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Hey folks, welcome to Spitball!, the world's first screenplay written by blog.You may want to read the posts in our about section, particularly our Statement of Purpose

Or, you can start on the first post and work your way through sequentially by using the 'suceeding' links above the post name.

Who?

There are two of us here: Kent M. Beeson (aka Urban Shockah) bio, and Martin McClellan (aka Burley Grymz) bio.

Speedy Synopsis

After fighting through 50 different story ideas, the boys have picked Time to Die as the script to write. They are now starting the writing process.

The Collection at the Beginning of Creative Process

January 29, 2009 · by Burley Grymz · Permalink · Category: technique

I’m always fascinated with the process of creative types. Because, of course, it might teach me something about my own process which has been doggedly formed from ignorant persistence. I long for some sort of validation that I’m doing it “right” (make of that what you will, psychology buffs).

Merlin Mann has been digging into process, and I think his Macworld presentation Towards Patterns for Creativity was interesting beyond his charismatic manitude.

He talks about Twyla Tharp and her book The Creative Habit (haven’t read it yet. Definitely on my list). Tharp starts each project with a box that she collects loose items associated with the choreography she’s creating. The box gets filled in a loose association and inspiration gathering, and then when it’s time to work it serves as muse and inspiration.


Shockah's Time to Die Pitch: 1.0

Here's my first try, and I've already failed, by the standards of the challenge: I'm pretty sure it's too long, and there's no blank meets blank statement. That's what iterations are fer.

It also may seem strange, at first glance, that there's no new information about the story. But again, that's not what a pitch is. A pitch is an attempt to sell the idea of the story to someone who knows nothing about it. Or put it more bluntly, a pitch is an attempt to sell the sizzle, not the steak. It is not the place to tell the story -- it's simply the means to get your hook into someone so that they'll want to read the story themselves (i.e., the screenplay).

Here's my pitch:


Re [2]: Pitch by Example

One thing he did well is make the reader / viewer complicit in the story. He says:

We’re gonna send him down to South America…

I think it could be a tricky strategy to do that, but it seems to have worked for him.

I don't think that's exactly what he's doing here -- it's more like he's speaking in the voice of Charlie's church. It's very difficult to translate into text -- the use of quotations would make it more confusing -- but I think it's clear when you hear it.


Re: Pitch by Example

I think that pitch is excellent. I think it totally carries through to reading, but I’m curious how his voice and energy made it better in person. And if Carrie Fisher didn’t snark at him, it must have been amazing.

One thing he did well is make the reader / viewer complicit in the story. He says:

We’re gonna send him down to South America…

I think it could be a tricky strategy to do that, but it seems to have worked for him.

As Shockah knows, I’ve been working on pitches lately, trying to hone the craft of them. I’ll have one for Time To Die up soon.


Pitch by Example

Here's the pitch I was talking about in my last post. The pitch is by Andrew Hunt, and he was given the logline, "A priest meets the woman of his dreams before he is to be ordained." I'm curious to see what you think, Burley. (I'm assuming that you haven't seen the show.) Does it work only as text? Or does it need the excellent delivery to really make it sing? (As judge Carrie Fisher remarked aftewards, "You inspire confidence by being so confident.")

Here it is, pretty much verbatim:


RE: I challenge thee!

Dude -- it's like you're reading my mind. Like, trippy. I just picked up "Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds: The Guaranteed Way to Get Your Screenplay or Novel Read" from the library, for crying out loud.

I've been thinking about pitches for a couple weeks now, ever since the debut episode of On The Lot, that new reality show/director contest thingy. (Show's crap, btw; it started off well, but they kept changing the format and, incredibly, skipping stuff -- at the end of one episode, the contestants are given an hour to direct a one-page script, and then we never hear about it again. WTF?) Anyway, in the first episode, the contestants are given one of four loglines to build a one-minute pitch around, and after some remarkably embarrassing attempts, this one dude gets up and just throws one straight down the plate, 100 mph.


Fictional

I’ve been writing a lot of short fiction lately. While we’ve read a million books on how to write screenplays, and worked a lot of drafts into one form or another, the fact remains that a good story is a good story. Some stories are right for certain mediums, and some are better for others.

Screenplays are not, in my opinion, the medium for ideas. They are the medium for experiences. I don’t like movies that try to make me think — not because I don’t like to think, but because movies that try to make you think usually have an agenda about how you should think. They are trying to teach you something.

