Hello everyone!  This time of year is all about 4-leaf clover luck and tradition – people wearing green and throwing parties. You may find yourself getting pinched if you don’t wear your green!

March is also known for “March Madness,” the college basketball tournament. Do you have a favorite team? At the Story Solution website and Facebook Page we’re always on your team, offering tips and instructional videos and free sample script analyses to help cheer you on toward screenwriting success with the proven Hero Goal Sequences method of creating dynamic stories and exciting, character-driven screenplays.

(And just let me mention… to simplify things, I use one word, “Hero,” to mean any man, woman, child, animated flower, one-eyed one-horn flying purple people eater – or any other character who has the lead role in any story.)

Truth is, I have analyzed hundreds of films and taught hundreds of screenwriting graduate students how to identify the story sequences and elements of character needed to write award-winning scripts. And I put it all in my book, The Story Solution, which outlines the 23 Actions All Heroes Must Take to keep audiences captivated.

What makes The Story Solution stand out from the rest? Most books on screenwriting – and there are many good ones – offer advice or story-building systems based on abstract ideas. It’s frequently overlooked out there that successful visual storytelling requires you to master one overriding physical, practical concept: CHANGE. Change must flow in constant visual MOTION to drive a story forward – the same way a shark must keep moving to stay alive. And the amount of change required in any feature film story can actually be physically measured.

I have discovered that there’s a universal number of “change units” required for audiences to be drawn into any film story and really feel it.  Each of these specifically timed short sequences contain common plot developing events. Not just the this-is-where-the-hero-beats-up-all-the-bad-guys kind of advice, but a series of actions in a specific order, appearing at predictable moments in a story.

And here’s how I know I’m right.  There once lived a playwright named Sophocles who wrote a smash hit play called “Oedipus Rex”… about 2500 years ago. I took a very close look at that play (and hundreds of others) and found that the storytelling is physically structured exactly like all major hit movies are today. The human mind has ALWAYS processed and enjoyed stories in the same way. It’s how our brains are built. It’s physically how we absorb – and feel – a story.

So if you master these specific steps of change, every screenplay you write with them will have the potential to become a winner with audiences.

Hey, it may sound to you like I’m full of hot air, and well, okay, at times there might be some truth to that idea. But in this case, I’M NOT WRONG about the power of Hero Goal Sequences.

As a tenured full-professor at California State University, Northridge, I have proven it to my graduate students many hundreds of times over. Every semester, I turn Hero Goal Sequence doubters into Hero Goal Sequence believers.

But some of you may still be thinking this all sounds way too clinical and soulless. Just 23 predictable sequences? Heck no! Where’s the creativity in 23 pieces of anything?!  What about ART?

Well, may I point out that there are only 26 letters in the English language? Just 26. And people have been creating great literature with those same 26 letters for centuries.  There are only 12 keys on a piano, and those same 12 keys are merely repeated on the keyboard at an ever higher octave pitch to constitute a piano. During the last few centuries, has “the problem” of only having 12 repeating keys ever limited creativity in music?

In The Story Solution you will learn:

  • The Secrets of Story Structure. How to put together your story the way professional screenwriters do. Instead of floundering and suffering over “oh what will my hero do next???” you will KNOW what they need to do next. By identifying the 23 Actions All Heroes Must Take, building your story will become a clear and specifically coached process for creating every two to seven page sequence in your script – and you’ll be constructing the right actions in your story to shape full, memorable heroes and heroines that audiences will love to follow.
  • How to Create Dynamic Characters. Having an engaging story is essential. But what’s a story without vivid characters bringing it to life? Learn to write dynamic characters that hook your viewers and make them burn to know what those characters will do next.

  • Rewriting skills. learn how to shape and test every scene and sequence to make sure they all move your story and characters forward to a fulfilling climax. The Story Solution is filled with tips and methods to make your rewriting process far less painful and much more rewarding.

Other key tools revealed:

  • How to write Powerful Dialogue

  • How to choose the best Character Categories to use in your story

  • How to Spot and Fix Story Problems before they become baked in

  • The secret to writing Powerful Character Growth.

