genre writing

June 26, 2010

 

brokenI read —

A lot of scripts.

Not as many scripts as industry suits read.

Those poor bastards read scripts year in, year out, 24/7.

I just read a lot of scripts over the summer.

Reading scripts over the summer though, I see mistakes continually in genre writing. It kind of makes me crazy. I wonder, reading a script that obviously falls into a definite genre, what someone was thinking abandoning the genre mid-game or, worse, pre-game?

This doesn’t just apply to scripts either. Sometimes I see it in actually produced films. The mind boggles. What were these people thinking? I try to mental block those out though. There are not that many of them and usually group frat boy stupid doesn’t get as far as the million dollar mark. Anyway —

 


 

Max’s Top Five “You Just Blew Genre” Faves —

Comedies are supposed to be funny. Opening them with a funeral and five consecutive scenes containing people sobbing inconsolably by coffins and gravestones might not be the way to go.

Action Adventure kind of depends on action. Stalling a Raiders wannabe flick in the second act with 20 pages in which characters sit in a hotel room while it rains might not play so well for the genre.

The keyword in Romantic Comedy is “romantic.” It might be wise to reconsider that plethora of fart jokes. Also, this is a date film, people. Do you really think a half hour watching a guy on screen fucking different women is going to work out on date night?

Children/Family Films are supposed to be fun for kids. Generally speaking, that means the kid should get the fun action, not the mid-life crisis dad. Another thing to think about with kid films: Little kids are going to watch these films. Are people playing with severed body parts really the way to go there?

Serial Killers have been fascinating audiences for years. What is supposed to be fascinating and freaky about serial killers however is the serial killer – not the script writer who refers to decomposed bodies and evisceration as “sexy” in scene description. Rule to the wise: What characters say? Is the character talking. What scene description says? Is the writer talking. And every reader knows the difference.

 

where the art work comes from :
that is broken from arab queen

11 Responses to “genre writing”

  1. Ah, you’ve SEEN “Pushing Tin” then.

  2. max said

    Oh you innocent. Pushing Tin does not even fall into the realm of stuff I am talking about here.

  3. My genre is physician bluegrass fiction, and they say I am the best at it. (Don’t tell them I’m the only one)

    Dr. B

  4. Its all about focus- and if you lose focus along the way then I think its time to do some project evaluation.

    As soon as I get my life back I really want to take one of your classes Max.

    Anita

  5. max said

    I would love to have you in a class Anita.

  6. ishtarmuz said

    Comedies: Is it just me or did anyone else find “Harold and Maude” not only classic, but funny?

    Action Adventure: I am thinking of “Blade Runner” and “I, Robot” which were both very philosopical novels that happened to to contain action/aventure, that were reversed in the screen play leaving the philosphy to visual tableaux. I would have prefered that they left the stories closer to the orginals.

    Romantic Comedy: All I can think of is “When Harry Met Sally…” I will have whatever she is having…

    Children/Family Films: All I can think about is “A Christmas Story” and that was clearly as much for the middle aged man as for his children… “You will shoot your eye out..”

    Serial Killers: Yes it is the mind of the serial killer that makes it facinating, but then it is not a slasher film, but a psychological thriller as in the “The Silence of The Lambs” or “Psycho,” not what you see, but what you think and feel draw you in as you think and feel what the killer and protagonist thinks and feels. Real emotion, not disgust.

    Although I argee with you, a great writer probably could make even a farting contest romantic and I would take each of your negatives as a teacher and make it an assignment for your students to do just that…If for no other reasons than to show that the exception proves the rule or just to see just how difficult it is to turn such dissonance (romantic farts) into a consonant theme… fooooussss … broke the moment and his heart and was not quite the mixing of airs he had intended … but they could not stop laughing …

  7. max said

    Harold & Maude is very funny and classic. And is not what I described.

    Exceptions do not prove rules.

    It will be a cold day in hell before I assign and read fifty student fart scenes. Ugh.

    Have you ever actually read a screenplay or are you just carousing around being argumentative?

  8. ishtarmuz said

    A little of both. I have read them and even attempted to write one once, but I was mostly being me. I always attempted to see the exception, the odd, the unique and the controversial points of view. It is how I stimulate the phagocytes. Sometimes even, more than my own. What I don’t make a good foil? I will put my hat back on. :(

  9. ishtarmuz said

    Oh yes, it was not necessarily a fart scene marathon I was suggesting, but rather to pick from any genre, some rule breaking strategy, and attempt to make it work. In other words challenging them to attempt to prove you wrong. I wasn’t so much saying you were wrong in any way, but rather just considering a pedagogic possibility. It would be an inductive method as it were.

  10. max said

    Well you were suggesting just that but I am familiar with the concept many of my assignments operate on that principle.

    It is a little annoying to have someone go through a [humorous] post of mine, point by point, attempt to contradict each and every point, and then start handing out advice for how and what I should teach too. You are unfamiliar with my classes. Maybe take one before telling me how to teach them. [wry smile]

  11. ishtarmuz said

    Yes, but then I would feel obliged to do something with the knowledge, if I took your courses. I feel much more at home just being an anarchist rabble-rouser. The lovable rogue always gets the girl after all. I would not want to go too far out of my element. :\

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