Unless an audience comes to us and asks to be taught, who the hell are we to assign ourselves as teachers? What makes me think that a member of the audience who believes differently than me will change their mind because I manipulate them with images and sound?

Which is not to say that films can’t raise issues and deal with themes — but films should let you experience something and draw your own conclusions from it. I don’t like films that try to make me think — I like films that make me think. The films that do leave things open. They don’t tie off every plot line neatly, they don’t sacrifice ambiguity for resolution. They let people maintain some of their human failings.


Man vs. Wild -- No, Really

No, this isn't about the so-called three kinds of conflict. I'm literally talking about a new show on the Discovery channel, Man vs. Wild. There's this British guy with the wonderful name of Bear Grylls who is dropped into some harsh territory, like the Alaskan mountain range or the Costa Rican rainforest, and he attempts to survive and make it back to civilization, usually with no more than a water bottle, some flint, and the clothes on his back. Obviously, he (and his camera crew) make it every time, but it's always pretty gripping.


The Subtext of the World

In his book, The Culture Code, Clotaire Rapaille tells us that things and concepts, such as cheese, alcohol, love, and America, have a hidden code word that reveals their true meaning.


CUT TO:

We usually write screenplays formatted with a close approximation of the Cole & Haag style. Slugline, action, etc., but we skip the transitions unless they are absolutely necessary to the story, following the more modern method of using sluglines to break scenes. But, there is a problem with sluglines, and that is that they really can break up narrative action.

After reading some William Goldman screenplays, though, we became enamored with his simple method of getting rid of the sluglines altogether, and simply using a left-aligned CUT TO:


Let The Audience Do The Work

June 03, 2006 · by The Urban Shockah · Permalink · Category: Original Version, technique

(Yep, it's another Signal vs. Noise-style missive. I'm not sure why these are coming to me; some kind of pent-up frustration, I guess. And it should be noted that, despite the philosophy I'm imparting here, I've done the opposite of what I'm saying time and again, and I continue to do so. In other words, this is just as much for me as anyone else.)


Loose Ends

(The following is an attempt at the kind of post they sometimes do over at Signal vs. Noise -- that is, a "statement of purpose" kind of deal that's both kind of controversial but also kind of vague. Is mine a homage or a parody? I'm thinking a little of both.)


Air Vent Chastity

Over at his great blog, Go and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory screenwriter John August has proposed a Screenwriter's Vow of Air Vent Chastity:


More Meta Commentary

Shockah? Did I forget something?

Don't think so. I told you about the crazy opening scene of Sam Fuller's The Naked Kiss and how I saw that in connection with the potential opening of Time to Die, with the brutal violence that starts without any context, but other than that, I think that was it.


Re: Character Sketches: My Philosophy (I Think Very Deeply)

I've never really sat down and thought very hard about my philosophy in characters sketches, but reading your post I realized that my unthunk philosophy follows yours very closely. Which is why it took me a while to respond to this. I had to thunk about it for awhile.

Just a few points of interest or divergence:


Re:[10] Sequence Method Question

I'll formalize a technique and form with my Blue Velvet post, and then you can tweak it and suggest changes as need be.

I'm on board for the Matrix. Let me just finish chewing what I've already bit off.

Maybe we can start a database of these.


Re:[9] Sequence Method Question

That's a little more detailed than I was planning, but it certainly couldn't hurt. I'll see how big my workload is, and start doing this.

Well, the time stamps are completely optional -- I like them for the info they provide, but also because I'm anal-retentive that way :-)

But I can't imagine doing a breakdown without a scene list. I mean, if you can do it, more power to ya, but that's out of my range.

Which reminds me, maybe we should start defining a format for breaking a film down. A form, if you will, that we could follow to aid in our dissections, analyzation and discussions.

Good idea. I'll be looking at your Blue Velvet post carefully.

Also, when I have a few of these under my belt, it might be interesting to pick a film--a non-obvious one, if possible--and each do a breakdown on it. Then, we can compare notes and see if we were both on the same page.

I had the same idea. I was going to save The Matrix for myself, but since I know we both own it, should we go with that? (Also, it's an "easy" one to start with.)


Re:[8] Sequence Method Question

a list of the scenes, in chronological order, and with time stamps

That's a little more detailed than I was planning, but it certainly couldn't hurt. I'll see how big my workload is, and start doing this.

Which reminds me, maybe we should start defining a format for breaking a film down. A form, if you will, that we could follow to aid in our dissections, analyzation and discussions.