And oh so much more.

BY THE WAY – The Story Solution HAS ONCE AGAIN HIT #1 BEST SELLER IN THREE BOOK CATEGORIES on CHINA AMAZON: Film and TV – Animation – Graphic Novels

So deeply pleased and excited. Thanks, China!

All Very Best Wishes,

About The Story Solution: Eric Edson’s The Story Solution provides screenwriting tips for those interested in screenplay writing. Seen as one of the best books on screenwriting and currently #1 in its category on China Amazon, Edson outlines 23 actions used to create three dimensional heroes. Visit the website at to learn about writing a movie script. “Like” the Facebook page to receive tips on scriptwriting. Call (818) 677-7808 for information about writing a movie script.


Design and Build Contracts, Advantages and Disadvantages

Anyone who has spent time working in the UK construction industry is likely to have strong opinions about Design and Build contracts. In the immediate future, it’s likely that activity within the sector is going to increase, and whilst the exact political flavour of the Conservative government has yet to be confirmed they have at least promised to invest heavily in house building. With that in mind, the following points highlight some of the thorny issues associated with design and build contracts.

UK House Building

200,000 appears to be the magic number; in March 2015, David Cameron promised to double the target of 100,000 homes aimed at first time buyers, and with his position now confirmed in No.10 Downing Street we wait with bated breath to see if this commitment will reach fruition. Across the UK, firms are experiencing a modest rise in construction projects and reporting a certain amount of confidence. Besides the always-nebulous claims of politicians a range of measures including a loosening of planning laws and assistance for first time buyers is buoying up the industry after last year’s lack of growth. For many developers, however the fact that an increased demand for labour and materials is likely to push up prices can make design and build contracts more attractive.

Design and Build Advantages

Design and Build [D&B] is a useful procurement route for developers in that it allows a certain amount of control over costs. In general, lump sum contracts result in a contractor agreeing to take on the responsibility for both the design and construction of a project for an agreed price. The contractor may have their own team of designers or may engage an outside firm. They will agree a design initially with the developer, but after the contract is signed the contractor will have full responsibility.

If the agreed-on design remains unchanged throughout the project, the developer can be reasonably sure that the overall cost of construction will remain unchanged. Of course, it’s possible that the developer will require some design changes during the project, but it should then be possible for the contractor to provide an illustration of exactly how any such changes will affect overall costs.

Another of the advantages of design and build contracts is the possibility of reduced construction time. If the contractor is entirely responsible for design a great deal of time can potentially be saved as the design and building elements will run concurrently. For developers the main benefit is that, once the contract is agreed the contractor takes on much of the financial risk inherent in a project; that’s increasingly attractive when prices of both labour and materials are looking likely to rise. When various political parties claim that an upswing in construction is just around the corner, it’s worth remembering that it’s not just the taxpayer who will be expected to contribute. The Conservative government will also need to rely on private investment.

Design and Build Disadvantages

Not everyone in the industry is a fan of design and build contracts and it’s therefore worth taking a look at their disadvantages. Those who dislike the system point out that if a builder is given a free hand to design a building based on a pre-agreed price, even if costs don’t rise during the project they will be likely to work to the lowest possible specifications [if the contract allows them to alter the specifications].

Secondly, there’s an inherent problem in that builders are not architects. An architect, as well as having years of training and a very specific set of skills not least aesthetic ones, will be up to date with both the legal and design requirements. There are also requirements that may not be written into law but will be at the cutting edge of what makes a building fit for purpose now, and years into the future. Giving a builder a set amount of money and most, if not all the responsibility for design is a recipe for a shoddy result, say some people.

Making generalisations about the merits of D&B versus traditional construction methods is dangerous. In the real world, both can and do result in some buildings that are successful and some that are a disaster. For developers, architects and contractors perhaps the most important point is to ensure that the contract whatever form it takes is fully understood by all sides, covers all legal requirements and has the flexibility built into it to allow a satisfactory result.

