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Tips for Romantic Comedies
by Robin Rowe
Romantic comedies can be a challenging genre to write because they have a known formula that the audience expects will be delivered. The rom-com audience can be very unforgiving not because the expectations are so high, but because the expectations are so specific. Formula doesn't mean predictable. The writer is expected to deliver surprises within the formula.
The theatrical market for romantic comedies is dating couples. After watching the movie the audience should feel good about love.
Common Rom-Com Mistakes
Hitch is an example that's both rom-com and buddy picture. Still follows the formula. Stories about chasing the fantasy girl date are often buddy pictures, not really rom-coms.
Pillow Talk shows how the guy pretend to be someone else because he would be disliked as himself. Secret identies are a common rom-com plot device.
Knocked Up starts with couple who like each other, then don't, then do again. That they're initially in love and one of them blows it and has to win the other back is a common rom-com plot device.
If you can break the formula and make it work, great. A lot of writers have hit the rocks trying.
Some Movies to Study for Rom-Com Ideas