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10/10's - Ten Lists of Ten Tips for Digital Filmakers & Professional Videographers

Ten Tips for Creating a Vivid and Solid Science Fiction World
By Theo Baker

If movies are our escape to a more magical world, then nothing is more enchanting than a well-conceived and well-rendered science fiction movie. But because the world of the sci-fi film is completely imaginary, the house of cards risks falling at any moment. Here are some tips that should act as duct tape.

1. Read the literature. Between the 1930s and 1980s, there was a flourishing science fiction tradition, light years ahead of the films, which exposed every cliché, worked out every plot device and invented the language of our time. Make your foundation on the shoulders of Azimov, Sturgeon, Heinlein and Stapledon—not on the stringed model flying discs from They Came from Planet Venus.

2. Set the limits of your world, and make them well-defined and understandable. Einstein's theory of relativity flowed entirely from his assumption that nothing could accelerate faster than the speed of light. Only limits help us understand the structure of the world.

3. Invent the myths of your world. Every culture exists within a much larger story, generally those that have been passed down for millennia. This cultural narrative informs every perception and judgment an individual makes.

4. Invent the history of your world. No one can predict the future, so don't worry if your future history seems incompatible with our present trajectory. History is pock-marked with great leaps forward, stunning downfalls and unexpected twists. Be adventurous. Avoid prediction.

5. Explore the present. Read science magazines—Discover, New Scientist and Scientific American are great starts. Befriend scientists, who can help with calculations, technical problems and exploring the realm of the possible.

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