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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Screenwriting Discussion    The 2019 Writers' Tournament  ›  Writers' Tournament Round 1 Scripts. Moderators: Mr. Blonde
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  Author    Writers' Tournament Round 1 Scripts.  (currently 10538 views)
Dustin
Posted: June 4th, 2019, 12:03pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


Action speaks louder...

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I'd also like it if we could start a discussion on defining genre-fusion. Particularly with comedy horror. It is impossible to make people laugh and then have them genuinely afraid. They're such opposites that any attempt at it would be completely jarring and just not work.

Horror comedy is just a comedy with horror elements. In essence it can only ever be a comedy where the horror is played for laughs. Writers attempting to mix comedy with straight horror are making a mistake, IMO. Reviewers expecting writers to pull something like that off are also making a mistake.


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Mr. Blonde
Posted: June 4th, 2019, 12:10pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dustin
I'd also like it if we could start a discussion on defining genre-fusion. Particularly with comedy horror. It is impossible to make people laugh and then have them genuinely afraid. They're such opposites that any attempt at it would be completely jarring and just not work.

Horror comedy is just a comedy with horror elements. In essence it can only ever be a comedy where the horror is played for laughs. Writers attempting to mix comedy with straight horror are making a mistake, IMO. Reviewers expecting writers to pull something like that off are also making a mistake.


I'll do my best to define it. A horror-comedy isn't always horrific, nor is it always comedic. The idea is to either strike the balance between the two or alternate as the scene dictates. It would be like saying you're writing an action-comedy, but the action is always comedic. If you do that, they won't feel like there are any stakes because you can't take the situation seriously.

But, as I've said before, judge it how you feel they accomplished the parameters. If you feel nobody can do it properly, at least everyone will be on the same playing field in your scores.


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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: June 4th, 2019, 12:14pm Report to Moderator
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Comedy horror and horror comedy can be seen as two different genres.

The first is a comedy with scares or at least using horror tropes. Like Shaun of the Dead, Tucker and Dale, and at the very extreme end, Scary Movie.

The second is a horror with laughs. Like Scream or Evil dead 2. They are scary, but also have a strong vein of humour.

It's totally possible to both scare and make you laugh in the same film. Wolf Creek is very scary, but the antagonist is also extremely funny.
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Dustin
Posted: June 4th, 2019, 12:16pm Report to Moderator
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Action speaks louder...

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I believe this stretches across the board... but only with mixing comedy. An action comedy is also just a comedy. Even if we get a superb action fight scene, this will be played off afterwards as being humorous for some reason or another. Either the action was so good as to be beyond comprehensible belief, wink, wink, nudge, nudge... or it is funny because it comes from a character that wouldn't usually be able to do that... a blind guy with a white cane, for example. The bad guys are usually hyperblown and play it dead straight, which makes it funnier. Even though there may be some great action sequences, the comedy will never be far away.


OK... maybe comedy drama and comedy romance work well together. It's possible to merge those successfully where both genres have an equal strength.

You can't do that with comedy horror, it just couldn't work. I'm open to hearing some examples and/or contrary arguments.


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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: June 4th, 2019, 12:20pm Report to Moderator
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There are loads of examples from Brain dead, bad taste, Tremors, Gremilns, Troll Hunter. Literally hundreds.
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Dustin
Posted: June 4th, 2019, 12:23pm Report to Moderator
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Action speaks louder...

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Quoted from Scar Tissue Films

Like Scream or Evil dead 2. They are scary, but also have a strong vein of humour.


I disagree. They're not scary at all. They're both intended to make the audience laugh. The only people that are scared are the fake characters within the comedy that play it straight.


Quoted Text

It's totally possible to both scare and make you laugh in the same film. Wolf Creek is very scary, but the antagonist is also extremely funny.


That's not what I'm talking about. Genre mashing is deeper than that. Every story will have ups and downs. Wolf Creek isn't a comedy at all. A guy can tell a few jokes but it doesn't make it a comedy.

I think some genres naturally lend themselves to others better. You can't have a horror comedy, or comedy horror... that's just semantics. I can't think of one comedy horror, or horror comedy that isn't at its heart simply a comedy. Once you make people laugh, the horror is gone.


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Dreamscale
Posted: June 4th, 2019, 12:29pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from ReneC


Actually, it would still get a 1 (Meets Criteria Y=5, N=1), which is the same as if a writer didn't submit anything at all. So a minimum of 5 points no matter what.


OK, got it.  I thought if it gets a "N" in meets criteria, it would be a ZERO, but now I see it's a minimum of 1 in each category.  My scorecard has been updated now.

Thanks.



To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: June 4th, 2019, 12:34pm Report to Moderator
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I don't know what to tell you.

It's a well established genre.

Scream was a slasher film, but was so self aware it was also a parody of slasher films and thus comedic, also. Shaun of the dead was a comedy at heart but used the genre beats, premise and scare tactics of zombie films. They both worked.

Most horror films, stories etc aren't actually scary. They're still horror. Those that manage it are gold, like the tiny number of comedies that are actually funny. The films that make you scared and make you laugh are probably even fewer.


