The push to push you to learn what you need to learn to succeed as a professional screenwriter continues here at GITS.
There is 1, 2, 7, 14, a simple formula to be a more productive and better screenwriter.
There is Deep Focus: The Go Into The Movies Project, a poor person’s version of film school to help you immerse yourself in the world of movies.
There is How I Write A Script, a 10 stage approach to the actual process of writing a full-length original screenplay.
There is How To Read A Screenplay, a series of exercises you can use to dig into and unlock the secrets of a script, its structure, characters, theme and style.
There is The Business of Screenwriting, weekly posts on business side of the craft.
There is The Story Behind Script Coverage, a detailed analysis of a major Hollywood agency’s training packet for script readers.
And ongoing series such as Great Characters, Scene Description Spotlight, Script To Screen, and so forth.
Now the next series to help you learn and succeed: Genre Essentials. It all started here.
I have gotten to know a lot of screenwriters through the years including many of those who have broken into the business recently. In talking with or interviewing them, there is one thing I find they have in common: They know their stuff, particularly about the genre in which they write.
This is important: When you are writing an original screenplay within a specific genre, you really should know the heart, soul and guts of that genre. This will inform every step of your creative and writing process: concept, character development, brainstorming, plotting, tone, style, atmosphere, voice, pace, and so on. There are certain attributes common to each genre, and you need to know as much about them as possible, if you want to follow, reverse or break those conventions.
Obviously you can’t read and watch everything, but isn’t there a way to cover the essentials?
Which led me to a new GITS series: Genre Essentials.
Take the eight most common genres: Action, Comedy, Drama, Family, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction, Thriller.
Combine with five content areas: Movies, Scripts, Books [Fiction], Books [Non-Fiction], Resource.
Use the suggestions of the GITS community to generate a list of essential study for each genre.
Here is the schedule:
July 9-July 13: Action
July 16-July 20: Comedy
July 23-July 27: Drama
July 30-August 3: Family
August 6-10: Fantasy
August 13-17: Horror
August 20-24: Science Fiction
August 27-31: Thriller
For this to work, we all need to pitch in with suggestions. This is especially true for those of you who are fans of a certain genre. I’m asking every GITS reader to spend some time over the July 4th holiday week thinking up useful titles for these:
– 10 Movies You Must See
– 10 Scripts You Must Analyze
– 10 Books [Fiction] You Must Read
– 10 Book [Non-Fiction] You Must Cover
– 10 Resources [Blogs, Websites, Journals, Magazines] You Must Track
I am talking about titles you will need to know when you break into the business — for general meetings, script meetings, OWA meetings, and as noted for your own benefit as a writer. What have writers and filmmakers done before? What commonalities can you find between them? What differences? What is the core content you must know in order to be able to give yourself a decent shot at nailing a script within a particular genre?
Genre Essentials: If you read, watch and analyze these, you will give yourself a foundation upon which you can build your understanding of one or more of the eight genres in which Hollywood traffics.
This week: Comedy.
Today: 10 Comedy Movie You Must See.
Please post your suggestions in comments. Tomorrow and the rest of the week, let’s do our best to generate quality suggestions for the other categories.
Next week: Drama.
Note: I will aim to post a summary of Action recommendations this weekend.
UPDATE: I’m happy to announce that Shaula Evans, who as I’m sure you have noticed has been an active presence in this series and others, has agreed to oversee the flow of resource suggestions for Genre Essentials. My current thinking is whittle down the choices to something on the order of 20 titles [where we have that many], then put them up to a vote of the GITS community to end up with 10 top choices. How does that sound? Meanwhile thanks, Shaula, for the help!