Most writing literature put forward here is either works I have read or comes highly recommended, one or two just look interesting … any book on film you wish to read is worth the effort. It all goes into the pile of ‘research & life experience’. Gathering information can Never be a waste of time. Happy reading!
Robert McKee. Jeff Rush, Ken Dancyger. Christopher Vogler. Philippa J Dyer. Julia Cameron.
Story. Alternative Scriptwriting. The Writers Journey. Strike Up! Structure The Artists Way.
SEMINAL MUST READ SEMINAL Your First Film. MORNING PAGES
David Trottier. Helen Jacey & Linda Seger. Linda Seger. Linda Seger. Linda Seger.
Dr Format. The Woman in the Story. Art of Adapting Advanced Creating Unforgettable
Format NB! Fact into Fiction. Screenwriting. Characters.
Joseph Cambell. James Hutton & Syd Field Linda Aronson Blake Snyder
Hero with 1,000 faces Gordon M. Kirkwood Screenplay Screenplay Updated Save the Cat
PRECURSOR TO VOGLER Aristotle’s Poetics
Linda J Cowgill. Linda J Cowgill. David Trottier. Blake Snyder. Blake Snyder.
Secrets Screenplay Writing Short Films. Screenwriter’s Bible. Save the Cat Save the Cat
Structure VERY USEFUL Strike’s Back Goes to the Movies
Ken Dancyger & Jeff Rush. Robin U Russin & Ken Dancyger & Jeff Rush. Dr. Linda Edelstein.
Alternative Scriptwriting. William Missouri Downs. Alternative Scriptwriting. Writers Guide to
(1995 Version) Screenplay Writing the Picture. Rewriting Hollywood Formula. Character Traits.
Linda Seger. Linda Aronson. Linda Venis. Drew Yanno. Linda Seger. Linda Venis.
Making a Good 21st Century. Cut to the Chase. The 3rd Act. Writing Subtext. Inside the Room.
Script Great. Writing for TV
ALL films put forward here I have personally watched and love. (If I don’t like them, they’re not here! Ha). However, it might be that some have slipped through my memory bank, so speak up if you if you want me to find a copy of a particular film. I can try and source it for you. The genres … there are no absolutes, they’re my own categories. Sometimes choices have had to be made, for example, The Hurricane could be a Sports Film or a Biopic or a Prison Drama. I’ve gone with the thrust that I’ve interpreted as most prominent. So if you’re looking for writing inspiration check across all possible genres. All pictures belong to www.imbd.com, if you wish to source further information that’s a good place to start.
The Romance Film I have determined as any storyline where you are routing for the two lovers to get together by the end. Often the love interest is a sub-plot to the main story, but if the main thrust of the film is ‘lerve’ … then it falls into this category.
Love Story. The Thing Called Love. Romeo & Juliet. Romeo & Juliet. Pretty Woman.
Country Strong. Runnaway Bride. You’ve Got Mail. The Family Man. A Walk in the Clouds.
Notting Hill. Sweet November. Before Sunrise / Before Sunset. The Family Stone. First Daughter.
Most of the Love genre have a little bit of comedy as well as drama in them. There is even an emerging group called the Dramedy! However, this category is to do with lovers that one is routing for, but the vehicle of exploration is essentially comedic in nature.
Serendipity. What A Girl Wants. As Good As It Gets.10 Things I Hate About You.How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.
Boys, toys, guns. Goodie chases baddie. Often a women love interest is around but one doesn’t go too deeply into character here. The thrust is on the action. Big action fight in the end: car, bus, train, horse, anything fast and fierce. Usually male leads but notice how Angelina Jolie is creeping in there at the end. In this category the Hero is always the most highly skilled in his or her field, and even with a formidable opponent – of course they succeed in the end!
The Matrix Bourne Identity Lethal Weapon Die Hard Salt
The main difference between Action and Adventure is that where Action is trying to track down a person … Adventure is trying to track down a ‘thing’: an artefact, a museum piece, information even, and return it to rightful owner often. There’s a moral need here of the protagonist to ‘do the right thing’. Often clues to the treasure is braced in symbols, riddles, or games. The hero also needs to be highly skilled and at the top of their game in order to oppose the force of the antagonist.
