Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Conflict vs. Tension vs. Suspense

Food for thought. How do we differentiate these three essential components? Let's start with definitions.

Conflict: The interaction of juxtaposed opinions.

Tension: the interaction of conflict and character.

Suspense: The interaction of tension and time.

Notice that all definitions involve interaction. This is because movies are about interaction. One-sided dialogue can rarely sponsor either element. A single character cannot a drama make.

Differences between the elements are also many. For instance conflict can occur in a single scene, while tension spans multiple scenes and suspense spans a whole movie. So as is usually the case time is the determining factor while interaction is the necessary starting point.
This interaction can be between people, animals, or nature with similar effects.

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