Dead Caterpillar

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Screenwriting 101: on TV, everyone drinks their coffee black

Monday, Oct 29th, 2018

So you want to have a morning breakfast scene, but you have just one problem. The main character is supposed to be a badass. Naturally, badasses don’t carefully pour teaspoons of sugar and cream into their coffee.

Even if your main character isn’t a badass, what are you going to do, have a whole scene dedicated to the main character going into the cupboard, taking out the sugar, carefully pouring teaspoons, going into the fridge, getting cream, pouring it…do you even have all those set pieces? How much screen time is this going to take? What if the actor drops his spoon… the entire scene needs to be reset. It’s a logistical nightmare.

Let’s face it. Cream and sugar is not very cinematic.

Much simpler to just have the damn character drink coffee black. Bonus points for subtly hinting that the main character is a badass, take-no-prisoners sort of guy. After all, anyone who drinks their coffee black is a confirmed badass. It’s practically in the job description.

So now you have an entire generation of people drinking their coffee black, because, thanks to television, it has been subconsciously instilled in them that it makes them badass.

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