-By Warner Todd Huston
Some have wondered how Hollywood works. There is the romantic version where a writer of talent writes an outstanding, heartfelt script, a director of vision expounds upon that script and actors with intensity bring it to life. Like much about romance that romantic image of Hollywood is a myth.
No, what Hollywood does when it wants a “serious” movie or TV show (especially a TV show) is dust off its basic outline and fit new names and different locations to each product. Well, revealed for the first time, here are those basic guidelines:
Script writing rules of thumb.
If a woman: She is preferably one with an “alternate lifestyle,” who is a single mother. She is tough as nails, plucky, ingenious and smarter than all men in the story.
If a man: He is reflective, caring, is easily angered by injustices such as those described by the National Organization for Women. He cries easily. But he is still flawed and can never be as good as the women in the story.
If a child: He or she is precocious, quick with the devastating one-liner and is smarter than all the other adults in the movie, especially his or her parents. But he or she in the end is sad because no one understands him or her and his or her parents don’t really love him or her the way he or she really needs to be loved by his or her parents. His or her is sad, sadly.
Father: Bumbling, uncaring, self-interested, harsh, distant, stupid. Sometimes a drunk.
Mother: Long-suffering, wise, but still not loving enough of her children.
Religious person: One of two Christian types, either the comedy side-kick, or the venal hypocrite. Either works. Unless you want a Muslim in the story. In that case they should be outgoing, smart, and dedicated. Very smart. Highly educated. Lots of degrees and stuff. Not stupid like Christians. Oh, and if a Jew make them smart but never a practicing Jew. Viewers like funny Jews. Make sure they are funny in a nureotic way.
Military: Un-educated, prone to murdering civilians, the quintessential knuckle-dragger. If you want one that is not like this, be sure and have one of the other Neanderthals kill him early in the story, or make him the outsider that the rest hate. Maybe have the good soldier beat up a couple of times by the dunder-heads.
Black People: Either make them streetwise, punks that are drug addicts and gang bangers, or make them the Christ-like, all wise oracle of all good advice but make sure they give their advice in a good street slang. And funny. Make them funny. Don’t let anyone tell you that step-n-fetch doesn’t work anymore. If they speak street, no one will notice anything else. Audiences will think its all normal, ya know?
Lawyers: There are two types. If they are corporate lawyers always make them greedy, seedy, sexual deviates. If they are defense lawyers and/or trial lawyers always make them fearless crusaders that only care about others and never themselves.
Cops: All cops are on the take unless he is the hero of the show or is married to the hero of the show. If he is married to the hero of the show, make him one of those guys that can’t stop all the other cops from being criminals so he looks the other way in powerlessness. If the later make sure his wife is a crusading defense lawyer so she can save his manhood for him with her selflessness.
Politicians: Make most of them evil but always have at least one good Democrat that cares about humanity and is working to help the folks. Make sure this one good one is always hard pressed by the corruption, though. And never, ever, make the good one a Republican. That would just bee too unbelievable.
And what ever you do, never make a man well, man-like. Audiences won’t understand a strong male figure. It’s so unlike reality, ya know? Well, on second thought, if the manly man you want in your show is a foreigner that holds the USA in contempt (like a foreign leader or hero) then it’s OK for him to seem manly. But never make and American manly. It’ll hurt your overseas box office.
If in the southern US make sure everyone in the story but the hero and maybe her husband is a shotgun-toting racist.
If in any northern city, make sure there is always lots of crime depicted, but be sure and show that one caring politician working hard for “the folks.”
If in a foreign land: always make it vibrant and beautiful. Make all the natives noble. Always make the natives the salt of the earth unless they are like native to Georgia or South Carolina or something. In that case, see above.
Finally, make sure that all American customs are ridiculed in some way. Either made out to be hypocritical, mean, uncaring, or evil.
Follow these rules of thumb and the Academy will be singing your hosannas and giving you little golden statues.
Well, there you have it. These guidelines were spirited out of the deepest Hollyweird writers forum. Make sure you keep them a secret.