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Disaster Genre- How To Improvise

Disaster"Oh, the humanity!"
—Newsreel footage of the Hindenburg disaster (1937)

Introduction

Movie where something catastrophic threatens and/or happens, dealing with the build-up or aftermath as much as, or even more than, the disaster itself. In amongst the mass panic, death and destruction, some very human dramas occur.

Essence

  • Mass destruction and death. Or at least the threat of it.
  • People revealed as heroes or self-serving cowards.
  • Those who panic are usually lost very quickly.
  • Ordinary people thrust into extraordinary situations.
  • Often an all star cast or cameos by big stars.

Characteristics

Where Anywhere, but usually big cities, boats or airports.
Cockpit of plane; airport control tower. Bridge of ship; engine room; first class lounge.
Police control center; mayors office; fire engine.
When Now or a short while in the future. Or set around real, historical events.
Who Ordinary people.
Scientist or engineer or someone else who predicts the event and may be able to save the day.
Politician, scientist or others who are the real causes, cover up or don’t act in time for some (usually selfish) reason.
What Air crashes; explosions; buildings consumed by fire; earthquakes, volcanoes and avalanches; meteors, comets and asteroids; maelstroms, floods and other extreme acts of weather.
People fleeing; rescuing; being trapped; sacrificing themselves.

Examples (from Amazon)

 
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