Comedy; Giggly Misadventure Galore

Sometimes, you just want a funny, enjoyable movie, where you can cry tears of joy and slap your knee like a seal because it’s just so damn witty and gut-gigglingly funny. Comedy films want you to react like this. Some do succeed, but a lot often miss the mark.

Comedy is usually found in many other genres, to lighten the mood and relax audiences a bit, so you could call it a ‘hybrid genre’.

In Groundhog Day, a grumpy weatherman finds himself reliving the exact same endlessly, and the end result is a bucket of humour. They all include similar characteristics.

The setting is bright and uses a lot of landmarks in cities.

Characters are usually quite idiotic and can contrast to their group of polar opposites.

The plot could be a trip abroad, gaining money or visiting family or friends.

Here is how to make an effective comedy film:

Less Is More

A film with a few excellent jokes in a film are better and more skilled than a film with hundreds of mediocre ones.

Magnify On What’s Mundane

If you spend time making someone brushing their teeth a gem of a scene, then you’ve got a good comedy, because it focuses on the everyday acts. We can all relate to them, that’s why they’re usually hilarious.

And finally;

Utilise Visual Gags

Edgar Wright, all the way.

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How ‘Doctor Who’s Eleventh Series Split The Fandom

They say that 13 is an unlucky number, and that is true for Doctor Who, and its latest incarnation, Jodie Whittaker, the first female Doctor. For some, she struck a chord with and they loved her, but for others, they made their hatred for Series 11 very vocal.

Some fans have become so full of malice, that many are calling the fandom of Doctor Who ‘toxic’ and ‘unpleasant’. This newfound prolific behaviour was at its peak at the halfway mark of the series, where the two weakest episodes arose to criticism not seen in the fandom before.

But, to the series’ credit, the majority of fans praised episodes like Rosa and Kerblam! which showed deep emotional nuance and a return to traditional Who which some have grown to miss. However, only one episode stuck to the roots of classic Doctor Who. Everything else remained vastly different to what we’ve seen before.

This was what Chris Chibnall, the show’s new head writer after Moffat’s leave in December of last year, hoped to achieve. No old enemies came back, the format had changed mechanically. Episodes were on a Sunday afternoon, there were 2 less episodes with slightly longer run times, and a general difference of tone.

Last year, many eager fans of Who waited for Wimbledon to end, and find out who the next Doctor would be. While many rejoiced at Jodie being the chosen one, some fans weren’t at all pleased. They claimed the show had become self-indulgent pandering to every demographic.

There’s still a hashtag roaming on Twitter. #NotMyDoctor.

Another common issue many have, even some of the patrons had to concur later on, was the sudden introduction to three companions travelling with Whittaker simultaneously.

Many expressed that having a triad of characters with The Doctor would be too much to juggle, and each would feel less rich or developed then previous characters. Fortunately, Ryan and Graham do get a satisfactory arc relating to their dynamic as family and now the death of a loved one can bring people together.

Yasmin Khan has had the least development and hasn’t been fully fleshed out, which is ironic considering she had two episodes revolved around her and her family.

Along with alterations to the basics, the growing sense of social commentary and justice was on full showcase with these episodes. Each representing some flaw with society in a not-so-subtle manner, at times feeling pretentious and far too left-wing for a show about sci-fi.

The only episode to seemingly benefit from the preaching is Rosa, where our ensemble go to the 50’s to meet Rosa Parks, and it gets really emotionally.

Now, Doctor Who has a lot of lore, after all, it’s one been on for 55 years, and mythology is guaranteed to snowball. But Chibnall has seeming left all the established tidbits of Doctor Who’s universe in place for an all-new slate of world building. Fans wished to see more than throwaway lines of past events or characters.

One of the greatest pitfalls of Series 11 is the antagonists, all new.

Tim Shaw – Suffered from cliches, general incompetence and a lack of any interesting personality.

The Rags – They didn’t do anything!

Tate Krasko – Apparently a racist who slaughtered thousands and ended up in Stormcage, But was made inept by a chip implanted in him.

Jack Robertson – Too akin to the current POTUS to have any real character.

Pting – What’s meant to a deadly killer is actually a cute little dude perfect for a bobblehead.