Also, when I have a few of these under my belt, it might be interesting to pick a film--a non-obvious one, if possible--and each do a breakdown on it. Then, we can compare notes and see if we were both on the same page.


Re:[7] Sequence Method Question

What I would like to see (if you have it, but maybe this is exactly what you're working on!) is a list of the scenes, in chronological order, and with time stamps, if you got 'em. I don't think I'll be watching Blue Velvet anytime soon, but I'd love to get my hands dirty with this.

That said, I think I've settled on the PONR being the moment where Dorothy discovers him in the closet. This propels him from voyeur and passive (at least in this sequence) observer to active participant.

That sounds pretty good to me!


Re:[6] Sequence Method Question

Going by what info I have, it sounds like you're trying to slice it too thin.

That's very likely. In my quest for understanding and applying these techniques I tend towards the microscopic, and have to remember to zoom out and look at the big picture.

But, it would difficult to include all of my potential PONR into one broad PONR because then the entire 3rd sequence would be the PONR.

That said, I think I've settled on the PONR being the moment where Dorothy discovers him in the closet. This propels him from voyeur and passive (at least in this sequence) observer to active participant. The events that take place at her knife seduce him into desiring her, and it either answers or makes more ambiguous the question that seemingly innocent Sandy raises when she tells him:

"I can't tell if you're a detective or a pervert."

As I post my theories and break down of this, I'd be very curious for more feedback from you, of course, and from readers if there are any challenges to the logic of my breakdown.


Re:[5] Sequence Method Question

That's the rub, in a way, because four out of the five events I've described take place during the third sequence.

Ah -- if they're all in the same sequence, then the PONR is probably a sentence that takes them all into account (Jeffrey sneaks into Dorothy's closet but gets caught by Frank, or whatever.) Going by what info I have, it sounds like you're trying to slice it too thin.

But part of the confusion comes because later Jeffrey has the opportunity to leave the situation for good. If that opportunity is presented to the Protagonist, doesn't that sort of negate the PONR?

No, not necessarily. If the opportunity arises, and Jeffrey doesn't take it, then what's compelling him to stay? (I'm assuming something emotional.) That answer would probably be another kind of PONR.


Re:[4] Sequence Method Question

See, this is where I start to get confused over the (seemingly, to me) arbitrary rules placed around events in the narrative line. More to the point, I find the dividing line between sequences occasionally arbitrary. In Blue Velvet, some are very clear (fade to black, pause, fade up), while some are much less clear, but only exist in my head so that I can define the movie given the constraints of the model we're using.

You said:

the PONR is generally slotted in the third sequence (the very first sequence in the second act), that's the latest it can appear.

That's the rub, in a way, because four out of the five events I've described take place during the third sequence. However, only one (Jeffrey sneaking into her place) really propels him into the drama where he emotionally is trapped, and physically, at least for awhile, is trapped as well.

But part of the confusion comes because later Jeffrey has the opportunity to leave the situation for good. If that opportunity is presented to the Protagonist, doesn't that sort of negate the PONR?

In any case, your clarification did help me figure out a few things, so I'm forging on. Thanks also for clarifying the difference between the Predicament and the the PONR.


Re:[3] Sequence Method Question

Remember, although the PONR is generally slotted in the third sequence (the very first sequence in the second act), that's the latest it can appear. It can appear in the very first moment of the screenplay, if it makes sense. And there should always be moments throughout that "lock in" the protagonist further, a continuous tightening, like a giant python.

But the question is: when can Jeffrey simply not turn around and leave town? And I think either the answer can be either physical or emotional in nature (i.e., either Frank or Dorothy). Unfortunately, I haven't seen Blue Velvet in years, so I can't really offer anything past this. Except: assuming that, per David Howard, that Lynch's stories are only unusual in that they don't offer character motivation, I'd look around the 20 to 30 minute mark and see what scenes are there. That could answer your question.

One last thing: the PONR doesn't draw the action into the second act; the Predicament, and the protagonist's choice towards the Predicament, does.


Re:[2] Sequence Method Question

If, however you're dealing with some Altman Short Cuts type shit, then you've got several stories on your hands, and you probably should chart out each one.

I don't think my ambiguity is really serving any purpose here but to guard me from potential failure and looking foolish, and that's not a very good reason. In fact, it might be more useful to myself and everybody if I reasoned this breakdown I'm doing out loud, since it's the first I've attempted.

