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Writing the Romantic Comedy Paperback – July 31, 2001
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More About the Author
In his late teens he began his writing career as a composer-lyricist whose songs were recorded by Carly Simon and Judy Collins, among others. During his many years in the entertainment industry, he's written for television (NBC's legendary "Santa Barbara") and worked as both screenwriter and script consultant.
Known as 'the guru of rom-com' for his best-selling screenwriting textbook, "Writing the Romantic Comedy" (Harper/Collins) and his popular blog Living the Romantic Comedy, Billy teaches at the UCLA Extension Writers' Program, and is a frequent guest speaker at writing conferences around the country.
"Imagine Me and You: A Novel" (Random House/ Shaye Areheart Books) is his first published work of literary/mainstream fiction.
Top Customer Reviews
Although I've done some screenwriting in my time, my head isn't exactly bursting with ideas for romantic comedies. But since I'm an admirer of the genre, Mernit's book felt like a guided tour through a favorite building when you don't have any plans to construct a building of your own.
Hollywood producers notoriously hate to read, so if you're a Hollywood writer, you need to pick up a few tricks to make reading as easy for them (or their surrogates) as possible. As a writer for the entertainment industry, Mernit has obviously picked up a few tricks of his own, making his book a brisk and enjoyable read. The historical overview is appreciated almost as much as Mernit's disassemblies of some of the rom-com's stand-outs to show how the genre ticks.
Although the book is sprinkled with a few factual errors (for example, on page 177, he refers to author Milan Kundera as "Polish" instead of Czech), these aren't enough to upset the taco stand. Mernit's explanations of the genre's components are straightforward, artful, but clearly presented. And his dubbing of the Mr. Wrong character (a convention in many rom-coms) as the "Bellamy," after actor Ralph Bellamy who specialized in such roles, had me laughing out loud.Read more ›
Mr. Mernit examines the basic components of story and character, but also provides fascinating insight to such subjects as theme. End-chapter exercises are unusually helpful and enlightening.
Critiques of a few movies show just how they accomplished what they did. (The examination of "Tootsie" is amazing!) I appreciated the breakdown of how romantic comedy in the movies has evolved through the years and am now collecting many of the titles listed in the book that I've never seen. (The recent AFI list on romantic movies is also a good source for more study.)
This book is on my shelf now right next to Syd Fields and Debra Dixon. I will certainly be referring to it again and again in the years that come.
First, it's really the only current book of its type to focus on the romantic comedy genre.
Second, it doesn't neglect screenwriting in general, yet at the same time does not overdue the details of general screenwriting, which can be had in other books.
Third, he's a good writer and knows how to keep the material moving.
Fourth, mixed in with everything else are excellent in-depth analyses of top romantic comedies. I found his analysis of Tootsie especially good. It prompted me to take out the movie and see it again but with new eyes.
Fifth, there's really a lot more in this book than I can write about in this small space, but I particularly gained from his chapters entitled "The Art of Funny" and "Being Sexy."
My one complaint is that I was not too sold on his seven part structure which all romantic comedies can be broken down into supposedly. Perhaps he's correct, but formulaic approaches just irk me. Maybe one day I'll feel differently.
Overall, though, this is an excellent book, delivering what it promises, and worthwhile to have around for rereadings in part or whole.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love this. I love how the writer uses actual movies and the characters for examples. I have learned a lot from only a few chapters. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Victoria Clarkson
An informative book about the Rom Com genre, easy to get into and enjoyPublished 8 months ago by Scott Springer
I was feeling a little stuck writing my latest novel and this helped perk up the old creative juices. Highly recommend!Published 18 months ago by Amy Vansant
First time I read about screen writing I am really enjoying this book because it goes through all the basics clearly and makes case reference to several movies I have already seen,... Read morePublished on December 14, 2013 by Andrew Cap
He describes the book himself as "a complete romantic comedy screenwriting workshop in one book" (p. x), and so it is. Read morePublished on May 6, 2013 by V. WELCH
Absolutely perfect when it comes to understanding how the romantic comedy works. If I had to recommend a book on screenwriting for the purpose of understanding how to write... Read morePublished on January 5, 2013 by Chris Badeaux