Popcorn Dialogues is a weekly podcast program featuring discussions (sometimes arguments) between two novelists, Jenny Crusie and Lucy March (aka Lani Diane Rich) about how story works. Each week they analyze a film, not to review or criticize but to understand how that story succeeded or failed and how they can use that knowledge to improve their own stories so they can continue to pay the electric bill.
Every Sunday at 6:30 PM EST, the PopD community gathers in the Chat Room (see CHAT ROOM page tab in the far upper right corner of the website) to watch the movie of the week together, freezing the DVD on studio logo (Columbia lady, MGM lion) and pushing “Play” together at seven o’clock. After the movie, Jenny and Lucy sign off and record their thoughts on the craft of that story in a podcast, available late the next day for free here on the PopD site or at iTunes.
Story ratings are given for both genre (and sometimes more than one genre) and craft using “Pops”. Genre: If it was a comedy, was it funny, truly funny, laugh-out-loud funny? If it was a mystery, was it truly a puzzler, did the suspense work? If it was a romance, did the relationship ring true, was the commitment at the end satisfying and believable? What did this movie teach us about this genre? Story Craft: Was the story well-constructed, the characters drawn carefully and never violated, the conclusion satisfying and logical?
|1 Pop||Bad||This movie is so badly crafted, it will haunt your dreams and kill your brain cells.|
|2 Pops||Poor||This movie has a couple of great moments but in general is seriously flawed as a story.|
|3 Pops||Fair||This movie is an okay story. You could do worse.|
|4 Pops||Good||This movie is close to perfect but not quite there. Watch it anyway; perfect story is rare and this movie is a lot of fun.|
|5 Pops||Excellent||The standard by which all other stories shall be judged.|
Note: Sometimes Jenny and Lucy will pan a movie with the phrase “Lord, it wasn’t good,” (aka The Penguin of Disapproval) taken from this Bloom County comic strip:
Jenny Crusie is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty novels. Her current book is Maybe This Time and her next book is Lavender’s Blue, both from St. Martin’s Press.
Lucy March (aka Lani Diane Rich) is the New York Times bestselling author of ten novels. Her next book is A Little Night Magic from St. Martin’s Press.
The Popcorn Dialogues project began as a historical survey of romantic comedy films with the purpose of helping Jenny and Lucy better understand what worked and what didn’t in their own writing. It was intended to be a limited run of nine months, but they learned so much that they’ve made it into the continuing podcast series that it is today.