Lara Croft – Tomb Raider & Cradle of Life. Raiders of the Lost Ark National Treasure Da Vinci Code
There are so many genres and subgenres of the thriller category because they all involve a murder, which is usually a deliberate crime. So gangsters, crime bosses, the unhinged all come into the crime, murder, mystery, suspense, detective category. How I have chosen to break it down is that if the hero is being followed, chased or terrorized and we wait on tenterhooks for the duration of the whole film for the crime (murder) to happen by the end of the film – then I have identified those as Thriller/Espionage but if the murder happens at the beginning of the film then it goes into the Murder ‘Mystery to resolved’ category. In the straight thriller category, the Hero has a real possibility of being killed by the end of the film.
The Recruit Airforce One The Jackal The Fugitive The Pelican Brief
The Suspense-Murder-Mystery is when the murder happens at the beginning of the film, which is usually related to the detective story.Sometimes referred to as Crime Drama. Someone has usually committed a crime at the beginning of the film, (inciting incident), and we wait for the whole film for the crime to be resolved, revenged, or put to bed somehow.
Seven. The Manchurian Candidate. Sherlock Holmes. Murder on Orient Express. Suspect zero.
The two categories above also often deal with crime … but I believe the crime GANGSTER
drama demands a section on its own. Gangsters work in packs like wolves.
Hustle & Flow. Donnie Brasco. The Godfather. Gone in 60 Seconds. Bonnie & Clyde.
(Hip Hop drug Gang) (Mafia gang) (Mafia gang) (Car thieves gang ) (Thieves/Murderers)
The Bandits Four Brothers Scarface Hardball Point Break
(Thieves) (‘The Hood’ Gang) (Drug gang) (Neigbourhood Gangs) (Surf gang – hybrid sport)
If Action is known as the Male ultimate movie, the Melodrama is probably exactly the opposite. Often called the ‘Woman’s Weeper’. Well-drawn characters. Mostly the hero’s are women (not always). Melodrama used to terrify me, I thought it was all about weeping … until I understood what a melodrama was. There might be some tears (quite a lot of tears), but more importantly: the violence is emotional rather than physical. The antagonist can be a person; a social order; or an outside influence that places unreasonable constraints on the protagonist. The hero’s journey then, is to break the code of conduct of that social order. So Melodrama
then, in my opinion, can also include, medical drama’s, even battles with drugs can actually come into this genre.
A Girl Interrupted. A Dream of Passion. Kramer vs Kramer. Monster. Monster’s Ball.
(Antag mental illness) (Antag Societal Norms) (Antag female demands) (Antag – Abuse) (Antag – Death)
Erin Brokovitch Crazy / Beautiful Kinky Boots My Sister’s Keeper Changeling
(Corporate Antag)(Antag drink, depression)(Antag prejudice)(Antag Leukemia)(Antag Police corruption)
The Biopic is often classified as a slightly less lavish version of the Epic, however for historical films such as Troy or Alexander the Great that does not apply. Either way the same principles apply:big budgets, big cast, often period, (which automatically raises the budget), takes place over a vast period of time. Usually the Biopic will occur when the main character has passed along, when they are honoured for their greatness, sometimes even for the first time, often death substantiating their immortality. The Biopic needs to be an interesting person of history that can hold our attention for a long time. Often they are tragic figures and very often controversial figures also!As such, the Biopic often has to take an angle on the character in question, which in turn can be controversial in slant and direction.
