Screenwriting : Time Travel by Howard Johnson

Howard Johnson

Time Travel

Hey, STAGE 32! Can I pick everybody brain on different ways to time travel without a time machine? Example; In Black Knight, Martin Lawrence fell in a creek and came out in 14th Century England. All I could come with was a car crash. SMH. Somebody help me!

Eoin O'Sullivan

Hi Howard. It doesn't really matter what you use to show time travel, all that matters is that what ever you use serve the story and the suspension of disbelief. Some films have a machine or device as an integral part of the story, like Back To The Future and in others all that matters is that a character is transported to another time and place. Kind Regards, Eoin

Sylvia Marie Llewellyn

Maybe a reincarnation of sorts.... like during surgery.

D Marcus

A ring. Opening a door. If time travel can happen from falling in a moat it can happen from bumping into a tree. Or falling into a swimming pool. How about an app? An old coin or paper money? If time travel can happen with a phone booth and a hot tub it can happen with dozens of other common items. Smells or sounds could trigger time travel. So many possibilities.

Ally Shina

Don't over think it... You can write it however you like, eg. 'Hot Tub Time Machine'. Depending on the severity of the car crash, your characters may have to turn up in the future with injuries, or return to the present to wake up in a banged up car... that's not a bad idea if it's relevant to your story.

Jim Fisher

Sam has it right. Which is it - for real time travel or the result of an accident or illness? Or something else? If you want to do it "correctly" according to our current understanding of physics, please understand that we barely understand physics today - there is much more work to do. What we do know can be quite helpful - just don't get bogged down in the detail. Keep your idea simple. Here's a link to a post about worm-holes to get you started. http://scienceforwriters.blogspot.com/2013/12/how-to-build-wormhole-in-s.... There are so many great science for the non-scientist web sites around if you want to pursue the scientific approach to time travel. Best wishes, Keep it simple.

William Martell

Either way, this is the writer's job. But I vote portapotty (Yikes! That was used DE DUVA (1968)... with an outhouse!)

Jim Fisher

A porta-potty? OMG LMAO.

Shane M Wheeler

It can be anything. If you're doing more sci-fi, psychic powers involving strange physics and quantum entanglement have been popular (innate character ability). Along those lines, it could be a special drug rather than a machine. I'd also say it depends on your genre and story- the means should match the tone of the story.

Douglas Eugene Mayfield

Regardless of what particular mechanism you choose, you do want to think through how hard it should be to travel through time. As suggested, you do want TT to serve the story, so make sure it's tough as possible on your protagonist. Examples - Somewhere in time. and Cameron's handling of TT in Terminators 1/2.

D Marcus

Du Duva. One of the greatest short films ever made.

Phillip "The Scribe Who Cares'" Hardy

In "Evil Dead" protagonist Ash gets sucked up into a vortex and the falls from the sky with convertible in "Army of Darkness".

Sarah Gabrielle Baron

Aliens.

Tony Cella

Someone else has a time machine.

Howard Johnson

Thanks everybody and Sam I mean travel as in dream. This is more like traveling to parallel dimensions, I know. Still traveling, right?

John Charnay

Perhaps by stepping into a vortex in Sedona, AZ ???

John Charnay

Physicist Ronald Mallett is designing a time travel machine with circulating laser beams. http://phys.org/news/2006-04-professor-human-century.html#jCp

John Charnay

See:http://www.gamesradar.com/50-best-time-travel-movies/

Phil Parker

When I want to time travel, I rub the belly of a Chinese Lucky Cat while patting my own head and standing on one foot. Works every time. Not sure why this isn't common knowledge...

Sylvia Marie Llewellyn

LOL. Thanks Phillip.

Anthony Moore

In Dune, the spice could allow a user to bend time and space.

Elisabeth Meier

There are million ways, I would think. Maybe you let the character run through a tunnel and by reaching the exit he finds himself in the other time.

Sylvia Marie Llewellyn

I really like this suggestion Elisabeth Meier. Simple. Effective. Maybe add a white light or creepy fog that slithers in at the end of the tunnel as the protagonist runs through it.

Melonie Zarko

It's not outside the lore of paranormal phenomenon - that there are time slips you can pass through - in and around areas of energy. Research ley lines and earth energy points - it could be the reason that he fell into a creek, and came up in the 14th century.

Sarah Gabrielle Baron

He was "spastic in time" (slaghterhouse5 by Kurt Vonnegut). Don't need a time machine....just let it happen and have a constant 'tone'.

Dakota Vegh

In the Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, Link travels forward and back in time by sheathing, and drawing the Mastersword in the stone in the Temple of Time

Debbie Croysdale

I agree with Melonie, research ancient ley lines, something that might actually exist.

Jean-Pierre Chapoteau

"Hey! Listen!"

