I watch a lot of TV. With my chronic illnesses making impossible to work a normal job, that thing stays on 24/7 almost. It’s great back ground noise. But you can learn a lot from TV. Here are my top things to learn from my favorite shows!
- Criminal Minds (and CSI and NCIS)
These are a great way to see how police procedures are portrayed in the media. In other words, what the public thinks these jobs are like. I’d still do some research to go a little more realistic, but it’s a great way to get acquainted with terminology of the fields.
- Reality Shows (Chopped, Worst Cooks in America, and Kid’s Baking Championship are my favorites. You could also add things like Big Brother, Real Housewives, COPS, etc.)
These types of shows are great ways to get some interesting character traits. From unusual ways of dress to mannerisms—you see it all on these types of shows! Mashup some to create some fun characters.
- Game Shows (I like Let’s Make a Deal and Price is Right)
Another great place to find character ideas! The costumes on Let’s Make a Deal are so much fun! These can also just be a great way to unwind.
Other things you can take from TV shows, Movies, and Books
- Turns of phrase
If you hear something good, write it down. I’ve got a list of things I’ve heard on TV that I’d love to work into dialog someday! You can also get a feel for regional dialects from some shows.
- Styles of Dress
With the crazy span of time covered by all the TV and Movies you can watch, it can be a quick way to do cursory research on period clothing. They are probably not 100% correct, but usually it’s close. Depends on how much time you’ll spend talking about how people are dressed and how accurate you feel the need to be.
- Practice Your Three Act Structure
In most shows and movies, you can look for the parts of the three act structure that is one of the ways of plotting a story. There are other ways, and you can probably look to pick out the parts of those too.
Please be sure to take anything you get from the messages and make it yours. We totally don’t want to copy, but imitation can be a high form of flattery! 😉
What do you find yourself learning from the media? How to you put it to work in your life, writing or otherwise. Hit the comment link to tell me all about it!
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