The King’s Speech La Vie en Rose Troy Alexander the Great Chaplin
King George vi Edith Piaff Achillies rise to power Conquering Macedonia Charlie Chaplin
Sylvia Plath Beatrix Potter The Passion of Ayn Rand Walk the Line The Iron Lady
Depressed Poet Children’s Writer Existentialist Johnny Cash Margaret Thatcher
In the Name of the Father Capote Enid The Aviator The Doors
The Guildford Four Truman Capote Enid Blyton Howard Hughes Jim Morrison
Robin Hood Prince of Thieves Elizabeth 1 Malcolm X Frida Surviving Picasso
Historical based Elizabeth 1 Muslim Leader Frida Kahlo Pablo Picasso
The Sports Film has now become an enormous genre. I’ve made it Film slash Biopic because sometimes sports films include people who are real or existing, for example The Hurricane is a real story of how Ruben Hurricane Carter was released from a prison sentence after 16 years being wrongfully accused. Invictus is the real story of how the South African rugby team won the World Cup in 1995 after Mandela’s release in 1994. A river Runs through it is a hybrid Epic about a family that bonds through fly fishing over a lengthy period of time. So the Sports genre can be a hybrid but more often than not it ends with some big event which is pertinent to that sport such as a competition or festival, some kind of celebration. Often a win or a lose situation, for example Rocky ends with the Championship match, A Knights Tale ends with a championship match, so does Girlfight, Jerry Maguire, Driven, Hardball …
The Cutting Edge The Hurricane A Knight’s Tale Point Break The Horse Whisperer
Ice Skating Boxing – TRUE Story Jousting Surfing Horse Riding
Rocky Million Dollar Baby Chariots of Fire Girlfight Jerry Maguire
Boxing Boxing Athletics Boxing Football
A River Runs Through It The Fast & the Furious Hardball Invictus Driven
Fishing (Also Epic) Racing Football & Gambling Rugby (True) Formula 1
The term EPIC really relates to a style of film-making rather than a plot. Epics are the ultimate in movie making magic: Large sets, costumes, casts, sweeping landscapes, sweeping musical scores (designed specifically for the production), takes place over a lengthy period of time. Epics usually fall into the Biopic category, the Sports Biopic, or War dramas, demonstrated in the next two categories.There are very few clean Epics only. See if you can find more and make up your own minds … Here are a few fictional ones. Otherwise find them under Biopic or War category.
Legends of the Fall Ladies in Lavendar Brokeback Mountain Lord of the Rings Harry Potter
There are many people who have an indelible signature style, like John Wayne (Westerns Actor), John Ford (Westerns Director), Arthur Freed (Musicals), Alfred Hitchcock (Thriller Suspense), Errol Flynn (Romantic Adventure Swashbuckler). The samples I have chosen here are modern day actors or directors that I think are great in some way with signature style.
Quentin Tarrantino. Woody Allen. Johnny Depp. Guy Ritchie. Spike Lee.
(Violent anti-violence) (Psycho spoofs) (Anti-hero) (Lose style) (Black culture)
The signature of Film Noir is that it can actually be any genre, but it often relates to the Murder Mystery category because the overriding atmosphere, the look and feel, is dark, stark, sharp lines and camera angles, deep shadows and contrasts. Noir means ‘black’ in French and it’s an apt term. Often powerful men wielding guns,beautiful femme fatales wielding sex as fluidly as a gun, mostly for reasons of deception, betrayal, or manipulation. Film Noir is often played out at funerals, night-clubs, or in gangs, mafia locations. There can sometimes be touches of comedy (for example, The Sting has moments of Film Noir).
The Black Dahlia. The Third Man. Harold and Maud. A Kiss Before Dying. Nikita.
Josh Hartnett. Orson Welles. Brilliantly macarbre. Matt Dillon. Modern Femme Fatale.
In Bruges. Donnie Brasco. Wicker Park. Maltese Falcon. The Big Sleep.
Collin Farrell. Al Pacino. Josh Harnett. Humphrey Bogart Humphrey Bogart
Dark places Johnny Depp Femme fatale betrays Lauren Bacall.
Black Comedy is different from Film Noir in that it is written specifically as a comedy. But the comedy is a bit off-beat, dark, humorous in a deep, but thought provoking way.
Ally MacBeal. Death at a Funeral. Prizzi’s Honor. Penelope. 50 First Dates.
The Dance or music category bear very little explanation – they’re joyous, lift the spirit, usually end with an up ending, also can end in a performance, festival or celebration of some kind – generally the feeling is uplifting, even if it’s down its up (e.g. Black Swan.)
The Company Save the Last Dance Country Strong Bootmen Coyote Ugly
Honey Step Up Dance With Me Dirty Dancing Havanna Nights
White Nights. Shout. Greece. Saturday Night Fever. Black Swan. Center Stage.
