The Crazy Genius Bio Picture There is a film genre which has garnered a lot of acclaim in recent years. It is The Crazy Genius Bio Picture. It's not just your typical biography picture like Gandhi. It's a bio picture about a crazy genius who could be Mozart or Howard Hughes or Kinsey or Nash.
If you're worried that you are losing your grip on reality, just watch a crazy genius bio picture, and you'll realize just how sane you are. In my feeble attempt to be the next Robert McKee, here are the eight elements of The Crazy Genius Bio Picture.
1. Usually the Crazy Genius Bio Picture starts with a scene from the childhood the Crazy Genius (aka CG). This childhood usually lasts 5 minutes at the most. CG either had terrible parents or had overly supportive parents in a tough world. Either way, it's the parents' fault.
2. We then meet CG as a young adult played by the actor who will have to age twenty years. Don't worry if the actor looks like he's in his thirties for the whole film. It's all make believe. The Crazy Genius is young, obsessive but obviously a genius. Because he's young, there are scenes with a lot of energy and fast talking. Potential Oscar clip here. At first the colleagues of the CG don't believe that he is a genius, but they are soon won over. This is shown in the brief reaction shot of colleagues where they realize, shit, he's a genius.
3. The Woman. The Crazy Genius meets a girl who thinks CG's craziness is kind of cute and even a little sexy. We get scenes of courtship where CG woos the girl with his awkward charm and obvious genius. Five minutes later, they're married. However, in the course of the film, the wife realizes that the Genius is really crazy and becomes a suffering spouse. Suffering spouses are a good thing to be. Suffering spouses win supporting actor/actress Oscars.
4. Suffering. The Crazy Genius has to suffer. Look at Christ. He suffered. A lot of street cred can be gained by suffering. CG's suffering should last long enough to give the film weight and depth but not too long. The suffering can come from external forces like the cruel world, evil corporations, or an oppressive government, but the suffering should also be internal (but shown visually through some cinematic metaphor). Remember, the Genius is crazy. And we need a suffering Oscar clip.
5. Editing. Editing is important. We only have two hours to get through this person's life time. If it's hot outside, we'll sit for three hours. But after that, we're gonna need a bathroom break. Fortunately, in cinema, there is the art of the montage. Books can be written in thirty seconds with the film's score soaring in the background. We see the Crazy Genius work hard. Look how hard he works, works, works. Wouldn't it be great if we could all work in montages? Sorry boss, my montage is over today.
6. The Demons. Even after CG finishes all his work, there are still demons that need to be destroyed. Sure the demons might come back after the movie is over, but they must be conquered because. . . uh. . .demons are bad.
7. The Triumph. This is crucial. There must be a scene where people are clapping for the Crazy Genius. If the people in the movie are clapping, then the audience will clap too. The triumph shows that CG can succeed and be accepted by society. Remember, it's not just the triumph of the Crazy Genius, it's the triumph of the human spirit.
8. Whose story is it? You must remember that the movie about the Crazy Genius is not about the Crazy Genius at all. It's about the filmmaker. The filmmaker wants to be the Crazy Genius. Ever since his quirky childhood, the filmmaker wanted to make films. The filmmaker works hard, suffers, battles demons, and has a suffering spouse. The filmmaker hopes for the triumph. If he can't get the triumph, then he'll take final cut. What would be really nice is if someone in the next generation makes a Crazy Genius film about him. Now that would be glory in a really big way.
PS. I wrote this while watching the Academy Awards. Therefore, I would like to thank the Academy. . . .