Tension, Character and Story Development, and Entertainment.

These three elements should be present in any good fight scene but be used in varying amounts for different styles.

Borrowed from Oh My Disney's article called "10 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL"
Borrowed from Oh My Disney’s article called “10 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL

Tension

The tension in the fight comes from the risk of injury, death, or failure. If you’re watching a fight and don’t really care what’s happening than there’s no tension.

In order to care about the scene the audience has to care about the characters, the outcome, or the location. The tension in a good Godzilla movie isn’t whether he’ll survive, but what his fight will do to the city and people in it.

Once the audience is invested, the fight has to feel like the thing or person we invested in, is in peril. If you know Superman will win and the movie gives you a thirty minute set piece fight, you get bored.

This is extremely common in Table Top games when the player characters are overpowered and the gamemaster just throws longer fights at them.

It also happens in superhero movies and super powered hero books.

Guilty: Man of Steel (2013), Chuck Norris, and Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition.

Innocent: Wonder Woman (2017), Jackie Chan, and Shadowrun 3rd edition.

Character Story and Development

If your fight scene serves no other reason than to show off special effects or fill space, it’ll be boring.

A fight scene needs to work like a song in a good musical. It tells us about the characters, moves their plot forward, and ties in to the rest of the story. It also needs to be a story in itself.

The time I have as an audience member is precious and I want more than just something pretty.

Guilty: Atomic Blond (2017), Star Wars Episode 1, 2, and 3, Star Trek Into Darkness, Dungeons and Dragons Random Encounters system.

Innocent: Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017), Star Wars Episode 5, 6 and 7, Star Trek (2009), Princess Bride

Entertainment

This is the third category and in truth, it’s the one that most people concentrate on when writing a fight scene.

This is where the tricks and awesome things come in. Sometimes it’s humour, sometimes it’s choreography, and sometimes it’s just banter. This is the hardest to get wrong and often flows out of the other two.

Guilty: Fight Club, Star Wars A New Hope, and older low level JRPGs (I’m looking at you Everquest on NES)

Innocent: Kung Fu Panda, Batman Vs Superman, modern JRPGs

 

I like my fight scenes weighted towards Character Story and Development with a lot of Entertainment (Pirates of the Caribbean, Hitman’s Bodyguard, Princess Bride, Court Jester, Kingsman), but as long as a fight scene hits on all three I’m happy.

 

What’s your favourite fight scene and why?

Éric

Chivalry Should not Mean Chauvinist

I am a Giant Squid of Anger because of this article.

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

First I’d like to dispel the myth that Chivalry has anything to do with sex or gender. All definitions from the Oxford English Dictionary.

The word Chivalry has changed over time. Starting out in the Middle Ages (early 1300’s but who’s counting), the world simply meant Knights or horsemen equipped for Battle. It was adapted from the French Chevalerie which meant man fighting on horse.

Shortly after, it was changed to mean acts of bravery or honour on the battlefield.

Let’s skip a few hundred years. In the early 1800’s it started to mean “Gallant Gentleman” and represent everything that is knightly.

The wonderful French and British Romantic poets glorified the simpler time that was the dark ages and what they called the Chivalrous Code. Which meant, “The brave, honourable, and courteous character attributed to the ideal knight; disinterested bravery, honour, and courtesy.”

Nowhere before 1832, did Chivalry have anything to do with women. Other than that the Chivalrous Code said that knights must protect the weak.

Victorians were dumb

I like my steampunk as much as the next geek but the time period is horrible for women. We are still dealing with the shit that the Victorian’s shoved into our collective consciousness.

It was during this period that Chivalry took on the more modern and disturbing meaning of, “courteous behaviour, especially that of a man towards women.”

Even then Chivalry wasn’t only towards women.

When they were handing out brains, you said, “No thanks I’m afraid of flying.”

Somehow, chauvinistic morons have tried to appropriate a word that meant being nice to people and killing the bad guys into a word that means women are deluded and weak.

The author states that in our world of instant hookups (sure dude) chivalry is dead.

“All I know is, the more I look around, the less I see men treating women the way that we’re raised to. What happened to paying for dinners and drinks? What happened to pulling out chairs and holding doors? What happened to walking on the outside, closest to the street and all that sh*t?”

Avoiding the horrible crime of ending a sentence with a preposition, why does he think these things are important?

A man paying for dinner and drinks makes perfect sense in a world where women have no money of their own but when women make as much money or more than the man why the hell should a guy go broke for a date?

Pulling out a chair is respectful and something that should be done with anyone who would have trouble moving their chairs back towards the table alone. Women in tight corsets and pencil skirts might have this issue, men in skinny jean will also.

As for walking on the outside on a sidewalk, well some rules were developed for a different time. This was established so women wouldn’t get shit on their heads or splashed on them from carriages. Now they might get splashed by a car or bus (stupid busses) but walking on the outside isn’t going to help a girl in this case since the wave of water won’t be blocked.

And my personal pet peeve. I have been berated, insulted, yelled at, and in one case kicked, for opening a door for a woman. That hasn’t stopped me from doing it for the simple reason that I don’t do it for women exclusively. I do it for any human being and occasional pets. If I get to the door before you, I will open it for you and hold it open. I don’t care who you are.

The rest of the article is a combination of shaming and pining for a better time, in other words bullshit.

“Be excellent to each other….and….PARTY ON, DUDES!”

Let’s take back the word Chivalry and give it a new meaning. Let’s make it mean something positive and loving. I propose a new definition:

“The act of being noble, selfless, kind, and helping others without reward or ulterior motives.”