Chris Herden

CINEMA - I always sense a form of time displacement when I leave a movie (especially when the film was particularly good or bad!) - the cinema is a place where you enter a new world for a couple of hours. But what if after the movie you discover a lot more than a couple of hours had passed you by?

Chris Herden

"Predestination" - the thinking time traveller's movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVOpfpYijHA

Sue Lange

Hey, how about eating a certain combination of questionable food would jettison you out of your respective position in the time-space continuum. I'm thinking like spam and velveeta on white bread washed down with tang. Or something.

Douglas Eugene Mayfield

If you take Sue's suggestion, be sure to try for a product placement fee. I mean how much would a Pizza maker pay to see its product send your lead character flying through time? or pick one of those burger makers whose ads show a sexy babe eating their giant burger. When your character tries it, its time travel.

Rafael Pinero

But if you are gonna offer Productor placement they will only give it to you if you have stars in the film.

Rafael Pinero

I love Time Travel movies, I'm also planning to write one

Michael L. Burris

2 men die in car crash. God says you have one choice without question or answer. Do you want time or space, the yellow car is time in which you can travel infinitely , the green car is space where you can create infinitely. One man says time. God says take the yellow one but you must learn to navigate it on your own. Oh, and if you crash it you won't die and cannot trade it in. The man gets in the yellow car, turns key and disappears while the yellow car remains. Heck if I know but staying with your car crash theme its a start. The other man may chose the green car.

Sue Lange

I love this idea, Michael L. Burris. And Steven Harris Anzelowitz's idea is great too. Kind of like an American Dr. Who.

Stuart Wright

FAQS about time travel is via the men's toilet

Stuart Wright

Time bandits have a map of holes in the fabric of time and space

Stuart Wright

Time Crimes and Time Cop are worth checking

Stuart Wright

Time travellers wife is worth a read

Brian Shell

My opinion is that you need to decide whether it's a special portal (aka unique to the protagonist) or a universal portal (and located at only specific spots). That can narrow down the how the time travel is done.

Sue Lange

I agree. There's nothing like weird ideas coming from who knows where to get you inspired.

David Levy

"Voyagers" TV series from the 80s. A "time amulet" is what they used to go through time.

David Levy

Bill and Ted used a phone booth. It can be whatever YOU want it to be.

C.m. Andino

In "Outlander" an ancient structure hurls Claire back in time. I like the idea of the ancients knowing something we don't. Love time travel movies. Have a logline for a TT movie myself. Good luck.

Sue Lange

Most of these ideas use something like a time travel machine. The original question was about a non-machine method.

David Levy

OK. "A Kid In King Arthurs Court" has Merlin bring a young kid back through time using a well. I wrote a sic-fi/fantasy script where a "rip in time" was created by black magic. Just be creative!

D Marcus

"Somewhere in Time" used a unique way.

Douglas Eugene Mayfield

As David suggests above, do be creative. But also be very careful to impose and follow strict rules when you use time travel in a story. (J. Cameron, GA Hurd, and their Terminator films, as well as DeJa Vu, are good examples.) Keep in mind that time travel, if not strictly controlled, could destroy the logic of your story and make it incomprehensible. In my view, 'Time Cop' flirted with that problem.

David Levy

X-Men Days of Future Past. The plot was based on Wolverine succeeding in changing the past. He was sent back by a mutant. Plot it out well.

Vince Conside

Terminator - Star Trek 4

Rick Gates

I suppose it's best to determine whether or not the mechanism of time travel is important to your story. If it is then you may need to explain in some way how it works (this doesn't require a lot of detail, just enough of a believable explanation that doesn't distract the audience from your story). If it isn't then you can focus less on the mechanism and more on the story. Ancient or strange artifacts, past-life regression, alien or scientific devices, magic, temporal anomalies, and dreams are just some of the mechanisms that immediately come to mind. I would suggest watching a range of time travel-related films to get a sense of how the writer made it work and develop your own mechanism from there (e.g., Somewhere in Time, Primer, The Time Traveler's Wife, and Timecrimes just to name a few--search for 'Time Travel Movies' on Google). This will also help you to avoid doing something that's been done a million times before. Hope that helps.

Brian Shell

There was a Dan Akroyd SNL skit called "Future Man" where he skips back in forth in time and makes a mint in the stock market. Might be good for STC's Fun & Games section beat. :-D

Paul Reynolds

I would definitely use a portal as suggested above - there are many different vehicles to employ, from the absurd (hot tub time machine) to the scientific (contact)

Charles G. Masi

HJ, check out the "The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant" by Stephen R. Donaldson. Sounds a lot like what you want to do.

Thomas Ray

Paranormal investigator --discovers that "Ghosts" are actually living people being seen via a natural "Einstein -Rosen Bridge"--(wormhole)" that itermittedly connects to the past---(explains the clothing and other inanimate aspects of "ghosts" like Ghost trains, etc.) He decides to see if he can pass through it himself---Finds a "hauunted" location---sees an "apparation" and , against instinct, rushes to it--suddenly emerging at the feet of a surprised person and IN a past time.