I could go on…

Generally, The Doctor hasn’t been facing actual monsters, but instead human nature, further pushing the social commentary agenda down our throats. Prejudice, pride, greed, selfishness and psychopathy.

Doctor Who has always been a source for controversy and discussion, but this series has fractured the fans, made most bitter and now they pray that ‘Resolution’ the New Year special, Can relight the old spark they’ve lost this year.

Thankfully, the fandom will have to regroup and make peace again, with another year of no Doctor Who, Series 12 will arrive in early 2020.

I’m still hopeful that the New Year special will be good, and convert some fans back to their previous ways.

Horror: Feasting On Your Fears

Ghosts and slashers, blood and screaming, all wrapped into one messy and often cliche’d genre.

Horror has one aim; to scare you, and it’s been trying to scare you for well over a century. However, they do vary from subject to subject. Whether it’s a psychological drama thriller or a slasher with a final girl or a monster movie.

The Student Of Prague, a 1913 German horror was the first unique film to consolidate a genre of storytelling. Then years later, filmmakers took pieces of it and the cycle repeated until the point we’re at now. However, it wasn’t until the 30’s and 40’s that horror really took off.

So, horror sounds relatively simple, right? Wrong, it’s a nightmare to get right and most writers or directors fail to truly encapsulate a sense of dread, something which is subjective.

Here are 6 objective tips to help you forge a killer horror story.

1. Have A Strong, Prominent Tone

Having a consistent and strong tone can send spines down people. Work at creating atmospherics mood and tone, and you’re readers will have uneasiness stalk them through the pages.

2. Read About Horror, Real Or Not

Remember The Exorcist? An example of how a directors vision can make for a revolutionary movie with high stakes and not withdrawing any intensity.

Give that a watch, take notes, analyse the tactics used. Another useful thing is to read. Go to your local book shop and nab a copy of a Stephen King book, and do the same.

You want to take snippets from the best of the best and mould them into your own unique style which will attract the attention of anyone.

3. Give Characters Wickedness & Good Motivations

When writing a novel or screenplay, nobody should be sitting by, waiting to murder you for no reason, because nobody is that much of a dick. Remember Michael Myers? Yeah, he was just…eh, I got nothing, guy’s a freak.

If your book has a malevolent force, give them purpose, give them that incentive to be assholes do people, specifically attractive teenagers.

4. Tug At The Heartstrings

Most of excellent horror includes the theme of tragedy, in one shape of another.

Tragedy is best used to reveal and flesh out character flaws, through bad decision under pressure from the circumstances and through grave missteps. Show us something verging on the line between reality and dreamlike, like Freddy Krueger.

5. Understand Common Human Fears

Horror has to scare you, so why should it not tap into your mind and extract every morsel of fear in it and project it into a book.

Whether it’s spiders, snakes or even the dark, if it resonates with audiences, it’s likely due to them sharing similar scenarios with a character.

6. Terror and Horror Are Different

Terror is a feeling of unease or dread that is before a frightful experience whereas horror is the feeling of revulsion followed by a scare or ghost sheet.

Science Fiction: From The Moon To The Future

One of the genres I find to be the most fascinating and broad is sci-fi. It is a genre which begs for questions and inventiveness. Most of the concepts are imaginary and possibly won’t happen in thousands of years.

Well, that’s how I define it, since it has many different definitions all from excellent writers, so it is hard to nail down what sci-fi is really about.

Sci-fi really took off in the mid 1900’s, when people started caring more about science and how space and pure future theory. It was also influenced by the rapid changes and new inventions due to technological innovations.

Sci-fi is often said to induce a ‘state of wonder’ in people. We get theorising into what our future will look like. It’s also been used as a means of social protest, films such as Avatar were against imperialism.

So, how do we write good sci-fi?

Well, there are three golden rules to sci-fi novels and films.

1. Know Your Thesis

Basically, a thesis is a theory about something, typically scientific. It can easy to get lost in your own fictional worlds and lose track of what it is you had originally set out to do.

What’s the point of the world(s)? Try and take the ‘science’ out of sci-fi as more of an apple than just a topic. Use your book as a case study, an experiment if you will.

Knowing the purpose of your world will cut off any inconsistency. Clarify your idea as well.