The movie I picked is: Blue Velvet (I just watched it again for the first time in quite a while). So, the questions of PONR come up in conjunction with protagonist Jeffrey Beaumont. Here are a few of the PONR I've identified: (it goes without saying, but we're just the type to say things that might usually go without: SPOILERS AHEAD).


Re: Character Sketches: My Philosophy (I Think Very Deeply)

I doubt I could force him even if I wanted to, at least not without the use of a whip and cheese-covered apple pie


I'm replying properly to today's posts here, but I couldn't let this slide. Can a fella get anybody to testify to the greatness of hot apple pie with cheddar cheese for breakfast? Mr. Shockah's palate won't allow for such deliciosity, and I'm eager to prove to him that this is not an personal idiosyncrasy, but accepted culinary practice.


Character Sketches: My Philosophy (I Think Very Deeply)

Note: The following has absolutely nothing to do with Burley's excellent character bios, as seen below. It's just that, when I started my bios, I felt like I needed to definitively state what it was I was trying to accomplish, so I created a list of guidelines and "talking points", if you will, to guide me. While I certainly hope that I can engage Burley into a conversation about this topic, he's not honor-bound to share my philosophy or use my ideas. (I doubt I could force him even if I wanted to, at least not without the use of a whip and cheese-covered apple pie.) I share them with you now because... well, when it comes to grand theorizing about writing, I'm a Chatty Cathy.


Re: Sequence Method Question

Since I don't know what film you're doing, it's a little tough. I'll start with: where does the film fall on that McKee story triangle thingie? That is, if it's pretty much a standard, mainstream story, or even a "miniplot", you probably should only have one PONR and one Predicament. If, however you're dealing with some Altman Short Cuts type shit, then you've got several stories on your hands, and you probably should chart out each one. (Or I suppose, if you have a film that has one strong, but somewhat tangential subplot -- like an old Simpsons episode -- then that subplot should probably be charted out on its own.)

Then again, it's not like an exact science or anything, so make up new rules if you have to!

Does that help or hinder?


Sequence Method Question

Should each plot thread have its own Point of no return? I'm dissecting a movie right now, and I think I've identified five potential PONR, but each have different impact on the primary story (which is muddy to begin with, and cross pollinated with other issues). Any feedback on this? Should the PONR focus on the primary story line, or should each have its own?

And, if it does, should each also have its own predicament and main tension? How microscopic should one get with these things.


Re:[2] Structurally Speaking: Jaws (Part II)

Lindbergh's publicist or wife can now take center stage for awhile.

Dude, does it really say publicist? Before wife? If so, Howard's book's a lot funnier than I remembered.

Spitball! Tourney update: I apologize to everyone for the lateness of my reply. Things kept getting in the way of work and the Jaws thing took a little more time than expected. However! Because this train must roll, I'm giving myself a deadline of tomorrow at 8pm. Some kind of reply regarding Rachel, My Dear will be posted here at that time -- I gare-un-tee it.


Re: Structurally Speaking: Jaws (Part II)

(The example subplot given in David Howard's book is, during a story about Lindbergh crossing the Atlantic, about his wife worrying about him. Something like that. Maybe Burley can fill in the details here. Did I mention I don't have the books in front of me?)

Not only do I got your books, I got your back too. Howard, How to Build a Great Screenplay. pgs 328-329.

Main Subplot and Main Character

After the intensity of the midpoint, there is a tendency for a story to suffer what is known as the second-act sag. This is a sense of letdown we experience after a major emotional event. Our hero has made a concerted effort and it has not had the result he and we had hoped. He might have succeeded in what he was trying to do, but that merely turned the dilemma upside down. Or he might have failed and the failure has made the predicament even worse. Either way, we have just come from a major high or low contrasting moment -- the midpoint -- and there is a tendency to sink, lose energy, or lose focus. The best way to overcome second-act sag is to let the major subplot take over for a while. We haven't yet had any truly significant change or first culmination in that second most important story, so it can arrive energized, hopeful or fearful, and very tense.

The mention to Linbergh's wife is brief and in the next paragraph:

Linbergh's publicist or wife can now take center stage for awhile.

Structurally Speaking: Jaws (Part II)

Welcome back to my "sequence method" analysis of Jaws. For those just tuning in, an explanation of the sequence method can be found here (the first four points) and here (the last four points), but you may want to start with the "Why structure, anyway?" post. The first part of the Jaws analysis can be found here. Questions? Disagreements? Think I should be discussing the brilliance of Jaws 4? Go to the Forums, by clicking here. Finally, there's a discussion about casting a theoretical remake of Jaws that needs, nay, demands your input.

