Wednesday, April 8, 2009

From Cheap Scares to Cheap Tears.

I used to have one main concern in my movie watching. I'm sure you're familiar with it. You're at the movies with your date. He wanted to see "The Haunting in Connecticut" and you jumped at the chance since you dig him, even though you secretly were all over "He's Just Not That Into You" for the third time. You're in the theater, holding your popcorn, wishing you hadn't ordered the large iced tea. You know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the creepy violin music means that the bad guy is going to jump out from behind the next object that comes into frame. You cross your legs, you're really feeling that iced tea. The problem is that you cannot pinpoint the exact millisecond that the music will THRUM and the camera will ZOOM, and you will jump, spilling your popcorn on your date, and peeing your pants just a little bit. This is the moment, my worst nightmare, the cheap scare. You know its coming but the timing is dicey and it gets you every time.

There is now a new moment that puts my risk of theater embarrassment through the roof. I'm dubbing it "The cheap tearjerker". Usually appearing in a longer than necessary drama, or the ever thriving chick flick, the writers pair with the casting team to attach you to a character, usually a hard done by woman, young child, or sometimes even an animal. They put said character in a situation specifically designed to trigger a release of pity pheromones throughout the atmosphere. Then they add just the right touch of emotion enhancing music. The feeling permeates the theater. Add in the fact that your boss yelled at you the previous day and you dented your fender when you parked, and you are done. The tears well up and no amount of staring at the wall lamps can stop them from leaking down your face. Your date looks over at you and your makeup mess is further enhanced by a blush of shame. You are thanking the theater gods for the dark when you hear a rustle of purses being opened, and noses being blown. At least there is solace in the fact that you are not alone. You now have the reputation of being "sensitive" and everyone in your Twitterverse will be aware that you cried in Wall-E by the time you reach the water cooler tomorrow.

All that being said, I'm clearly going to use both of these tactics in my writing-- or at least in my first drafts.


  1. Awwwww. I had visuals of you while I read it.

  2. The Tearjerker Award goes to...........
    P.S. I Love You (in my books anyways)