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Study Tips

Genre Guru is dedicated to helping performers (particularly improvisers) act in the styles of specific movie genres. It has been developed by experienced performers for use by performers of all levels of experience. It allows you to get encyclopedic knowledge of a genre without reading an encyclopedia. It is designed to be used as a foundation, a study guide and revision notes.

There are many ways to get to know a genre. The best way is to watch a lot of films in that genre, but not everybody has enough time to do that for every genre. That's one reason we came up with the Genre Guides. Here are other things you can do to get to know a genre:

• Discuss. After watching a few movies in that genre, discuss the key elements of that genre with your friends / fellow performers. Make a list of the key elements you saw and how you would do them in an improv scene.
• Another way to really get into a genre, is to read books or articles about that genre. This however, can take more time than just watching a couple of films.
• Watch spoofs of that genre. Spoofs of genre films often pick out the defining elements of a movie and exaggerate them allowing you to see them clearly. Usually when you are performing a comedy improv show, you are not actually performing that genre but enacting a spoof of that genre.
• Do a film class, if you're very keen.
• Read books in that genre. Many genres have an equivalent literary style which follows many of the same conventions.
• Reading scripts of genre films is not recommended unless you have experience of reading scripts. Scripts or not easily read if you do not have any experience in doing so.

To help you explore what you know about genres and see if you understand them, there are some things you can try:

• Perform scenes in that genre. Afterwards discuss what works and doesn't and what other things you could have done. Other exercises that can work include creating tableaux for different genre with the whole cast being characters and objects in a typical scene or trying the games listed in the Genre Games list.
• Explore archetypal characters from the genre. Perform exercises and scenes but use character types from a specific genre.
• If you are not in a rehearsal situation, why not improvise character monologues in a particular genre.
• Write short pieces in that style. If you enjoy writing and especially are not able to rehearse at the moment, this can help you explore a genre, and especially find the voice of the genre. Some styles lend themselves better to this exercise, especially those with a corresponding literary style.
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