The first ever WriteMovies Romance and Comedy Award has a winner! It’s been great to read all the scripts that were entered, and the standard was extremely high, as it usually is – but there can only be one script that takes the top spot…
There’s just one week to go until we announce the winner of our first ever Romance and Comedy Award! To celebrate, we put together lists of our favorite films from each genre… and now it’s the turn of the hybrid rom-com genre!
Once again, this isn’t comprehensive and we don’t necessarily think these are the best comedy films. They’re just our favorites, and we think that there’s lots to learn for writers by watching them…
1. THE BIG SICK
No genre is more plagued with clichés than romantic-comedies, and avoiding them is a big problem for even the most experienced writers. They’re not a problem for THE BIG SICK, however, which somehow manages to tell a story that is both moving and funny without falling back on any of the usual tropes. It helps that it was based on the real-life romance between its writers Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani (who also starred in the lead role), but the care and originality of this script always shines through – and was rewarded with a nomination for Best Original Screenplay in 2018.
2. ROMAN HOLIDAY
A classic of the genre, William Wyler’s tale of a princess escaping her guardians and roaming Rome (see what we did there?) with an American reporter has a rare kind of charm. Having Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn (in her only Oscar-winning performance) in your cast certainly helps, but the script is a wonderful work of art, winning the Academy Award for Writing in 1953. It wasn’t until 1992 that the real writer was retroactively given his award, though; Dalton Trumbo (brilliantly portrayed by Bryan Cranston in 2015’s TRUMBO) was blacklisted at the time.
3. WHEN HARRY MET SALLY
Another Oscar nominee for Best Original Screenplay! It’s almost like good writing shows… WHEN HARRY MET SALLY is smart, funny, and original, and introduced the world to a lot of new concepts about relationships. If you ever doubt its importance in the canon of romantic-comedies, just go and watch something in the same genre from the 1990s and you’ll find this film’s fingerprints (both Harry’s and Sally’s) all over it; FRIENDS, the biggest sitcom of all time, is a notable example!
4. BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S
The second film to star Audrey Hepburn on this list, which just goes to show how she excelled in these kind of roles. This one was adapted from the novella of the same name by Truman Capote, so there was already a great writer behind it before George Axelrod got his hands on it – but strangely enough, the part was originally written and tailored for Marilyn Monroe, who was Capote’s first pick but turned the role down. He apparently hated Hepburn in the part… but we’ll disagree with him there. There’s a difference between writing a novella and a screenplay, and while those differences didn’t make BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S the most faithful adaptation, it certainly made it a great film.
5. SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE
This one might prove a bit controversial – although perhaps not quite as controversial as when it beat out SAVING PRIVATE RYAN for the Oscar for Best Picture. Still, it also won Best Original Screenplay for Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman, and with good reason in our opinion. Charming, witty, and romantic, it ticks all the boxes for a rom-com that we can think of. A big plus, of course, is that it’s about the greatest writer in history, and that definitely helps win our approval too.
HONORABLE MENTION: MOST OF HUGH GRANT’S MOVIES
No, this doesn’t include PADDINGTON 2 (although we’re a big fan of that as well). You know what we’re referring to: most of Richard Curtis’ output, with a few others thrown in for good measure, including ABOUT A BOY, NOTTING HILL, FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL, and LOVE ACTUALLY. We’d have loved to have included them in the main list above, but unfortunately they all cancelled one another out and it was impossible to choose between them.
Valentine’s Day is the day to celebrate all things romantic – including movies! And with our first ever Romance and Comedy Award closing just last week, this seemed like the perfect time for us to put together a small list of our favorite romantic films that we think all writers should watch.
The list isn’t intended to be comprehensive, and these aren’t categorically the best the genre has to offer! But they are our favorites, and there are important lessons for writers to learn from all of them this Valentine’s Day…
1. DOCTOR ZHIVAGO
David Lean was on a roll by the time he came to make DOCTOR ZHIVAGO, having just made BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI and LAWRENCE OF ARABIA – and it shows. The bleak wastes of Russia make for a beautiful backdrop, but center stage is a sweeping love story that carries us through the brutality of the country’s political turmoil of the early 20th century. This film is the very definition of the term “epic”. At over three hours long, it shows that if you make the human elements of your story strong enough, it’s still enough to keep an audience engaged for however long.
