March 12 - 14 Genres and Elements


Object - A Package

What’s in it? Whose it for? Is it a physical package or one that contains data? A gift? A trap? We just need to see a package, whatever your interpretation of one is.

Character - A confidant

Someone trustworthy, whom another character can confide in. Are they told a secret? Do they witness a crime? Do they keep their trust or do they break it by the end?

Sound effect - Ticking

What’s that mysterious ticking sound? Is it a clock? A bomb? Or are you going crazy? Try and think outside the box with this one because we’re gonna hear a lot of ticking this weekend.

Technical Element - Reflection

We want to see a reflection, ie: the throwing back by a body or surface of light, heat, or sound without absorbing it. So sure, maybe it’s just a mirror, or water or a reflective surface, or maybe a bullet fired at a surface rebounds and hits the shooter? Maybe a character has a quiet moment of contemplation and self discovery? Reflection. Hmmm.


  1. The Mistaken Identity Movie
  2. The Gross Out Comedy Movie
  3. The Race Against Time movie
  4. The Heist Movie
  5. The Buddy Movie
  6. The Possession Movie (doesn’t have to be horror - body swap etc)
  7. The Real Time Thriller Movie
  8. The Crime movie
  9. The Superhero Movie
  10. The Musical or Science Fiction Movie

#1 - The Mistaken Identity Movie 

“Where's the money, Lebowski?” -THE BIG LEBOWSKI (1998)

In your film, someone must be mistaken for someone else. Does this kick off the story? Has it already happened? Is it the twist ending? These decisions are all up to you! Perhaps the mistake winds your protagonist in a situation where they’re in danger (like THE BIG LEBOWSKI, THE FUGITIVE or LIFE OF BRIAN), perhaps it gives them good fortune (like SCHOOL OF ROCK or DUMB AND DUMBER). Whether it's due to a classic airport suitcase mix up or the tried and true Prince and the Pauper situation, we want to see an identity be mistaken, and the consequences thereof.Other examples include: THE GREAT DICTATOR, BACK TO THE FUTURE, THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY, NORTH BY NORTHWEST, GALAXY QUEST, A CINDERELLA STORY or BARBIE: THE PRINCESS AND THE PAUPER

#2 - The Gross Out Comedy Movie

 “We'll just tell your mother that... we ate it all” -AMERICAN PIE (1999)

It’s time to embrace your inner immature child. Remember when poop was funny? Well it’s funny again. A Gross-Out comedy is essentially comedy meets splatter, but instead of blood, guts and corn syrup on screen, it’s poop, vomit, excessive burping or old people making out, to name a few (but certainly not all) of the tropes. This is a comedy that is driven by disgusting effects and situations, so get your minds deep into the gutter and have some fun with it. Deliver the YUCK to earn the yuks.Other examples include: SOUTH PARK, FAMILY GUY, THE NUTTY PROFESSOR, BRIDESMAIDS, JACKASS, ANIMAL HOUSE, THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY, AMERICAN PIE, FREDDY GOT FINGERED, DUMB AND DUMBER or BORAT

#3 - The Race Against Time Movie

 “If you stop, you die” - CRANK (2006)

The clock is ticking! For this genre the rules are simple: Time is running out. Are your characters going to miss a flight? Are they gonna be late for their son’s baseball game? Or is the poison slowly coursing through their veins going to kill them in under 5 minutes? The stakes are up to you, but the goal must be achieved fast! Often obstacles lie in the way of the characters in Race Against Time movies, most commonly distance (like ROAD TRIP, 1917 or PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES), but there are examples where characters are simply stuck in one soon-to-be-doomed place (like 127 HOURS, DUNKIRK or TITANIC). Maybe other lives are at stake (like SPEED or THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS) or maybe it’s your own (like SAW, CRANK or BACK TO THE FUTURE). Maybe your character is just gonna be late for school! (like FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF) Or maybe the planet/universe/fabric of reality itself is about to be destroyed! (like AVENGERS: ENDGAME or DOCTOR STRANGELOVE). Time itself can even be an antagonistic force if you’re clever enough (like RUN LOLA RUN, PALM SPRINGS, INTERSTELLAR or 24). When you think about your favourite films, you’ll probably find there is some kind of narrative ticking clock hidden in there anyway - your job is just to bring that into the spotlight.Other examples include: M, BURIED, ARMAGEDDON, GONE IN 60 SECONDS, THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE, HIGH NOON, ONWARD, APOLLO 13, GET HIM TO THE GREEK, TENET, GREENLAND, or AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH

#4 - The Heist Movie 

 “Now there's eleven of us, each with an equal share. You do the math.” -OCEAN’S ELEVEN (2001)

Heist movies are all about taking something that doesn’t currently belong to you. Typically these films involve an elaborate plan to break into a secured vault, or steal some precious artifact, or plant an idea in someone's subconscious or something completely inane like stealing an apple. The question is, will everything go according to plan?Other examples include: MASTERMINDS, WIDOWS,  LOGAN LUCKY, THE ITALIAN JOB, FAST FIVE, AMERICAN ANIMALS, NOW YOU SEE ME, BABY DRIVER or INCEPTION

#5 - The Buddy Movie

“Have you ever met anybody you didn't kill?” “Well, I haven't killed you yet” -LETHAL WEAPON (1987

)This genre is all about partnership, friendship or the inevitable merging of the two. Maybe the main characters have been friends their whole lives? Maybe they’ve been forced to work together and eventually learn to get along? While often tied to cop films (like LETHAL WEAPON or THE HEAT), buddy films can also be about other professions (like GREEN BOOK, MEN IN BLACK or MONSTER’S INC), or they can just be about friendship, plain and simple (like SUPERBAD or I LOVE YOU, MAN). Friendship is the central theme here, so all you have to do is make sure that at the centre of your film, are a couple of buddies.Other examples include: BAD BOYS, THE HUSTLE, THE HEAT, HOT FUZZ, DUMB AND DUMBER, MONSTER’S INC, THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON, BOOKSMART, THE NICE GUYS or ZOOTOPIA

#6 - The Possession Movie

“What an excellent day for an exorcism” -THE EXORCIST (1973)

Your movie must involve someone or something being possessed by someone else or something else - immediate ghosts and spirits spring to mind but you don’t have to make this a horror if you don’t want to, and creative interpretations are encouraged. Horror certainly dominates the genre with films like THE EXORCIST or INSIDIOUS, but there are more playful, dramatic or less scary interpretations like GHOST, THE NUTTY PROFESSOR and THE LOVELY BONES. Does your film’s possession help the characters or hinder them? Is there a way to exorcise the demon out of the person? Or free the trapped soul? Or are they better off this way? This genre invites plenty of inventive acting and special effects, so get creative!Other examples include:ANNABELLE, JENNIFER’S BODY, INSIDIOUS, SCARY MOVIE 2, THE EXORCIST, THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE, EVIL DEAD or SCOOBY DOO.

#7 - The Real Time Thriller Movie

“If you hang up, I will kill you.” -PHONEBOOTH (2002)

Whatever your thriller is about, it has to take place in real time. In other words, if your movie is 5 minutes long, then the 5 minutes it takes to watch needs to be the amount of time that passes in the movie. It also has to be thrilling! Scary! Tense! Spooky! Real time thrillers include movies like UNFRIENDED, ROPE, PHONE BOOTH and BURIED. You can have multiple stories in your film, they just need to be happening in real time, so no “Meanwhile…” moments or anything like that. Play it safe or dare to be risky, there just can’t be any time jumps.Other examples include: 16 BLOCKS, COP CAR, SILENT HOUSE, UNITED 93 or THE MAN FROM EARTH

#8 - The Crime movie

 “I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse” - THE GODFATHER (1972)

Stick ‘em up! Your movie is about crime! And remember, crime doesn’t pay….? Maybe it does, you’re telling the story. Crime films have existed in many forms over the years, from comedies (like HOT FUZZ, LOGAN LUCKY or LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS) to hard dramas (like HEAT, DONNIE BRASCO or, of course THE GODFATHER). Your film could follow those who uphold the law (like LETHAL WEAPON), those who break the law (like PULP FICTION), both (like FARGO) or maybe the only difference between lawman and criminal is a badge and a uniform (like LA CONFIDENTIAL, PRISONERS or THE WIRE). The sky really is the limit for this genre, your only requirement is that your story needs to involve at least one illegal activity (which needs to be achieved on screen by the filmmakers legally, thank you). Some of the best movies ever made are crime movies. Will you join those coveted ranks?Other examples include: TAXI DRIVER, ZOOTOPIA, 21 JUMP STREET, DOG DAY AFTERNOON, OCEAN’S 11, KNIVES OUT, BERNIE, SNATCH, GOODBYE PORK PIE, BLACKKKLANSMAN, GONE GIRL, UNCUT GEMS, MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, PAUL BLART: MALL COP or THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