Take the Lead Music From the Heart Tap August Rush Accross the Universe
Prison Dramas are becoming a huge category and as such might be forming their own genre. Real or fictional people have their own stories to tell of whether they were rightly or wrongly convicted, how the escaped the Law, and whether that law was ‘fair’ to them or not. Often they take a moral stance on the hero’s position, sometimes they can be real stories too. Notice how people in prisons are not only men. Women are developing their own take on prison dramas. Sometimes this category demands legal eagle dramas … or some kind of legal aid assistance.
Shawshank Redemption. Dead Man Walking. Redemption. Brubaker. Within these Walls
Paradise Road Prison Break Bad Girls Last Dance Cool Hand Luke
Man In the Iron Mask. Papillon. Kiss of the Spiderwoman. Brokedown Palace. Birdman of Alcatraz.
(Hybrid Action Adventure)
Need I say more, drugs are a huge chunk or what makes up the modern western
world. It’s not surprising that several of these stories have emerged.
Trainspotting. Candy. Riding in Cars with Boys Hustle & Flow. Blow.
Requiem for a Dream. Scarface. Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas. Carlito’s Way. American Gangster
The objective of Horror is to TERRIFY! PETRIFY! UNNERVE! SHATTER! It explores our most ghastly traits and existentialist fears of the unknown. Set in spooky mansions or dark locations with serial killers or vampires, Horror preys on our most primal fears and paranoias, you either ‘get it’ or you don’t. The violence is often escalated to such ridiculous heights that you have to laugh, so they can be called dark comedies. Teenagers dig screaming with their friends and laughing their heads off. … There’s a time and a place for horror. I wouldn’t suggest watching on your own though! Tread carefully or you’ll tread on your dreams … Often amplified by CGI and film noir techniques to depict with satanic rituals and characters like Dracula, Frankenstein:
Nightmare in Elm Street. Scream. From Dusk Till Dawn. Alien. Interview with the vampire.
Blair Witch Project. The Exorcist. Shining. Texas Chainsaw Massare. Lyfstraf.
War dramas are self-explanatory. War is something that has happened or is happening in many countries all over the world and will continue to be a source of debate and controversy. War Dramas can though, be seen also as Epics! Have a look at Gone with the Wind, Reds, The Patriot, Braveheart, often huge sets, huge budgets. If you haven’t seen it before … watch The Wind that Shakes the Barley. Not a huge budget, Irish film, but one of the saddest and most poignant you’ll ever see.
Gone with the Wind. Hart’s War. Pearl Habour. The Patriot. Braveheart.
Beyond Borders. Blood Diamond. Saving Private Ryan. GI Jane. Stop-Loss.
Courage Under Fire. Reds. The Wind that Shakes the Barley. Platoon. Private Benjamin.
Star Wars. Apocalypse Now. Black Hawk Down. War Horse. Dances with Wolves.
Storekeeper. Paperman. Wooden Camera. The Lunch Date. Bad Santa. (Billy Bob)
Dir: Gav Hood. 2013 Oscar Winner. Adam Davidson as student.
Raised funds for Tsotsi. Later … Greys Anatomy
Alive in Joburg. Multi-facial. The Big Shave. Doodlebug. Freiheit.
Raised funds for Tsotsi. Vin Diesel. Martin Scorsese Student film. Christopher Nolan. George Lucas.
South African Films are not widely celebrated all over the world and often pictures or information is hard to come by. The face of SA Film though is changing. We will continue to develop this section. Here are some of the best …
Cry the Beloved Country. Drum. Country of my Skull. Cry Freedom. Come Back Africa.
(v controversial) (Drum Magazine) (TRC Hearings) (Steve Biko/Donald Woods) (Lionel Rogosin)
As a writer you need soul inspiration from time to time, or maybe you just want to sit
under a tree for a while and peruse. I found all these resources useful at different times
depending on my needs.
The Artist’s Way. In the Realms of Angels. The Da Vinci Code. Goddess Cards. Celestine Prophecy.
For creative For those believers If you’re a believer… 40 amazing Ancient spiritual insights
spirits. in earth angels. goddesses. in Peru.
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