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Dreamscale
Posted: June 4th, 2019, 12:36pm Report to Moderator
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Scream and Wolf Creek are not comedies in any way, and are 2 completely different movies, in terms of tone.

Mick Taylor is indeed quite funny, in a psychotic way, but what he does to his victims is indeed quite horrific and even troubling.

The characters in Scream can be quite funny, but again, the tone is far from comedy, although it's much more "acceptable" to main stream audiences, due to its wink wink nature.


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: June 4th, 2019, 12:42pm Report to Moderator
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Where we'd probably agree is that most people in the tournament failed to find the right balance, whichever angle they were coming from. Mostly because people go too surreal., Imo.

For some reason when most people do comedy on here, it's always surrealist fantasy. Some really mad scenario, with really mad character reactions to it. I don't get the sense that's how comedy actually works, but I'm not an expert.
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Zack
Posted: June 4th, 2019, 12:46pm Report to Moderator
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Don't get it right. Get it written.

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The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a black comedy, though I'd argue it's scarier than it is funny.

And Scream is not a comedy. Humourous, but still quite horrific IMO.


An example of my writing...

FOR SATAN - short, horror, 14 pgs (revised draft) - A group of thrill-seekers explore a creepy old house on Halloween night. Think you know this story? Think again.
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: June 4th, 2019, 12:49pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dreamscale
Scream and Wolf Creek are not comedies in any way, and are 2 completely different movies, in terms of tone.

Mick Taylor is indeed quite funny, in a psychotic way, but what he does to his victims is indeed quite horrific and even troubling.

The characters in Scream can be quite funny, but again, the tone is far from comedy, although it's much more "acceptable" to main stream audiences, due to its wink wink nature.


I agree. I mentioned wolf creek because he said its impossible for a film to scare you and make you laugh.. Mick Taylor proves that it's possible. Freddy Krueger was similar. He has a psychotic humour. It's not that easy, because you need to be expert at both horror and comedy.

There's a scale from outright comedy horror. Scary Movie, Rocky horror show  all the way to extreme horror that can also be funny... At the extreme end the humour is usually extremely dark, even troubling, like you say.

Scream is a horror comedy. Definitely more horror than comedy, but there are still elements of both humour and parody, which is a comedic genre.
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leitskev
Posted: June 4th, 2019, 1:02pm Report to Moderator
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I think we need to be as generous as possible when it comes to defining genre. One thing I learned when I first came here years ago is that many people have a very narrow definition of horror. For example, most people here at that time would not include a ghost story as horror. For me, most ghost stories would fit. There's a wide range in horror, from ghost to gore. And then once you start combining genres, no one's going to agree.

I enjoy reading Rick's posts because of his movie knowledge, which I severely lack. I never would have even thought about the difference between comedy/horror and horror/comedy. But there does seem to be an interesting difference now that it's pointed out to me.

But for this contest, expectations should not be too rigid. If there are elements of horror and some attempts at humor, I'm satisfied the criteria is met. Hard enough to come up with a good story in 72 hours, only 5 pages, and a bobble head!
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Mr. Blonde
Posted: June 4th, 2019, 1:11pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from leitskev
But for this contest, expectations should not be too rigid. If there are elements of horror and some attempts at humor, I'm satisfied the criteria is met. Hard enough to come up with a good story in 72 hours, only 5 pages, and a bobble head!


Admittedly, that's one of the reasons for the new scoring sheet. People here have a tendency to be very liberal with how often they point to scripts which don't fit their view of the parameters. Here, it's not a script killer on an element which is so subjective.


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PKCardinal
Posted: June 4th, 2019, 1:15pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Scar Tissue Films
Where we'd probably agree is that most people in the tournament failed to find the right balance, whichever angle they were coming from. Mostly because people go too surreal., Imo.

For some reason when most people do comedy on here, it's always surrealist fantasy. Some really mad scenario, with really mad character reactions to it. I don't get the sense that's how comedy actually works, but I'm not an expert.


I wonder if that's partly because of the page limitations. I personally prefer comedy that comes from character. But, that's nearly impossible to pull off in 5 pages. Mainly because character takes time/pages. So, when I write a comedy short, I concentrate on the world, the visuals, actions more than dialogue... because comedic dialogue works best after you know the character.

I find that most comedic dialogue in my shorts feels forced/over the top. I think it's because I'm trying to write something "funny" instead of finding the humor in the character. Or, it doesn't work for a reader because I know the character, but they don't.

Finally, I'd add that when writing shorts, I find myself steering towards known character types. Since I don't have time to build something unique, it's easier to take advantage of the reader's built-in knowledge of cliche characters and build from there.

Probably not a good approach... and I'm hoping my skills evolve to something better. But, that's where I sit right now.


PaulKWrites.com

60 Feet Under - Low budget, contained thriller/Feature
The Hand of God - Low budget, semi-contained thriller/Feature
Wait Till Next Year - Disney-style family sports comedy/Feature

Many shorts available for production: comedy, thriller, drama, light horror
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