And now... Part II.


Structurally Speaking: Jaws (Part I)

So now that we've gone through the sequence method (albeit in a brief, condensed form), let's apply that to some popular movies and see what happens.

I'm going to start with my favorite movie of all-time, bar none: Jaws. As you probably know, Jaws was the movie that, for better or worse, kick-started the concept of the "blockbuster summer movie". It's a pretty straightforward story (a clear protagonist, a clear antagonist, no flashbacks or other narrative tricks), and it seems like it should be a prime example of basic mainstream film structure.

Well... yes and no. Although for the most part it follows the sequence method mark for mark, there is a little twist, one that demonstrates the elasticity of the sequence method.

Let's take a gander (the length of each sequence is indicated in bold):


Talkin' 'Bout Structure, Part III

Annnndddd... we're back. Thanks for joining us.

So again, we're talking about the sequence method of structuring a screenplay, as expounded by David Howard and Paul Joseph Gulino, in their books, How to Build a Great Screenplay and Screenwriting: The Sequence Approach, respectively . Back in Part II, I talked about the first four of eight important "qualities" (I couldn't think of a better word) that make up a screenplay using the sequence method: the Point of Attack, the Predicament, the Main Tension, and the Point of No Return. If you haven't read it (especially the part about not having the books in front of me), you may want to before continuing.


Re: I've Made A Terrible Mistake

If you're not confused, then you don't understand Tip Scum. I think that's my new motto. Basically, every screenwriting technique book I've ever read ends up with complex diagrams (McKee is particularly fond) to explain ideas that really don't need them. Everyone has you tracking threads of information that, if mapped on corkboard with string, would look like one of those airline diagrams that shows worldwide flights. Everyone is so complex that even people who understand it can't succinctly explain it, because if they could then they couldn't charge so much for seminars.

So, in retaliation, I think that it would be appropriate if Tip Scum is all about confusion, because if you're not confused than your plot isn't complex enough. If you're not confused, then you're not relating to your batter, er, protagonist enough, because if your protagonist isn't confused, then there is no drama in their life worth exploring and therefore no story.

In any case, the Sandshoe Crusher, if expressed in mathematical terms, would be: Sandshoe Crusher = (Inciting Incident + Predicament) / Point of Attack. Does that help confuse things better? Good! You're catching on.


I've Made A Terrible Mistake

D'oh! I got confused. For some reason (even though it's perfectly clear what you wrote), I thought the Sandshoe Crusher was the supposed to be the equivalent of the Point of Attack, not the Predicament -- I guess cuz it was the first definition you put up there, and I immediately thought of it in terms of the first part of the sequence method, the Point of Attack.

So, unless I'm still confused, Predicament = Sandshoe Crusher = Inciting Incident.

(I know, the audience is just swooning.)


Re: Talkin' Bout Structure, Part II

which, contrary to what Burley said below, I think is the equivalent to McKee's Inciting Incident, but then again, he's got the books, not me

So he got them out to look it up. I present you with:

THE INCITING INCIDENT VS. THE POINT OF ATTACK / PREDICAMENT (aren't you just juiced about this?)

First, the definitions.


From Story, by Robert McKee, pg 189:

The INCITING INCIDENT radically upsets the balance of forces in the protagonists life.

pg. 190

...the Inciting Incident is a single event that either happens directly to the protagonist or is caused by the protagonist. Consequently, he's immediately aware that life is out of balance for better or worse.

So, to sum up, the Inciting Incident is the event that really kicks the story in. Everything before is for empathizing what life would be like without the event.


Talkin' 'Bout Structure, Part II

Now where was I? Oh right, the so-called sequence method.

(Again, as Burley mentioned, I don't have the books in front of me, so what follows is based on memory, along with stuff borrowed from other writers [like McKee] and my own additions. I probably won't delineate between what's from the book and my own crazed imaginings, so take all this stuff with an added pinch of salt.)


Tip Scum Is Here!

