Suspension of disbelief is a crucial aspect of the movie-going experience. When we enter a movie theater or turn on our screens to watch a film, we are making a conscious decision to believe in the reality presented to us, even if it is entirely fictional. This suspension of disbelief is a contract between the filmmaker and the audience, and it is essential for creating an immersive and engaging experience.

Good filmmaking is deceptive precisely because it hides its own artifice. The goal of the filmmaker is to create a world that feels real and believable, even if it is entirely constructed. Whether through stunning visual effects, expertly crafted sets, or convincing performances from actors, the best films are those that make us forget that we are watching a movie.

The use of special effects is an integral part of this process, but it is important to remember that they are only effective if they are used correctly. The phrase “the thing about sfx is that they lack effect and therefore are not special” speaks to the idea that special effects can only be truly special if they are used in a way that enhances the story and supports the suspension of disbelief.

When special effects are used simply for their own sake, without regard for the story or the audience’s immersion in the film, they can actually detract from the overall experience. For example, if a scene is overly reliant on CGI effects that look fake or unconvincing, it can break the spell of the movie and remind the audience that they are watching a work of fiction.

On the other hand, when special effects are used sparingly and in service of the story, they can be incredibly effective. For example, a well-timed explosion or a subtle use of CGI to enhance a practical effect can add to the overall experience and make the film more immersive.

Ultimately, the key to effective special effects is to use them in service of the story and to support the suspension of disbelief. When done correctly, special effects can be a powerful tool for immersing the audience in the world of the film and creating a truly unforgettable experience. However, it is important for filmmakers to remember that special effects alone are not enough to make a great movie. Story, character, and emotion are ultimately what make a film truly special, and special effects should be used to support and enhance these elements, rather than replace them.

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