Tone & Voice

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  • Tone & Voice

    I'm working on a rom-com --I'm torn between two directions: a WHEN HARRY MET SALLY approach, "sophisticated", dry wit, dialogue-driven & THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY, broad, "crude" & whacky.

    I may end up trying to cover all bases & I'm wondering how the uneveness of tone, the lack of a singular voice may affect potential readers.

    Any thoughts?
    " Life is high school with money. " Frank Zappa

  • #2
    Re: Tone & Voice

    more than you can comprehend, not only the difficulty in juggling the tempo issues and the payoffs that will go against the genre, whichever, you have to be funny and whacky without being redundant AND you need a love story that will be compelling.

    think about this, in what about marry the story was never really that our lead loved the women, it was more about the shennanigans, sure he loved this hot fox, but it didn't matter if they got together.

    now when hairy met sally, you felt the train gaining momentum as the story unfolded, you so much rooted for them to get together in a way that would touch emotionally, without the ridiculous payoffs in movies of what about mary's ilk.

    you can still be wacky in a rom com, and it will make it even more faceted if you can combine some story elments of both, but i reccomend, and this is just me, and i point to the best movie of all time that combined these elements seemlessly was GARP, that you pick one, i don't see how anything other than a trained proffesional is not going to leave at least 50% of your audience looking for more or less of something; and in terms of marketing, the bottom line of many, many movie making instituitions, is the ability to hook it's market (PAYING CUSTOMERS) and deliver the movie they paid for.

    vig

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    • #3
      Re: Tone & Voice

      i'd read it aloud into a tape recorder. flat and fairly fast.

      i don't know what tone and voice you're trying to figure out, but you'll hear some things that will probably make you go back to the drawing board. you'll hear the tone and voice you're trying to write.

      you'll hear that.

      good thing to hear. your own story, told by YOU.

      good luck and destroy the tape.

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      • #4
        Re: Tone & Voice

        and in terms of marketing, the bottom line of many, many movie making instituitions, is the ability to hook it's market (PAYING CUSTOMERS) and deliver the movie they paid for.

        ...sounds like "neither fish nor fowl" would be a definite turn-off then.
        " Life is high school with money. " Frank Zappa

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        • #5
          Re: Tone & Voice

          the two types of humor work, but not well together. Imagine a fart joke in the middle of HmS. Either do the physical/body humor or the intellectual/wit humor but don't do both.

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          • #6
            Re: Tone & Voice

            Can you be crude in a sophistocated way?

            People who like witty, dare I say, cerebral humor, usually aren't as likely to laugh at the getting your manhood stuck in your zipper type of humor.
            It's kind of fun to do the impossible - Walt Disney

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            • #7
              Re: Tone & Voice

              I think that the two films you mentioned are kinda on opposite ends of the spectrum. But that's not to say that you can't find a happy meduim. Dialogue "wit" driven comedies can also have farcical situations. City Slickers for example. Or some of the more offbeat type comedy that the Coens produce like Brother Where Art Thou'.

              I think you should choose a tone - somewhere along this "sophisticated" to "crude" comedy spectrum and stick to it, rather than having some scenes at one end and some scenes at the other.

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              • #8
                Re: Tone & Voice

                I have had the same issues. When critics say that a film is uneven, I've noticed that they're usually referring to a comedy.

                There's this huge temptation to switch gears from satire to slapstick, let's say, for the sake of getting laughs. Resist it. The reader will think you're reaching. People think belly laugh slapstick is easy to write. Total bs.

                I would write extensive chararcter histories and back stories. I'd choose the tone that is most natural for you as a writer, fits your story best, and gets the theme across without insulting anyone's intelligence. All the laughs must be organic.
                "I ask every producer I meet if they need TV specs they say yeah. They all want a 40 inch display that's 1080p and 120Hz. So, I quit my job at the West Hollywood Best Buy."
                - Screenwriting Friend

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