Deanna Babcock

Deanna Babcock

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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    "Based on a True Story"

    When films are claimed to be "based on a true story," it is difficult to discern which parts are based on fact and which are fictional without knowing or researching the true history. But are the majority of viewers concerned with this distinction, or are most simply happy to watch an entertaining movie? Does finding out the actual story ‘ruin’ the movie, make it more interesting, or have no effect whatsoever?

    • I think the only downfall of movies like this are when people believe all of its details as the "gospel truth." If they take every facet literally, and refer to embellished or completely fictional events in the film as proof of their rightness in an argument over actual historical facts, then that is a problem. But beyond that, I don't think anybody really cares, nor do they need to. – Jonathan Leiter 5 years ago
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    • All in all, these are movies, and movies are made to entertain. Most "Based on a True Story", do have to add content to keep the film interesting. I can't remember one movie in this genre, that didn't have added material. It's inevitable, mostly because no ones life, is actually that dramatic. Yes, there are dramatics, but not enough to cover a 2 or so hour movie. – ADenkyirah 5 years ago
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    • I think the disclaimer "based on a true story" should be enough to advise audiences that not every detail is true to life. Discrepancies sometimes lead to dissatisfaction with the end result when the person portrayed in a less than positive light though. One example is in Blindside, where the main character was depicted as somewhat slow speaking and inarticulate. It was insulting. In this instance, it ruined the movie for me. – Munjeera 5 years ago
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    • I think people take that disclaimer seriously. They won't search later about the true event which actually happened and if someone asks about the topic, they would talk about the movie. Sometimes it ruins the movie, when you actually find out what happened. – exavenger 5 years ago
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    • I think it depends on the movie and how far they stray from actual events. If it's a well-done film that doesn't stray too far, then I think viewers won't mind the disclaimer. They are able to get a general idea, and if they really care, they will look up the facts. They understand that the director couldn't depict the actual events 100% accurately, for either practical or entertainment purposes. If a film is poorly done and also strays too far from the facts, then the "based on a true story" line loses its importance. – fmcfarland 5 years ago
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    • I think the emotions connected with knowing the true story are in some ways comparable to those that are relevant when translating a fictional story from a book to a movie. If you read and enjoy a book, then see a movie version that goes in a pretty radically different direction, or changes or ignores details that you view as important, you will probably be pretty disappointed with the movie, whereas if you had not read the book first, it may have stood alone as a good movie. Movies based on true stories often manipulate the story to create a message that really was not there before, so it is important to remember that the movie was framed to accomplish a purpose, whereas the true story was just life. – skylanier 5 years ago
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    • Based on emotional intelligence impact, I think people are more inclined to watch a ''true story'' movie, thus believing it will be more interesting to an extent. Of course, the level of questioning if the movie is based on the true turn of events depends on how far the sci-fi approach runs. Well done movies can illustrate a true story in a worth watching manner and sometimes invoke a further interest to search for that very story. – Lostinfiction 5 years ago
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    • The casual moviegoer is likely not interested in these details, but movie junkies, and those that know the story well would be interested. The value to most seems to be in the entertainment value, and overall quality of the movie - because if the movie is poorly made, that is off-putting to casual moviegoer, and movie junkie alike. Further, there does seem to be some overlap in cult favourites, and as such, you may find that you touch upon this area of cinema. – JDJankowski 5 years ago
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    Latest Comments

    Deanna Babcock

    I hate spoilers. Always. I have trouble even finishing a book for class if it’s been spoiled in advance. I like trying to guess what’s going to happen and not have it told to me. Even if someone figures out something on a show or movie seconds before me and says it out loud, I can’t stand it.

    I’m not so sure about the part about considering it reality, but I guess it has some logic to it. It’s hard to say, since I don’t know of anyone who has ever voiced a conscious realization to that end. But hey, I haven’t done the research, so what do I know?

    Spoiler Alert! The Science of How Spoilers Can Ruin TV
    Deanna Babcock

    Although you seem to be referring mainly to creative writing, I have definitely been experiencing “writer’s block” with the 3 papers I have to write to finish off this semester. And you’re right – the block is certainly not a lack of ideas, it’s me. I appreciate the tips you include in the end. Hopefully I’ll use them throughout this week to get myself through all the work I need to get done.

    Attention Writers: The Myth of Writer's Block
    Deanna Babcock

    Interesting take on this. I kept thinking of my experiences working in a writing center and that many times it’s actually easier to sit back from the writing and just talk about their ideas. This usually helps writers articulate what they’re thinking. But then you mentioned the memory aspect. No matter how much it helps to talk ideas out, one of us has to quickly write down what was said to actually be able to use it later. I agree with a previous commenter that the written form is slower, but at the same time, spoken language can often be very roundabout as people work through ideas aloud. It just depends how you look at it, I guess. Nice article.

    The Act of Writing: A Semantic Exploration