2 Do Research. Lots And Lots.

Once you have your idea, or thesis, it’s time to hit up literally any website besides Wikipedia! Some of the greatest writers all did an exhaustive amount of research.

Margaret Atwood, famous author of The Handmaid’s Tale said that e ‘every concept in the book is based off of something that happened in history or another place’.

The research you’ll be doing has to have some link to Rule 1, your thesis. Questions such as ‘what if aliens were in the fifties?’ or ‘when we are asleep, we go deaf’ all have at least one event loosely similar.

Details sell sci-fi. Your research will pay off in no time.

So once you have your thesis and research checked off the list, it’s time to get brave.

3. Don’t Be Afraid Of The New

Don’t get confused just yet.

Sci-fi is all about asking big questions, about morales and hypothetical scenarios which are unlikely to occur in my lifetime. It’s a daring genre because it doesn’t just talk about current events and topics, it is a forecast for the future.

Because of this, it’s important to have something in your story that is 100% unique. Have your idea be shared, have your voice sold to the millions!

What new insights does your sci-fi have to offer?

List of Genres

A genre is a piece of media that falls under certain tropes or markers, and thus is a type of film.

For example, action movies contain a lot of tension and physical conflict, typically with explosions, guns and some profanity.

Here is a list of genres (most you’re probably aware exist).

Action

Comedy

Dystopian

Horror

Fantasy

Sci-Fi

Crime/Mystery

Romance

Superhero

Historical Fiction

Non-fiction

Drama

Children

Coming-of-Age

Thriller

I will make posts about all these genres. Get ready.

IT’S GENRE SEASON…

Showing VS Telling

This post is easily linkable to my last two blog posts.

It’s a cardinal rule to show, and not tell, as it gets praise from readers and makes your writing far more intriguing.

Showing is when you use a bit of flair and creativity to express emotion of something. It can typically involve the environment or an action.

Telling normally involves adverbs. It summarises what happens. Simply telling us what is occurring.

Telling

He was sad to see his girlfriend leave.

Showing

He wiped away a tear as his girlfriend left.

In the latter example, the writing is more vivid and we feel more sympathetic for the character. Whereas telling is bland and boring, requiring no interpretation from readers.

So how do you get your writing from telling to showing?

Use Powerful Verbs

Sometimes, those synonyms aren’t entirely redundant and help you. Walk can be replaced by more vivid verbs such as gallop or saunter, which can help with characterisation.

Include The Five Senses

Not only do these describe your sentences better, but they show. Sure, it can morph a simple statement into a paragraph, but for the art of writing, it’s for a good cause.

Use Dialogue

Showing the thoughts of a character verbally can enhance your writing.

Use Specific Nouns and Adjectives Which Paint A Picture In Your Head

The house was creepy. Isn’t a very innovative sentence, how can we improve it?

Only a single dim candle lit the room. The house smelled like dust and rotting wood, and something faintly metallic that made John think of blood. Stuffed animals were mounted around the room: a wild-eyed buck, a grizzly frozen in fury, a screech owl with sharp yellow talons.

The bottom line is, in a majority of situations, showing is far better than telling.

How To Avoid Adverbs

You’d think a word which can modify a sentence or noun would make your writing better and more visceral, no?

Well, you’re wrong.

Adverbs can in fact kill your prose.

The road to Hell is paved with adverbs. – Stephen King

There are nearly 4000 adverbs. A lot of them end in -ly and they’re all basically worthless. Whatever witch made them should’ve been shunned, because they really don’t serve a purpose.

They tell everything, and show nothing.

It’s a warm day.

I’ve seen that example in a few bestsellers as of late, and it’s hilarious. I thought there was a term for that? Oh yeah!

It’s a hot day.

There, you’ve saved your editor a second of their busy life.

  • Don’t be lazy in your writing, finding the right word is never going to hurt.
  • Avert from adverbs which state the obvious.
  • If you think your sentence is too short, don’t add adverbs to lengthen it.
  • Train yourself to look out for adverbs whilst editing.
  • When and if you spot one, think of how to reword it, there’s always another way in writing.

There is one exception.

Only use adverbs when it’s 100% necessary and the sentence doesn’t have the same meaning without it.