De-constructing and visualizing complexity : film plotlines and music tracks mashups

Posted on September 8, 2008. Filed under: BI, English, maps, Medias, MindMap, Video | Tags: , , , |

In a world of increasing complexity, both from an information perspective (infobesity) and from a consumer demand (ultrachoice), building new products, or understanding competitors, request new business intelligence visualization metaphors for GeoTime analysis.

Readers of thrillers have come to recognize one of the recipes for best sellers : never let the heat down ! Writers build their writing with multiple tracks in parallel (ver far away from the time and place unity from traditional theater), those plots intersecting unexpectedly for added drama. I have briefly written about it in the short notes from the VizThink 08 conference I attended last Winter. I found a very simple example (used here as a working paper) on a fiction writer’s blog :

Plotting the romance

Traditional plotlines were very simple, following a typical dramactic structure with a beginning, a rising action, a climax, followed by a falling action and a denouement. More modern plotlines are more oscillating, as shown below. A graphical guidebook/method for students to structure and tell a story can be found here.

Typical dramatic structureOscillating dramatic structure

Reading from the last Wired issue I came across a beautiful example for the music industry (Mashup DJ Girl Talk last piece “Feeding the Animals”). Many music artists have become experts at sampling (hip-hop, Rythm’ Blues, …) or mixing (electro, …), and it takes keen ears to catch the building blocks.

Wired 16.09 Girl Talk

An interesting research piece on the building of narratives in contemporary films gives another example of using plotlines in the creative process, here on the analysis of alternative futures. Note that this could easily be done using a Mind Mapping software, and that a lot has already been said on the use of Mind Mapping tools in creativity.

Graphing alternate futures in a fim narrative

And for those of you who want to get a deeper understanding of the visualization of events / stories in space and time, there is this excellent research paper. Ihave particularly liked this graph, which will probably remind you of the famous “Retreat from Russia” chart beloved by Tufte 😉

A concept sketch of an annotated GeoTime scene representing the events of a fictional story.

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