Shockah will be happy to learn that I've finally started reading the books he loaned me on the sequence method. This means two things: 1. He'll get his books back eventually (we have an ongoing thing, where we dump tons of books/dvd/comics/whatever on the other guy and then watch him squirm under the weight of the borrowed pile. Somethings are read/watched quickly and returned. Some are in a holding pattern for processing, and still others are being held in the quiet suspicion that one of us might turn out to be a rat and hold out on returning everything he has. In the interim, one of us will occasionally ask "So, have you read/watched blank yet?" and watch the other one guiltily come up with reasons why they've neglected our impossibly large duties. The asker will stand and nod and wait....), and 2. I'll be able to join this conversation while actually, you know, talking about what I'm talking about.

Since I'm beginning this, I thought I'd also start, little by little, to put together The Patented Spitball! Cricket Method (TPSCM, or tip-scum) of screenwriting.

All scripts begin when something happens to someone and starts the imbalance in their lives. The sequence method calls this the point of attack. The McKee method calls this the inciting incident. In TPSCM this is called the Sandshoe Crusher. This fine page about cricket has defined a Sandshoe Crusher as a ball that actually hits the batsman on a foot. In my mind, getting a hard ball thrown at your foot would certainly set you off your game. If you were playing a game, and the normal course of the game would be a boring life, but the game being thrown off would create drama, a Sandshoe Crusher would seem to do this. So, formally:

TPSCM Definition #1

Sandhoe Crusher: That event which causes the primary character's normal life to be unbalanced, and that they set to rebalancing.

(please note: I know nothing about cricket. I may have well made the curling method of screenwriting, but I worried about finding the proper place for the term "broom." If there are cricket fans out there who would like to correct me on proper usage of terms, I would be most appreciative, and will do my best to make sure the TPSCM does its best to respect the language of the game, in context of the game being used a metaphor for writing a screenplay).


Structure Doesn't Only Hold Up Buildings

I decided to pipe my own few cents on the structure questions, after Shockah's fine post on the matter.

I was reminded, reading his description of his college writing experiences, of the Mamet quote that "the Avant Garde is to the left what jingoism is to the right. Both are a refuge in nonsense." This is not to downplay abstraction or disregard completely avant material, but what I took from Shockah's point about his college experience is much that I took from nearly every writing class I've experienced: They don't teach you how to write.

Instead, they teach you to think as abstractly as possible. They try to get your mind into creative spaces. Often, there is flowery talk about personal self-expression, which millions of writers take to mean that the only craft in writing is just to express their feelings. Just ask the editors of any poetry magazine about how many unpublishable entries they receive every day (thus giving rise to the guaranteed-to-be-published poetry anthologized subsidized by the authors themselves).


Talkin' 'Bout Structure, Part I

See, although we plan on writing a screenplay in front of the entire internet and his mom and everything, for me, this is the real screenwriting without a net. I'm going to expound on an issue of screenwriting technique -- structure -- without any sort of professional credit to my name. What's more, I'm going to be talking about a method of dealing with structure that's the focus of two pretty good books -- David Howard's How to Build a Great Screenplay and Paul Joseph Gulino's Screenwriting: The Sequence Approach -- without benefit of having the books on hand. Mistakes will be made, laughs will be had, cease-and-desists will be delivered.

But -- But! -- since, as mentioned earlier, we plan to use the sequence method in the writing of the Spitball! screenplay, some kind of introduction is necessary for those that don't know, won't show, or don't care what's going on in the hood.


In A World -- Thoughts on the Process

January 23, 2006 · by The Urban Shockah · Permalink · Category: Original Version, technique

Some random thoughts on what we just did....


Re:[2] Sci Fi?

A. Unless we were seriously going to explore the idea of "Prison Planet" as a metaphor, of course its going to be SF in some sense.

Maybe I should have tagged it with the "humor" category. I posted that because it was a blatantly stupid thing to think, and therefore funny that I caught myself thinking it. Kind of like thinking "Hmmm. Ford is really pushing the F-150 into that truck genre." Or, "Wow. This dialogue is really pushing itself into the webpage genre."

B. Genre isn't for marketers. Genre is legitimate framework or window through which to view a story. Every genre has its conventions, and you can play them straight or subvert them.

I would argue that genre is to movies was genus is to animals. The animal doesn't care if it's a grizzly bear, but the biologist cares that it belongs to the genus Ursinae. By the same token, I don't really care what genre we're in, and see it as a construct of critics, analytics and marketers. I've never once met a musician who said "I'm going for AOR mid-tempo with an alternative edge," and I've never met a story that said "I need to be seen as a love story to be appreciated." Quite the opposite, I think the best of any creative categories are the ones that seem to be within one genre or another, and then transcend it.