Construction Management

Recently there has been something of a trend towards construction management rather than design and build contracts. Here, an intermediary in the form of a construction manager is appointed and the developer takes more responsibility for the overall costs of a project. It’s possible, however that if private investors are effectively forced into taking more financial risk the supply of money for the promised housebuilding boom could begin to dry up.

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Screenwriting Tips: What Father’s Day can Teach Us

People interested in screenplay writing can learn a lot from these examples of best Hollywood dads
Hi, Eric Edson here.

Father’s Day is a great opportunity to get to know one of the most important men in your life.

Aspiring screenwriters might also try thinking about what really impresses them most about Dad. Is it his sense of humor, turn of a phrase, or just the way he notices and appreciates what you do? All of these observational skills come in handy when writing a screenplay, because character development is so crucial to the success of a script.

If you don’t have a male role model in your life, you can always watch a movie to pick up some worthwhile screenwriting tips. Study the many ways in which dads are portrayed – some are heroes, some are villains, some have a heart of gold, and some struggle for redemption. People interested in screenplay writing can learn a lot from these examples of best Hollywood dads:

  • Atticus Finch: Gregory Peck’s masterful portrayal of Harper Lee’s hero in To Kill a Mockingbird presented the ultimate ideal of a principled man. But how would he have played the Atticus she wrote about in her recently-unveiled original manuscript for Go Set a WatchmanWhich character is more nuanced and real?
  • Father of the Bride: Whether it’s the classic Spencer Tracy version in 1950 or the updated Steve Martin version in 1991, this dad is full of love and humor as he prepares to see his daughter get married.
  • Darth Vader: No, not your typical dad, but a father nonetheless. What effect did his father’s conversion to the dark side have on the impressionable young Luke Skywalker?
  • Royal Tenenbaum: Does it take the news of impending death for a father to deal with the dysfunction he has created in his child prodigies? Gene Hackman showed how this can be accomplished with bittersweet humor, some of it brutally honest, and some with a lot of love.
  • Marlin, the Clown Fish: The story of a devoted father who searches desperately for his son Nemo, but also somewhere along the way, Marlin learns how to let his son go.

Take your pick – there are so many great examples of screenplay writing. If Dad’s a screenwriter like you, I’m sure he’d appreciate a copy of The Story Solution, one of the best books on screenwriting about writing a movie script. In it I present everything screenplay writers need to know about story structure, dynamic characters, rewrites, dialogue and Hero Goal Sequences. If Dad is just a film fan, take him to the movies with you and have a great time enjoying some quality time together.

Happy Father’s Day!
Eric Edson

The Story Solution, by screenwriter and tenured university professor Eric Edson, is an in-depth handbook for authors who are writing a movie script. It reveals the 23 actions screenplay writers should use to create dynamic, three dimensional heroes.

The Story Solution: People are so Excited!


Dear Friends,

I’ve told you a little bit about (Virtually) Everything Story in the last little while – and the response has been INCREDIBLE!

Thank you to everyone who has written to me sharing how much value they have received listening to my interview.

If you missed my interview, you can access it here.

I’m personally SO excited about the opportunity here, and of course all of the other presentations that are going to be happening in just a few days! I thought you might like to get a peek at the full list – so I’ve got the schedule here for you.  These are the absolute TOP names in the industry sharing CUTTING EDGE information, which is going to put you 5 to 10 years ahead of your competition. This is what storytelling is going to look like in the future, and I don’t intend to miss out on ANY of it.

If you want to jump the line and get your ticket, click here and register:
“Yes, I want to register for (Virtually) Everything Story!”

