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cinematic action, goal, human experience, protagonist, stakes, ticking clock, universal interest -

Lately, I’ve been watching THE BEAR. It’s a single-camera workplace half-hour comedy in construction, but as it takes place in a sandwich shop, with a chef for a protagonist, it’s also a cooking show. It is not the only cooking show; there are entire cable channels devoted this this sub-genre. We have star chefs who are famous with the general public. Cooking holds eternal interest for the viewing audience. It’s a very cinematic activity. We have a cacophonic ballet of action: roaring flames, clattering pots and pans, slicing knives, steam rising, ingredients sprinkling, the chef in constant activity and motion....

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Detective genre, FARGO, FROM HELL, MISSOURI, script tropes, SE7EV, THREE BILLBOARD OUTSIDE EBBINGS, TRUE DETECTIVE -

Let’s continue our conversation about detective script tropes. If the killer isn’t pursuing a Killer, then there is a 90% chance the case will Go All the Way to the Top. Meaning case or corruption in question will eventually be shown to involve businesspeople, politicians, clergy, etc. Back in the late-‘90s when everyone seemed to be writing nothing but detective scripts, every once in a while the Killer would also Go All the Way to the Top. We sometimes see that occur in produced titles like TRUE DETECTIVE and FROM HELL. However, the past several years we have seen a...

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Here are a few loose thoughts on naming characters. Admitted, it’s mostly a lot of “what not to do,” but when you read a lot of scripts you’ll see some common tropes and missteps. * If our character is the protagonist of an action movie, detective thriller, or other story in which he’s meant to be a tough guy, it’s better to avoid the cliché of calling him something like Jack Slade or John Stone. Sure, we get it; the geological last name implies solidity, the J-sound first name provides contrast. But simply put if I pick up an action...

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The Detective Script is so named because the protagonist is a detective. About 25% of the time he’s a private detective. If the detective works for a city, about 75% of the time it’s New York. The detective is almost always (90%) divorced or separated. Otherwise, he’s a widower. If the detective is married and she’s still alive, his wife will (90%) become a victim of the antagonist, or at least be menaced. If the detective is divorced or separated, there is very frequently (80%) a kid involved. The child always lives with the mother; the detective might have visitation....

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"Telling of the Legend", "The Campfire Story", CANDYMAN, DARK SKIES, INSIDIOUS, Professor Exposition, SINISTER, THE CONJURING, THE EXORCIST, tropes -

There is a trope character I like to call “Professor Exposition.” We often see Professor Exposition appear in horror movies. This is the character who explains to the leads (and by extension the audience) what is doing the haunting, perhaps a bit of backstory, and how to potentially stop it. He’s called Professor Exposition because this is a character whose primary story function is to deliver a pure blast of exposition, straight no chaser. Typically, exposition is a necessary evil, with an emphasis on evil, because exposition is boring, and it’s very hard to write and act this stuff in...

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