Rewriting Genre

Taking a movie out of the genre it was written for can be an excellent lesson in understanding what a genre is.

The Exercise

Re-write your favorite scene from a movie as if it were part of

  • A western
  • A horror film
  • A science fiction film.
  • Genres

    Written/Contributed by Hal Ackerman

    Two cars, a sports car and an SUV arrive at the same parking spot. Write the scene or sequence of scenes in
    a. A Romantic Comedy
    b. An Action Adventure
    c. A Film Noir mystery
    d. Science Fiction

    You may change the vehicles and characters inhabiting them as you please.

    Turning Point

    Usually, a movie’s plot is what draws me to it and its’ plot twists are what keep me there. Your Task: Watch 10 movies and identify the turning points in the plot. Answer these questions: How did these turning points happen? Was there a consistent theme from movie to movie?

    Exposition

    Expository dialogue builds our characters personality. It gives the audience a chance to learn more about who our character is. For example, in the movie “Adaptation,” much of the voice over that is used is built as an internal monologue that gives the audience an idea of the main character, Charlie’s intense inner critic. Your Task: Identify one scene in a movie where expository dialogue is used. Now, write your own 1-page scene that involves this kind of dialogue.

    The Producer Calls

    A producer calls you. He wants to see you work on the fly. He wants to see how creative and sharp you can be. Your task: Come up with 25 original movie titles in 10 minutes.

    Can't Stand It

    I was talking to a grocery store clerk about writing the other day, when he asked, “How do you write about characters that you can’t stand?” I responded with saying, “finding compassion for our characters gives us the ability to understand them more which helps when we write their lives.” Your task: Pick a person you dislike. Write a 1-page synopsis for a plot based on their life as a hero’s journey.

    Beyond Google

    Google has become so popular as a search tool that it often becomes the only instrument used when doing internet research. Expanding our horizons gives us more information from a variety of sources. Your Task: Read “Conducting Research on the Internet.” Now, using 3 methods from this article, research a random subject to come up with 5 facts.

    Practicing Writing Plots

    Let’s practice developing plots. Your Task: Take a movie that you’re working on that uses the 3-act structure. If you don’t have one, download a screenplay online. Identify plot point 1 and brainstorm 25 other possible scenarios.

    An Example of Place

    Examining how others view and use place will give us a better idea of how we can use it to strengthen our stories.

    The Exercise

    Watch a movie set in a country that was made by someone who’s not from there.
    Watch two movies set in the same country made by people who are from there.

    Journal

    How is place perceived and setup differently?

    Being The Writer I Want To Be

    What internal or external forces impede your ability to write? Our capacity to understand and permeate these forces can build our power as a writer.

    The Exercise

    List 10 things that stop you from being the writer you want to be.
    Brainstorm three possible solutions for overcoming each obstacle on your list.
    Plan a date on your calendar to work on one of these solutions.

    creative screenwriting exercises (Get the book for all 101 exercises)