Wednesday, June 15th
John Truby ~ Novels: The Number One Screenwriting Strategy Today: Why Being a Novelist is Your Ticket to Hollywood Success
Michael Hauge ~ Crafting Transformative Characters: Taking Your Characters From Identity to Essence
Sara-Jayne Slack ~ Cut the BS! – Busting Traditional Publishing Myths,
and Navigating the Industry

Thursday, June 16th
Jeff Goins ~ How to Use Blogging as a Creative Writer and Storyteller
Lee Jessup ~ Why Having an Agent Won’t Save You
Audra Casino ~ Storytelling Through Audio

Friday, June 17th
Jen Grisanti ~ Writing A TV Pilot That Sells: Setting Up The Structure
Katie Karlovitz ~ Talking to Ego: How to Present Well and Look Confident
When Talking to People Who Outrank You
Carole Kirschner ~ The Unwritten Rules of Hollywood: What They Don’t Teach You in Film School

Saturday, June 18th
Sarah Carbiener and Erica Rosbe ~ You Never Stop Breaking In:
Writing for TV in a Digital World
Marx Pyle and Kathie Fong Yoneda ~ Workshop:  Developing and Getting Your Web Series Off the Ground
Eric Edson ~ How to Write Plots Like a Hollywood Pro: For Screenwriters, Novelists, and All Storytellers

Sunday, June 19th
Pamela Jaye Smith ~ Creating Our Next Mythologies
James Napoli and Mindi White ~ The Story Dragons: A Meet-The-Reader Panel in which Seasoned Industry Story Analysts will Breathe Fire on Your Premise and Slay Your Narrative Dragons

Monday, June 20th
Sam Landstrom ~ Making Reading Addictive Via Interactive Fiction
Allison Moon ~ Transforming Your Story Into Income

Tuesday, June 21st
Kristan Higgins ~ Missed Opportunities: Making Sure You’ve Ticked Every Box to Create a Multilayered Story
Megan Dougherty & Elija Renard ~ Funding Options for Stories with a Greater Purpose
Matt Group ~ Game Writing:  How to Tell Stories Through Technology and Games

Wednesday, June 22nd
Lisa Bloom ~ Get out of the Attic: Storytelling to Attract Massive Interest, Book Gigs & Close Deals
John Bucher and Jeremy Casper ~ Creating Cross-Platform Characters: From Feature Films to Webisodes; From Video Games to Television

Thursday, June 23rd
Sarah MacLean ~ Mastering the Art of Great Conflict
Joan Stewart ~ How to Use Email to Attract Fans, Create SuperFans, Tell a Story, & Sell
Michael Jorgensen ~ Power Narrative: the Secrets of Documentary Storytelling

Friday, June 24th
Dan O’Shannon ~ What Not to do in a Writers’ Room
Save The Cat Peeps ~   Genre and Beats
Chris Vogler ~ E-Motion Pictures: How to Channel the Power of Emotions in the Body
If you’re as excited about this as I am, go ahead and register before the doors close:

“Yes, I’m ready to put myself 5 years ahead of the competition!”

There are TONS of bonuses available for attendees, and I’ll let you know about them in the next couple of days!

About The Story Solution:  The Story Solution, by screenwriter and tenured university professor Eric Edson, is an in-depth handbook for authors who are writing a movie script. It reveals the 23 actions screenplay writers should use to create dynamic, three dimensional heroes.

Will Smith Talks Story with Michael Hauge, and Laura Leigh | The Story Solution

Will Smith talks Story with Michael Hauge, and Laura Leigh Clarke

“The First Ever ONLINE Screenwriting and Storytelling Conference, JUNE 15 – 24”

Hi, Eric Edson here.

Wanted to let you in on something very special…

My dear friend MICHAEL HAUGE just interviewed his longtime client WILL SMITH about Will’s insights into STORY.  Our producer for the upcoming (VIRTUALLY) EVERYTHING STORY event, the amazing Laura Leigh Clarke, joined Will and Michael for a three-way chat.

Here is a rare and insightful interview… one that offers tips on screenwriting from one of the most important filmmaking personalities in the world – Will Smith.

Will lays out for us the most CRITICALLY IMPORTANT STORYTELLING CONCEPTS major filmmakers and producers look for in screenplays and novels.

Thought you might want to take a look.

Here’s the link:

Will Smith talks Story with Michael Hauge, and Laura Leigh Clarke

During the interview Will talked about the powerful starting point he uses which becomes the north star in the creation of any movie:

The Universally Relatable Emotion.

