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Giles Bowkett

There's a great book called 'Everything Bad Is Good For You' which charts complexity in screenplay structure over the past 50 years or so and shows a real evolution to more complex stories. It draws some interesting lessons from structure also. I was thinking of that recently because there's a fantastic French romantic comedy called 'Bon Voyage' with an unusually well-developed female Bellamy - in fact not only is the Bellamy unusually three-dimensional, but she has a Bellamy herself - and I was trying to compare the difference in complexity across cultures with the difference in complexity across time, i.e., is 'Bon Voyage' more complicated because it's French or because it's recent? (I think the answer is 'yes.')

E.C. Henry

I think the structure of romantic comedies tells us that at its core romantic comedies are built to take a propespective couple on rollercoaster ride where the audience is rooting for this couple to succeed against the odds pitted against them.

Recent gains via Judd Apatow's offerings are have shown men in our culture CAN be lured into a genre previously geared for a woman's need to be romanced.

Race? Class? Culutral myths? Too broad a speculation for an entire genre, my dear Julianna. In my opinion, you sould impose questions like those on a SPECIFIC MOVIE -- not the genre as a whole. 'Cuz when you study the rom-com genre you'll soon find it's quite diverse. "Chasing Amy" v.s. "Sleepless in Seattle?" Broad questions invite the daring to write stories that defy the "assumed" norm. Like what Charlie Kaufman did with "Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind;" a rom-com turned inside out, masterfully done I might add.

When I think of structure I think of MEANING. Billy's seven beats are supposed to build towards a MEANING. What does this couple's being together mean? Billy has said something of this sort before, and I agree with that.

Hope this helps. Great question, Julianna. Thoughts like that are the germs that lead to good, thought provoking writing. Now go write something awesome -- and give Billy all the credit!

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA


I think, like Giles, that story structure can look different depending on culture, and that the differences can be wonderful and exciting. But as a European and a Swede, I must say that very often - especially when it comes to commercial genres like romcom - it's a question of lacking knowledge and an unwillingness to learn. The attitude among both directors, writers and actors here most often is: "I'm an artist and I don't listen to anyone", and then the result is something that might be interesting by accident, but more often just another failed effort to make a Hollywood-kind of movie. Sorry to say, but true.
(Besides, I saw PATRIK this weekend and got disappointed, for this reason. Promising premise, but in my opinion a very lame and predictable story.)


I think the idea of "The One" is very comforting, both in terms of religion and love.

Slightly difficult to believe, but so tempting...tempting enough to make me say 'amen' to both.

Joanna Farnsworth

The structure of Romantic Comedies isn't about culture or gender or power or sexuality or race or class or cultural myths. It's about love. The great equalizer. But HOW it's about love is what makes the movie.


Giles: I'll look for that book (and that movie).

EC: Glad you brought that up -- "what this couple getting together MEANS" is indeed where the thematic specificity of a given rom-com lies.

Anna: That kind of communication lack (or inability to look past one's own ideas and be open to others) is unfortunately endemic to all genres in Hollywood -- and for that matter, in that thing we call "real life"...

J: The First Temptation of Life, perhaps.

Joanna: I'll amen that (see my response to EC, above).

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The one thing that is always true about romantic comedies is that the love is always wins. This films are reminding me a good stake in the restaurant or creme brulle dessert, you know what you get and you always come back for more.

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How so romantic in these kind of relationship is acceptable that sexual desire might be a natural part of love, but that the total feeling was more spiritual, an intense one-ness, didn't jibe with classical teachings.


Kettner Florez

I am just so in love with love stories. It could be plain love story or a comedy love story or a heavy drama. I just simply love them all!
My lesson now is on writing, perhaps I can share the tips I learned from this site. Thanks!

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