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“Plot. Yes, it does sound familiar, but I can't think where I've heard of it before.”
~ Michael Bay on plot
“There is no sin except stupidity.”
~ Oscar Wilde (no, really)

The plot thickens.

A plot is any of several techniques used by scriptwriters to explain why the hell things actually happen. A plot works in a synergistic manner with other elements of literature, such as character development (pointless love scenes) and setting (a secret evil base inside a volcano) to create a timeless and engaging story. If there was no plot, the entire universe would be static, which would be really boring and wouldn't gross more than a few million at the box office.[1]

edit Examples of plot

Car explosion

If the only thing that you remember from a movie is this, chances are the writer forgot to add a plot.

edit Plot in movies

A plot, when used in the context of a movie, usually refers to the useless dialog that occupies space between the action sequences. Because of restrictions to a $170 million budget, movie producers are often limited in the number of computer graphics code monkeys they can hire and therefore forced to insert a plot to make a movie meet the minimum length requirements imposed by the MPAA. Movie plots are usually produced by a random cliché generator, which is typically programmed to combine several of the following common themes:

  • A handsome male hero falls in love with several dozen women, all of whom eventually produce guns and try to kill him.
  • A young child, who is mysteriously missing a parent for no obvious reason, embarks on an inspiring moral quest to do something inanely stupid.
  • A randomly selected person is the only human left on the planet after a terrible disaster, except for all of the others who are evil plague-ravaged flesh-eating vampire zombie tigers.
  • There's snakes, and they're on a plane.

edit Plot in television

When used to describe a television show, the plot refers to the fact that, in order to understand a given episode, you need to have watched every single previous episode in order first. This technique is typically used when the writer can't be bothered to come up with a unique plot for every episode, or when the producer just got finished adding a plot to a movie and is now desperate to dump all of his bad but vaguely related ideas that never got used somewhere. Sometimes shows like this have introductory segments like "Previously, on [insert show name here]...", followed by a five minute clip of "Badger Badger Badger" playing. See also: Deep Space Nine.

edit Plot in books

Plot structures vary depending on the author and the type of literature, but most often a plot consists of, in the stated order, setting and introduction, rising action, a climax or turning point, and a conclusion and/or resolution. Since books contain no special effects - except for the sound the pages make when turned - we can leave them to those who like them. It must also be noted books don't gross at the box office.

edit How a plot in film is created


edit Footnotes

  1. There have been numerous occasions of movies grossing more than 100 million while still lacking plot. Usually these occur in the United States.
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