He gives the example of I Am Legend where the emotion is being ALONE. He talks about how this guided the script, and everything else through to the tag line:

The last man on Earth… Is not alone.

Powerful stuff.

And have you checked out the (VIRTUALLY) EVERYTHING STORY conference schedule yet?  This one-of-a-kind Online Conference runs June 15 – 24!

They’re will be presentations and seminars with yours truly, Eric Edson, and Michael Hauge, John Truby, Jen Grisanti, Chris Vogler, Pamela Jaye Smith, along with some 25 other top speakers and producers in film, television, publishing, gaming and more, as well as many free bonus extras.

There has never been an online “virtual” ten-day conference on Storytelling event like this before.

As in Never.

If you’re a storyteller who wants to grow, then you are going to LOVE this line-up of teachers and experts.


Find out more details about this ground-breaking story conference here.


In this interview you will learn from Will Smith:

  • Why identifying the SINGLE RELATABLE EMOTION in a screenplay is essential to a film’s success.
  • The FOUR PRIMARY QUESTIONS that he asks about the hero of every story.
  • How to create POWERFULLY EMOTIONAL MOMENTS where everything collides for a hero or heroine.
  • The key tools for creating TRANFORMATION in a character – and in the audience.
  • His BEST ADVICE FOR WRITERS AND STORYTELLERS for enduring and overcoming the challenges of being a working artist.

To SEE THE ENTIRE VIDEO of Michael Hauge and Laura Leigh Clarke’s amazing interview with Will Smith, just CLICK HERE.

Eric Edson

P.S. Doors close early this week, so check out the rest of the presentations and workshops we’ve got lined up for you. One ticket gets you access to everything, and the recordings, in case you can’t attend everything live.

Register for this ground-breaking story conference here

About The Story Solution:  The Story Solution, by screenwriter and tenured university professor Eric Edson, is an in-depth handbook for authors who are writing a movie script. It reveals the 23 actions screenplay writers should use to create dynamic, three dimensional heroes.

Writing a Movie Script: How Irish-American Movies Continue to Engage Audiences

This is the time of year we celebrate Irish art: the literature, poetry and plays by celebrated writers such as W.B. Yeats, Frank McCourt, James Joyce, Sean O’Casey, Oscar Wilde, and Samuel Beckett, as well as the Irish contributions to film and screenwriting.

For a small country, the Irish are incredibly well-traveled and have a presence all over the globe after centuries of immigration. It is no surprise, then, that one of the most common themes of Irish film is immigration, a theme that defined a generation in both Ireland and America. For decades the young people of Ireland crossed the Atlantic and romanticized the “Land of Opportunity.” The theme continues to be relevant to an American audience as well, thousands of whom see their ancestors in these Irish immigrants.

1882 illustration from Puck depicting Irish immigrants as troublemakers, as compared to those of other nationalities
1882 illustration from Puck depicting Irish immigrants as troublemakers, as compared to those of other nationalities

A screenplay writer’s goal is to make the audience see themselves in the characters on the screen, using themes that are relatable for audiences across generations, and the theme of immigration utilized in Irish movies accomplishes this as it continues to be relevant to audiences over many years and age-groups.

The stories of immigrants are of people fighting to make their way in life and overcoming hardship, often in a world that seems unfair. Included in these stories is the idea of “starting over,” leaving everything behind to begin a new life from scratch. Audiences sympathize with these struggles and relate them to their own hardships.

One of the classic Irish movies featuring the theme of the immigration experience is Far and Away. It tells a story about adjusting to the rough life of immigrants in America and the struggle between working long hours for meager wages and being at the mercy of the local Irish mobsters.Far and Away also features elements of class struggle, as immigrants found themselves in a new culture with different rules, and viewers see the societal roles change between the two central characters. Through these conflicts, the problems of immigration – finding work, dealing with corruption, and integrating into a new place – are highlighted, and these struggles resonate with audiences who see in them their own experiences of dealing with the injustices of life.