Wendy Joseph

There was a TV movie some years back where the portal was between two of the stones at Stonehenge. Also, in Field of Dreams, set in 1989, Kevin Costner simply walks out the door at night and finds himself in 1972. The date is shown by having The Godfather on a movie marquee and a car license plate with '72 tabs. Pretty good.

John Kephart

You mention a car crash. Well, in the British TV series "Life on Mars," the main character Detective Inspector Sam Tyler is hit by a car in the present day while working on a case. He wakes up and finds himself in 1970s Manchester - he's even dressed in the right clothes! He makes his way to a police station where he finds he's expected. He's their new D.I.! He has to figure out what's going on. Is he in a coma somewhere? Is he going mad? Or has he actually time travelled? Well, I won't give it away. In the sequel series "Ashes to Ashes," the main character Alex Drake, also a D.I., is in the present day reading about the case of Sam Tyler. She's on a case when she is shot in the head by a derranged man. She finds herself back in the 1980s (dressed time-appropriate also) and is expected, as well. Bottom line: There are many ways to go about it.

Jack West

In Woody Allen's Midnight In Paris the hero was waiting for a car that came around a corner and when he got in it, he was transported back to the Paris of 1920.

Graham Giddy

I am sure I am aware of the answer. I plan to write the third novel in the Shroud over Paradise series where the two of the main characters who are already returned from where we came from get a day pass to visit ???????. There they will add interest to the story when they notice one of the men wearing traditional clothing to cover his present day clothing allows the name NASA to be seen. They will spot it and so on. I also use the beginning of the novel to outline the Roswell incident then start the story from their. Yes it can be done.....remember the old say...history does sometimes repeat its self.By the way, my latest novel MR BROWN AND MRS WONG'S TICKET TO TRAVEL is doing alright in the States. Thank you.

Lemar Hager

In the film Somewhere in Time, the main character used hypnosis.

Vincent Paterno

I prefer the portal idea myself, perhaps via use of a building -- with one of the ground rules being that you can't go further back in time than when the building was constructed. So, for example, if you use a room inside the Btadbury Building in Los Angeles (a beloved, aesthetically beautiful film shooting site) as your "time base," you can't go further back than downtown LA in 1893. Now if you're headed to the future...well, you run the risk that the Bradbury won't be there anymore, and you're either blocked from going there or something bizarre could happen to you.

Debbie Croysdale

Good comment from Lemar. When I watched Somewhere in Time a couple of decades ago, the set up seemed believable, I also burst into tears at the end. Hypnosis is a good catalyst to use for time travel, and has not been done for a while, (not that I know of!)

Wendy Joseph

Interesting point, Vincent. But if they were going back past 1893, they could walk out the door, turn around and the building isn't there anymore. Now they have the additional problem of finding a portal back to their own time. And when they find it, they go back into the Bradbury Bldg.

Graham Giddy

To Steve, their has being a massive number of time travel films, the reason why? It can and will be done. Writers who dabble in Science Fiction get it right in the long run, e.g go back a hundred years ago and the average person die laughing when writers wrote about space travel and the future. My father swore they would never be watches that talked when he was a Dick Tracey fan. So to answer your question, time travel has just begun.

Richard Toscan

I'm sure this has been pointed out somewhere in those 70 posts above, but I thought you just clicked your heels.

Douglas Eugene Mayfield

Hey, Steven. Since I like everything except sushi (which is not so bad but sort of wasted on me), if I weren't 3000 miles away in LA, I'd come share a meal with you and brain storm. Good luck.

Vincent Paterno

Steven, Billy would tell you HIS must was Ernst (as in Lubitsch). Mel probably feels similarly (otherwise, he wouldn't have done a remake of "To Be Or Not To Be") and I think Woody likely also is a fan of Lubitsch.

Anneke Koremans

I used a different technique in my novels White Lie and The Eye of Ra and I think I got away with it! ;) www.jeannedaout.com

Howard Johnson

Product placement fee, huh? HMMM Think I may have found the one! Might go with Mike though. Will find Time Travelers Wife too. Bill and Ted makes me feel I can use any idea! A young KEANU does too! LOL Thanks C.M. Andino for wishing me good luck! So true Sue! lol They are all still helpfull. Thanks David Levy, will do! Thanks, Rick! Have to find Life on Mars! I know it will help. Thanks, John! My character doesn't wear hills, Richard. LOL THANK U ALL!!! THINK THIS THREAD JUST GREW LEGS AND STARTED WALKING ON ITS OWN, RIGHT? Hey Steve, can we connect and brainstorm? I am in Georgia.

Other topics in Screenwriting:

register for stage 32 Register / Log In