Sunday, February 10, 2008

The "LOST" Techniques

I believe many will benefit from an analysis of the screenwriting techniques that are used to create one of the most successful TV shows of all time: LOST. Here's my list of the techniques - please feel free to contribute in the comments section. I will add them if I see them fit.

1) The genre that LOST belongs is "mystery". This means that a lot of questions will be posed as to the events and people inhabiting the show which the characters (and the audience) will work their asses off to find answers to.

E. M. Foster wrote in Aspects of the Novel that "The root nature of the story... has only one merit: that of making the audience want to know what happens next." (Paul Gulino, Screenwriting - The Sequence Approach). And this is what asking questions and having the characters and audience try to find their answers does exactly. As we try to figure out what happened to the Oceanic 815, who the survivors are, whether they'll survive in a hostile environment, what would happen if they did not feed those numbers in the computer in the Hatch, what the Dharma initiative is, and who the Others are, why many of the passangers are connected in their lives before the accident, we find ourselves hooked to the show.

This Q&A technique can be observed within a single scene or an episode, across episodes or even seasons. (For example, the question concerning the polar bear in the first season is addressed only in the fourth season, when many viewers had started to doubt whether this show made any sense at all.). But everytime it is used, it hooks you deeper to Lost.

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