A major element of the Irish immigration theme introduced in Far and Away but explored further in other movies is gang life. Irishmen (and other immigrant groups) were at the bottom of the ladder, and joining established Irish gangs was a way to come up in the community quickly, especially when the mobsters offered lucrative employment opportunities and more money than the meager wages of hard-labor factory jobs.

Gangs were also a form of protection against racism and targeting from other immigrant groups or “locals.” Gangs of New York is a classic example, as the Butcher, the Native played by Daniel Day Lewis, brutally controls the immigrant groups. The movie tells the story of the rough existence greeting many Irish in New York living in the infamous Five Points area. Gangs of New York shows the harsh reality of life for new immigrants trying to establish themselves, as well as the hierarchies and factions within these different immigrant groups that often made it impossible for immigrants to remain disconnected from gang life.

Irish immigration movies are a perfect example of what makes a movie theme successful. They tell stories of people who were willing to start from scratch, risking everything they had to improve their lives, and eventually overcoming the problems that plagued them to achieve a better life. Audiences sympathize with the characters as they experience struggles of being alone and trying to navigate through a strange new world.

The ultimate message of these immigration films is that even though life can pull you down and your situation may at times seem hopeless, there’s always a way out if you keep trying, and that is a theme that can inspire any generation. In the end, their triumphs give us hope for our triumphs, and that makes it a strong and lasting theme.

Additional movies dealing with the theme of immigration struggles are In America,Beyond the Pale and Angela’s Ashes, Kill the Irishman, The Departed, and State of Grace.

Q: Are there any famous Irish actors I would know?

A: There are many Irish actors in Hollywood, some you may not even realize hail from the Emerald Isle. They include Daniel Day Lewis, Saoirse Ronan, Fionnula Flanagan, Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, Maureen O’Sullivan, Cillian Murphy, Pierce Brosnan, Michael Gambon, and Brendan Gleeson.

Q: Are there Irish immigration movies that focus on a romance theme?

A: Romance is another central theme to both Far and Away, Gangs of New York andCircle of Friends. More recent examples include Leap Year and Brooklyn. For more information on how to write a romance screenplay, see our previous blog post “Your Romantic Screenplay Starts Here

Q: I would like to watch an Irish film on St. Patrick’s Day. Can you recommend one?

A: One movie that received critical acclaim is Once, an independent movie about a man from Dublin and a Czech immigrant who make an album together. The soundtrack to the movie was nominated for a Grammy Award, and the song Falling Slowly won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Original Song. The movie has now been adapted into a Broadway musical.

Posts you may have missed:

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Need a Speaker?

Eric Edson is available for speaking engagements. Do you have a radio show or an upcoming screenwriting event?  Email your request to

About The Story Solution:  The Story Solution, by screenwriter and tenured university professor Eric Edson, is an in-depth handbook for authors who are writing a movie script. It reveals the 23 actions screenplay writers use to create dynamic, three dimensional heroes. Visit the website at to download a sample chapter of the book. “Like” the Facebook page to receive screenwriting tips and insider insights on writing screenplays.

Romantic Screenwriting: Your Romantic Screenplay Starts Here

With Valentine’s Day approaching, even the most cynical minds might find their thoughts drifting to romance. Shops and restaurants bombard us with symbols of love, and Hollywood is gearing up to release this year’s romantic movie offerings. On February 14th the theaters will fill up with singles and couples, either escaping their singledom with dreams of future romance or hoping their significant others will pick up some new tips on romantic gestures.

Who doesn’t love a good romance story? Well, most of us do anyway! It comes back to the fact that no matter how technologically advanced we become as a planet, our needs for romantic love and intimate companionship don’t change. The elements of a good romance – sexual tension, adversity, plot-driving change, high-stakes conflict – are all here to stay.

Your Romantic Screenplay Starts Here

Another reason for the popularity of the romance genre is that it lends itself to mixing with other genres. In the early days of film, many romance movies had a strong dramatic element in them. But since then other sub-genres like Chick Flick, Romantic Thriller, Romantic Comedy, and even Romantic Action Comedy have emerged to add more humor. If you’re not sure which one is best for you as a writer, read on for a breakdown of the different romantic sub-genres.