#9 - The Superhero movie

"You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain." - THE DARK KNIGHT (2008)

You’d have to be living under a rock in 2021 to not know what the superhero movie is! The most popular and profitable blockbuster subgenre of the 21st century, and one that has been interpreted, subverted and tributed in so many different ways - and now it’s your turn! Maybe you want to go traditional and make a film about a superpowered/bionically enhanced do-gooder who saves the day (like SPIDER-MAN, WONDER WOMAN or IRON MAN) - or maybe you want to go dark and explore the morally gray decisions superheroes find themselves forced to make (like THE DARK KNIGHT, LOGAN or WATCHMEN). Hell, maybe you’d rather focus on the super villains (like in JOKER, SUICIDE SQUAD or MEGA MIND). Whether you go for the classic corny-ness of SUPERMAN, the smart-ass satire of DEADPOOL or the existential dread of WANDAVISION, the malleability of the superhero movie makes it one of the greatest genres out there - and with great genre comes great films!Other examples include: THE INCREDIBLES, KICK-ASS, MYSTERY MEN, SUPER, BIG HERO 6, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, JUSTICE LEAGUE, SHAZAM, UNBREAKABLE, VENOM, CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS, CHRONICLE, X-MEN, BRIGHTBURN or PROJECT POWER

#10 - The Musical or Science Fiction Movie

“I'm just a mean green mother from outer space!” - LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (1986)

Lucky you! You get to choose! Will you take on the challenge of the coveted/dreaded Musical, or go for the spaced out and crazy Science Fiction movie?The Musical is easily the most successful genre in all of 48Hours - but it’s also undoubtedly the hardest. Your film can be about anything - it just has to feature songs! Classic musicals include GREASE, LES MISERABLES, GUYS AND DOLLS, HELLO DOLLY, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, CAROUSEL and CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG, while more recent musical films include HAMILTON, MOULIN ROUGE, LA LA LAND, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, HAIRSPRAY, THE GREATEST SHOWMAN and uh… CATS! While most musicals typically exist in a world where music is used as a narrative device and everyone magically breaks out into song and dance, there are more grounded examples of the genre where the songs are actually sung by the characters in the world of the film, like PITCH PERFECT, ONCE, A STAR IS BORN, BEGIN AGAIN, BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY, 8 MILE, YESTERDAY or ROCKETMAN.Other examples include: MARY POPPINS, THE LION KING, ANNIE, INTO THE WOODS, FOOTLOOSE, TROLLS, SWEENEY TODD or EUROVISION SONG CONTEST: THE STORY OF FIRE SAGAIf you’re going with Science Fiction, remember, in space, no one can hear you scream - so dance like nobody’s watching! This genre is your chance to get creative, to get cosmic, to get existential… or you can just tell a kick-ass story about aliens - that’s the beauty of Sci-Fi, you can be as deep or as surface level as you want, for every BLADE RUNNER there’s a RICK AND MORTY. Your film just has to be about science fiction.That doesn’t just mean aliens or space travel (like ALIEN, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, GALAXY QUEST or INTERSTELLAR), your film can be built around a lofty mind-bending premise (like THE MATRIX, INCEPTION, LOOPER or ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND), or science run amok (like JURASSIC PARK, GODZILLA or EX MACHINA). Maybe it’s about other worlds or dimensions (like ANNIHILATION, READY PLAYER ONE or ANOTHER EARTH) or maybe it’s just about killer robots or giant monsters (like THE TERMINATOR, PACIFIC RIM, THE MEG, WALL-E or MONSTERS, INC). SciFi is all about the central concepts, and how your characters operate in the world around that central concept.Other examples include: MINORITY REPORT, THE QUIET EARTH, GATTACA, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, ET, PLANET OF THE APES, TRON, WAR OF THE WORLDS, THE THING, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, WEIRD SCIENCE, SHORT CIRCUIT or STARSHIP TROOPERS