Standard Piece of Rock – Check – Chapter 8, Act 1, Strip 12

Ladies and Gentlemen, please allow us to present: the mysterious meteorite! Ta-dah!

Major plot element or mostly McGuffin? Only time will tell. Far too early in the chapter to tell.

And, yeah, this sort of scene tends to contain some of the worst dialogue for the actors that play the ‘scientist’ characters. Even the scriptwriters for the Aest of A-movies struggle to find the right compromise for such a scene: on the one hand you have to push the plot forward fast, on the other hand it’s very much out of character for basically any scientist to pronounce any sort of conclusion at the very start of an examination. That’s just not how science is supposed to work.
The scriptwriters for B-movies don’t struggle quite that hard, naturally. Not because it’s any easier for them…but they simply don’t make that much of an effort, if much of any effort. So scientists in B-movies often jump to the most counter-intuitive of conclusions at the slightest hint of any tiny shred of unrelated evidence, and the poor actors who have to play them are expected to ‘sell’ all of it by imbuing their part with as much gravitas and apparent scientific authority as they can muster.

It must be really helpful for the actors, in that regard, if they have no sort of scientific background at all – realizing to what sort of nonsense their lines actually amount can’t make anything about it easier. So much for method acting. XD

More on Thursday.

6 Replies to “Standard Piece of Rock – Check – Chapter 8, Act 1, Strip 12”

  1. This is why it helps to have a prop when your an actor scientist. You can be looking VERY intensely at your clipboard as a focus while just reading off your lines in the most scientifically-sounding way possible. Cigarettes/pipes are also another good prop, giving one an excuse to kind of mumble what they are saying but in a very scientifically-sounding tone once again.

    It’s all about that I’m-not-sure-what-it-is-but-I’m-SURE-I’m-not-sure-what-it-is tone that sells it.

    1. Yeah, in acting these are called “pieces of business” – they give an actor something to be busy with when they haven’t anything better to do in a scene, or when they’re trying to distract attention from what they’re doing. And trying to distract attention makes perfect sense when what you’re doing is delivering such poor lines. XD

      A pipe or cigar, however, works that way even outside of acting – by fiddling around with it when speaking, you gain time to formulate your sentences more carefully, and come off smarter as a result.

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