There are five of them, each with their own way of telling a romance story and featuring different types of conflict between the main character (hero or heroine) and the love interest character.

Romance Dramas: romantic dramas are serious in tone, center around the hero and their love interest caught in a serious real-world problem. The main conflict is to overcome whatever troubling obstacles prevent the couple from coming together. They’re the classic love stories, often immortalized on the big screen, like Titanic,The English Patient and An Officer and a Gentleman that resonate with us long after we leave the cinema. Romantic dramas often receive critical acclaim, along with the actors who play the lead characters. Perhaps the reason is that the drama genre gives more space to an in-depth exploration of the source of the adversity, be that social class, cultural or age differences, circumstances such as war or other physical disaster, or the protagonist’s own psychological barriers to the relationship. Lead characters in a romantic drama generally have more depth, and the unfolding of these characters acts as an extra source of audience involvement.

In this and all other sub-genres, the love interest character doubles also as the adversary while the lovers struggle to resolve the big problem keeping them apart. The conflict could be a result of outside influences, such as Memoirs of a Geisha orPride and Prejudice (social hierarchies), or, like Casablanca or Titanic, where it’s the presence of another interfering character such as a competing spouse or fiancé. Alternately, the conflict can be the result of internal or personal influences, such as A Walk to Remember and Love and Other Drugs (inner struggle and sickness). In romantic dramas, the clash of hero and love interest characters always creates a serious central dramatic conflict, although humor can sometimes be used as well.

Chick Flicks (often called): this sub-genre generally targets a female audience by emphasizing emotion and relationships over action, or by featuring a woman or a group of women as the central characters. While a “Chick Flick is not necessarily a pure romance movie, the central relationship is often between the hero and a love interest character (as in The Notebook, in which the main conflict is one woman resolving her feelings for two different men and choosing between them). It can often, however, revolve around the relationships of multiple characters with each other – the love interest relationship being one within a wider circle of dynamics. An example of this is The Holiday, a film about the relationships between four people involved in two simultaneous love stories, but also about the connections between all four people. The “Chick Flick can also focus primarily on the profound changes in a woman’s life as a new love interest comes into the picture, as inGrease, Clueless, or Pretty Woman. Generally, a Chick Flick is a movie with a main theme of relationships, including a romantic relationship, that centers around a woman lead.

Your Romantic Screenplay Starts Here

Chick Flicks are probably best described as films having a central character that women can very much relate to, and that focus on the ups and downs of being a modern woman. Bridesmaids written by Kristen Wiig & Annie Mumolo is a great example.  DOWNLOAD ERIC EDSON’S HERO GOAL SEQUENCES FOR BRIDESMAIDS HERE. Although the film is about an upcoming wedding, the theme of the movie is really female friendships and where would women be without them. Thelma and Louise is often said to be the grand dame of Chick Flicks, and here the theme is freedom, usually from the impositions men place on women which stop them from gaining that freedom, as opposed to 500 Days of Summer which is a romantic comedy but not a Chick Flick, since the story is told from the male perspective.

Romantic Comedies: light-hearted fare that features humor within a love-themed story. The main conflict could revolve around the hero and a love interest character, like The Proposal, in which the polar-opposite personalities of the two potential lovers make for laughable encounters, or as in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, where the conflict between a woman and her love interest plays out in other humorous ways.Your Romantic Screenplay Starts Here

Common themes are the idealization of love and one’s partner, love at first sight, and the idea that love conquers all. These films share some characteristics with romantic drama in that the two people seem to be well matched, but they are kept apart by some obstacle. However, as the plot and characters develop, they learn to overcome such obstacles and the ending is a happy one. The 1998 film, The Wedding Singer has all the elements of a classic romantic comedy, it’s about two likable main characters, both of whom are engaged to other people in less than ideal circumstances, but they seem to be a good match for each other. The female character in particular has to do a lot of soul searching before she defies societal conventions and calls off her wedding to her wealthy and successful fiancé in order to opt for the poorer but genuine hero, and they eventually become husband and wife. Romantic Comedy is similar to Romantic Drama in that the story hinges on adversity, but in Romantic Comedy, the obstacles are always overcome, leading to a permanent mate bond and happy-ever-after. In Romantic Drama, this is often not the case.

