Focusing on comedies, let’s take a look at what makes you laugh.
Watch a comedy that you think is actually funny.
Watch it again.
On the second time through, note the jokes that made you laugh.
What are the common threads in the jokes that really make me laugh?
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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?
A plot device is a person or object in a story that is used to advance the plot. Your task: Identify the plot and at least one plot device in 5 movies.
Written/Contributed by Hal Ackerman
Two people are in bed. A siren or alarm is heard. Or the phone rings. Or a doorbell. WRITE THE SCENE.
You will have to ask yourself: Who are these people? Who are they to each other? What are the immediate circumstances? How does the alarm affect them? What do they do? Are they at cross-purposes? How so?
Place ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances or extraordinary people in ordinary circumstances.
Adding depth and balance to your characters will create a richer story.
Write a one-page essay about the emotional life of an over-the-top character from a comedy that you’ve seen.
Create a “Ten things I do for fun…” list for a character from a moving drama.
Dialogue can be used as an exposition of character. It can also be used to advance action. Advancing action moves the plot forward from one scene to the next. Your task: Write a 2-page scene where dialogue is used to advance action.
Have you ever seen Ghost in the Shell? There’s a contemplative movement in the second act where the main character watches the city go by. It’s a perfect example of place as action. The pensive main character is taken away by place in a moment that gives the viewer a chance to reflect on the action and philosophy in the movie. Are there other examples of place as action? Can place move the plot forward?
Brainstorm five movie scenes where place is a defining factor in the scene.
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.
With the Internet around, it’s easy to forget other avenues of research. These other sources, however, can oftentimes provide more thorough information. Your Task: Re-acquaint yourself with research methods. One quick way to do so is to read this tutorial from the Houston Community College Library.