In partnership with Creative Screenwriting and ScreenCraft, “First Draft” is a series on everything to do with screenwriting.
In a new video series, Story Brain explores the concept of Logarithmic Time and what it means for screenwriters. Adapted from mathematic terms, Logarithmic Time refers to scripts whose events are “eternally approaching the moment where it’s too late”—where characters have run out of time—”but never actually crossing it.” The entirety of Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay for Steve Jobs, the video argues, is rooted in Logarithmic Time, by “placing events right before [a] moment of crisis in order to increase the interest in what we’re seeing.”
Remember wondering how so much could take place in a 5-second span during Michael Jordan’s buzzer-beating dunk at the end of Space Jam? Or how every every other action film involving a bomb that must be defused crams so much tension in the 10 seconds it takes for someone to cut the right wire? It turns out Logarithmic Time may have been guiding these logic-shattering moments all along. Watch the video below to learn how you can harness this technique to bend time to your story’s will. MM
This article originally appeared on the website Creative Screenwriting. Creative Screenwriting is “the best magazine for screenwriters” (The Los Angeles Times), publishing daily interviews and craft articles from the foremost writers in film and TV.