How To Make A Movie


Have you ever been watching a movie and you get the feeling that you’ve seen that movie before? That’s because movie producers have figured out what formulas work best and make them the most money. And it’s different for different genres. 

There are a couple different horror movie tropes, but my favorite is the final girl trope. Typically it starts with a group of people, usually younger, college or high school age. There is a notable location that usually has some history for one of the characters, most likely the final girl or the killer, if not all of them: some sort of creepy house, summer camp, or something similar. Then the killer picks off each stereotypical character one by one, the jock, the nerd, the basket case. That is until they get up to the final girl. The final girl is the one who lives. They either unmask the killer to be one of their own, defeat them, or escape. Either way they make it through to the end. Which gives the perfect set up for a sequel where they can put the final girl up against the killer once again, or make the final girl the killer.

My favorite romantic comedy trope has to be forced proximity. It starts with two characters who aren’t fond of each other. They are somehow put into a situation where they are forced to spend time together. Work project, friend group, even the occasional spur of the moment move in. They start off bickering and arguing, then, the bickering turns playful. Add in a comic relief friend telling them to just go for it. Then there is a kiss. Now they could end the movie there, but what a rom-com without some conflict. One of them does something to upset the other, causing them to have to win them back. They get back together with a witty one liner from the best friend and roll credits.

Tragedy is a rough one. I personally feel tragedy is most effective when it involves children or animals. The movie has to start happy, to get you attached to the characters. Then around halfway through something sad happens. Someone getting sick,  hit by a car, or something that could cause them to pass away. We root for these characters because we love them. It gives you hope that you might make it through usually to take it away. They end it with a sad closure that death happens but it will be okay.

These are only a few of the many genres Hollywood has perfected over the years. They have found something that we want to watch and stuck with it. So next time you think about how similar movies are, remember how many movies you loved and watched that were the same.