Created By: KJMackley on June 30, 2013

Plot Anchor

Distinctive visual cues to keep up with the story

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If you plan on using Anachronic Order, Flashbacks, Time Travel or otherwise play with the narrative that isn't purely sequential, there is a high likelihood that the audience will be unable to pick up on the cues that let them know were they are in the narrative.

So to avoid confusing the audience you make very distinctive and unique situations that help clue in where the audience is at. It could be a character trying on an incredibly ugly jacket, a very unique and quotable exchange of dialogue or reusing distinctive camera angles. Sometimes it is as simple as using Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow to show that they are in a flashback.

Compare Continuity Nod.

  • Pulp Fiction has this locked in via its Anachronic Order and gets going from the opening scene involving a husband and wife holding up a restaurant, which isn't revisited until the very end of the movie. Jules and Vincent go from one scene wearing black suits to walking into a bar wearing t-shirts and short shorts, the explanation not being given until the third act. This allows the actual sequence of events to be mapped out even before the movie is over.
  • Primer uses this once the movie makes the big Time Travel jump, by repeating a careful repeat of the same camera angles and dialogue used in an important scene early on. Except this case a Wham Line is that the scene does not play out exactly as before (the dialogue actually does, but things change that should have rendered the dialogue different, It Makes Sense in Context).
  • The Big Bang Theory has its 100th episode end up being an extended Imagine Spot where the entire episode was in Leonard's head. To make it clear with visual and audio cues it has Sheldon unpacking in thee hallway a Zachary Quinto Spock standee when he wanted a Leonard Nimoy version with Penny opening a package in her apartment, a scenario that obviously wouldn't have happened twice.
Community Feedback Replies: 1
  • June 30, 2013
    I think you should pick a different name, I think it is too similar with the antipattern Boat Anchor.