2. ROMEO + JULIET
There was no way we could compile this list without mentioning the original pair of star-crossed lovers – it was just a question of which version! Special mention goes to the 1968 version, but it’s Baz Luhrmann’s modern re-imagining which gets our vote. The beginning of the film is too hectic, but once the lovers meet it becomes a sumptuous, tragic tale full of stolen moments and forbidden love.The original script was written by some guy called Shakespeare, who seems to have been pretty good at his job: he fills the story with passion, jokes, despair, tragedy and revenge all in one go.
3. ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND
Memories of a failed romance can be painful – and that’s why Joel and Clementine choose to have theirs erased in Charlie Kaufman’s Oscar-winning script. Like much of Kaufman’s work, it’s a mind-bending concept (literally, in this case), but it’s also a touching exploration of love, loss, and the nature of heartache. Jim Carrey turns in a surprisingly subtle and understated performance that suits him, while Kate Winslet picked up her fourth Oscar nomination for hers, but ultimately it’s the script that powers this beautifully poignant film.
4. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
The first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is either a film about Stockholm Syndrome or how true love looks beyond mere appearances – but we choose to believe the latter. With fantastic animation, catchy songs, and a tale as old as time, this is the perfect example of how to tell a fairytale romance. Just don’t get us started on the live-action remake, which turned the Beast into a jerk and featured a bit too much auto-tune.
Okay, so here’s a bit of a strange one: a man falls in love with the operating system on his computer – and it falls in love with him in return. Another winner of the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, writer-director Spike Jonze takes his unique premise and weaves a touching story about the nature of human relationships… despite one half of the central relationship not being human. But then, that’s part of the reason why it works. It’s an insightful look into the psychology and emotion of love, demonstrating both its vulnerability and its boundlessness.
SPECIAL MENTION: TITANIC
James Cameron’s epic is the gold standard for a lot of people, even if it’s a bit overwrought in our opinion. Its impact and technical achievements can’t be ignored, though.
SPECIAL MENTION: 4 minutes of UP
The “Married Life” segment of Pixar’s UP brings all but the hardiest to tears, charting the entire marriage of Carl and Ellie without a single word being said. Frankly, we’d have included it in our list if it were a film in its own right, but since it’s just a small part of one, it’ll have to make do with a special mention instead.
So there you have it – our favorite romance films. We don’t claim that they’re the best, but they’re the ones that have touched us the most and we think that all writers can learn something from them!
Happy New Year from everyone here at WriteMovies! The first deadline approaches for our latest genre award – the Romance and Comedy Award 2020 – with just a couple of days left for you to enter at the standard price!
At standard entry for this contest, you can submit a screenplay, stageplay, or TV pilot for just $39, or a book or video game script for $49. But you’ll have to move fast – the standard deadline is this Sunday, January 5th!
The successor to our first two genre prizes – the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Award 2019 and the Horror Award 2019 – the Romance and Comedy Award is here to celebrate more great writing. We’ll accept scripts that belong to either genre, or which are romantic-comedies.
And don’t forget that in addition to some great prizes, including development notes to help enhance your work and guaranteed pitching to industry, you’ll also get FREE, automatic entry to the Winter 2020 Screenwriting Contest too. The winner of our Horror Award 2019 also took the Grand Prize of $2000 in our Fall 2019 Screenwriting Contest – so give yourself the same chance and enter today!
We can’t wait to see what you’ve got for us. Submit by the end of Sunday January 5th for standard entry – but if you’re not completely ready yet, don’t worry. The final deadline is February 9th, so there’s still time.
Click here to visit the contest page and submit your work. We can’t wait to see what scripts you’ve got for us!
Our celebration of great writing continues with our latest genre prize. After the great success of our Sci-Fi and Fantasy and Horror awards, we are proud to announce the first ever WriteMovies Romance and Comedy Award!
Do you like to make people laugh with great comedy? Are you a fan of stories about enduring love and relationships? Or do you like to blend the two into that most classic of genres, the rom-com? Then this is the contest for you!
The WriteMovies Romance and Comedy Award is here to celebrate scripts that lift our spirits through laughter or inspire us with passionate love – or a bit of both! We’ll be accepting scripts in the genres of both comedy and romance, plus the crossover genre of the romantic-comedy.
The winner of this prize will receive:
- Guaranteed pitching to industry
- Two sets of Development Notes to help take their script to the next level
- Further advice to fine tune their script from our experts
Plus, every entry to this award will receive free, automatic entry to the WriteMovies Winter 2020 Screenwriting Contest!
So it’s time to get writing. Standard entry to this award lasts until Sunday 5th January, with the final deadline on Sunday February 9th! Click here to visit the main contest page and submit your script!