So, you want to make a movie? Good for you. If you’re gonna make a movie, you’ll have to figure out what kind of movie you want. It’s really not that hard, there’re only a few different types and they’re all pretty easy to figure out. This is Hollywood, where nothing is new or experimental. Everything follows a specific formula that never changes. Let’s explore the first one…
The Romantic Comedy: (Not to be confused with the Chick Flick, though it is a sub-genre.) This movie is important in American cinema. It’s much needed filler, in between the action, horror and comedy movies, that arrive in theaters. Much like a drink of water in between dinner courses at a fine restaurant, or eating a rice cake, the” rom-com” is a palate cleanser. It’s just so much fluff. Without the “rom-com” theaters would be so full of movies that people actually want to see, that people won’t be able to make up their minds, and society will collapse from indecision (if it hasn’t already collapsed financially.)
There are some important elements to a romantic comedy: At least one person in the couple-to-be needs to have some kind of quirky or off-beat job. This job should require very little work, but provide the character with all the money they’ll ever need. The characters who are to be romantically linked cannot meet in a normal way, like at a bar or at work. They have to be thrown together in a way that doesn’t make a lick of sense and is most likely impossible. Examples include:
One person is a ghost
One person is an angel
One person pretends to be a chick but is actually a dude
The characters win the lottery together somehow
Make up your own unlikely ways for your characters to meet. Don’t worry if it seems totally outrageous, women will still flock to the theaters in droves. Hell, make one of ‘em a cartoon character. I don’t think that’s been done yet, (though I could be wrong, there are literally 3 billion romantic comedies out there.)
Also your movie needs to star either Cameron Diaz, Kate Hudson or, most likely, Drew Barrymore, as the female lead. The male lead can be Matthew McConaughey, Hugh Grant, or some other non-threatening white male, possibly with a foreign accent.
A rom-com with just two people falling in love is really nothing more than a romance flick. So you’ll need a wacky family member or wacky friend/neighbor. This side character is there simply to say what’s on the mind of the audience members (“Kiss the bitch already! Put me out of my misery!”) and gets most of the laughs. Often, this poor soul will carry the film.
Most rom-coms also include at least one ruined wedding and typically have one of the main characters having to leave an established relationship to enter in a new one so that the movie can exist.
The rom-com can end in one of two ways. The first way is one person in the relationship does something completely outrageous and stupid to demonstrate their love for the other person. Of course, in real life, such action is highly unrealistic because, to be honest, nobody is really that much in love, or that committed to a relationship to run across a baseball field barefoot, or purposely lose a career-making court case. Besides, behavior that is considered romantic in a rom-com is considered obsessive in real life.
The second type of ending is the most common and is the simplest. It simply involves one character running to or through an airport to stop the other person from leaving his/her life forever. It should be an airport, although, bus stations, train stations and cabs are also acceptable.
The most important thing is to end the movie right when the couple gets back together, but before we can see any awkward fights, or the inevitable break-up that will occur within a few months. This is the best way to confirm the concept that love is the best thing in the entire world and is totally worth all the crap you go through. It’s upbeat and saps in today’s audiences need that.
Join me next time when I explain how to make a horror movie.