Romantic comedies can also be more like Chick Flicks, highlighting a romantic relationship within a larger scheme of characters and relationships. Examples areThe Family Stone or Crazy Stupid Love, which combine the romantic conflict with family/friend relationships that complicate the conflict resolution in humorous ways.

Romantic Action Comedies: these combine a romantic storyline with both humor and action. As opposed to a romantic comedy in which the humor is most often verbal, the humor in a romantic action comedy can be physical or slapstick as well. This genre of romance film has only been around for a comparatively short time, beginning (more or less) with the 1984 classic, Romancing the Stone. More than any other genre, romantic action comedy has seen its female protagonists undergo a transformation. No longer content to be the damsels in distress, a female protagonist in this genre is as likely to be wielding a gun as the male protagonist, and somewhere during an adrenalin rush, the fires of romance burst forth. One of the better known romantic action comedies is Mr. and Mrs. Smith, in which the central characters resolve their marital conflict through a series of action scenes as they try to kill each other. Other examples include A Knight’s Tale and The Princess Bride, where the hero characters fight to win the love interest character through various physical battles and funny interactions with other characters, especially those presented as adversaries. Romantic Action Comedies center around barriers that must be physically overcome to resolve the conflict.

Romantic Thrillers: have plotlines where the romantic conflict manifests in ways that are physically dangerous for the hero and/or the love interest character, adding in elements of rising suspense from the thriller genre. Examples include The Phantom of the Opera, where the main character and her love interest’s safety is threatened when they fall in love because of the disapproval of the menacing Phantom, or Hitchcock’s Vertigo, a psychological thriller/romance. Romantic Thrillers can involve danger from an outside force fought by a united couple, or a threat of physical danger created by conflict between the hero and love interest that keeps them apart. Other examples are Wicker Park and Match Point, romance thrillers where the threat comes from the love interest character themselves, who may or may not be the adversary, but somehow threatens the hero.

New York Times Best-Selling Author Rebecca York says romantic thrillers are books or films where, “the plot focuses on two people meeting, falling in love and working out their conflicts against a backdrop of danger and suspense. External forces threaten to destroy these people, but by the end of the book they triumph over the danger and make a commitment to each other.”

Where sexual tension is always the driving force behind a romance, in a romantic thriller the tension is heightened by the added element of life-or-death danger. This can sometimes be achieved by using  the ‘shapeshifter’ character, i.e. the one who starts off disguised as a love interest, but who is later revealed as someone whose real intention is to do harm to the central character, while the real love interest, at first a background character, finally steps forward and wins the lead character’s love in the end. The Bodyguard is a shining example of the Romantic Thriller genre, when the romance develops amid the tension of protecting the female love interest from a dangerous stalker. The fact that this was one the highest grossing films of 1992 is testimony to the potential of the romance thriller.

Your Romantic Screenplay Starts Here

Writing in the romance genre gives screenplay writers a chance to delve into one of the most profound human emotions, love. The five sub-genres of romance movies highlight the rollercoaster of experiences associated with love: happiness, fear, humor, intrigue, action and danger. The introduction of a love interest character adds depth to a screenplay and gives us insight into human truth through an experience anyone can relate to. Creating an engaging conflict between a hero/heroine and a love interest adds tension and meaning to a screenplay, and draws the audience in emotionally. There’s nothing more human than love – or more Hollywood than romance.

About The Story Solution:  The Story Solution, by screenwriter and tenured university professor Eric Edson, is an in-depth handbook for authors who arewriting a movie script. It reveals the 23 actions screenplay writers use to create dynamic, three dimensional heroes. Visit the website at to download a sample chapter of the book. “Like” theFacebook page to receive screenwriting tips and insider insights on writing screenplays.

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