''[[AliceAndBob Bob]] heard a knock on his door and quickly downed the shot of whiskey he had just poured, then turned to see who it was. The outline was definitely of a woman... one with more curves than a sine wave. He stashed the whiskey under his desk next to his revolver and said, "Come on in."''

''She looked like she had been poured into her dress, [[LadyInRed a red scarf wrapped around her neck]] that did nothing to hide her [[ImpossiblyLowNeckline breathtaking bustline]]. She lowered her sunglasses and gave Bob an appraising look. "Are you Mr. Holder? Mr. [[StevenUlyssesPerhero Bob P. Holder]], PrivateDetective?"''

''"That's me, honey," Bob said. "And who might you be?"''

''"I'm Alice," the dame said. "[[PunnyName Alice X. Ample]]."''

''"[[DoubleEntendre You certainly are]]," Bob said. "Is there anything I can help you with?"''

''Alice sauntered into his office and leaned over his desk. "There is, Mr. Holder," she said. "I wish to know...how to write a FilmNoir."''

''Bob smiled and leaned back. "Of course you do," he said as he took out the bottle of whiskey. "Well, alright, siddown and I'll let you in on a few things."''

!'''Necessary Tropes'''

''"The first thing there's gotta be," Bob said, "is an AntiHero. He could be a PrivateDetective - that's certainly one of the more popular options - but there's no need for that. In fact, he could be a she. Here's what Creator/RaymondChandler wrote about him in ''The Simple Art of Murder'':''
-->''"But down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. The detective in this kind of story must be such a man. He is the hero, he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor, by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be [[OnlySaneMan the best man in his world]] and a good enough man for any world. I do not care much about his private life; he is neither a eunuch [[ChasteHero nor a satyr]]; I think he might seduce a duchess and I am quite sure he would not spoil a virgin; if he is a man of honor in one thing, he is that in all things. He is a relatively poor man, or he would not be a detective at all. He is a common man or he could not go among common people. He has a sense of character, or he would not know his job. He will take no man's money dishonestly and no man's insolence without a due and dispassionate revenge. [[IWorkAlone He is a lonely man]] and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man or be very sorry you ever saw him. He talks as the man of his age talks, that is, with rude wit, a lively sense of the grotesque, a disgust for sham, and a contempt for pettiness. The story is his adventure in search of a hidden truth, and it would be no adventure if it did not happen to a man fit for adventure. He has a range of awareness that startles you, but it belongs to him by right, because it belongs to the world he lives in.''\\
''If there were enough like him, I think the world would be a very safe place to live in, and yet not too dull to be worth living in."''

''"There are other characters that are essential to a noir," Bob said. "You gotta have a FemmeFatale. It's a classic archetype. And usually there's some form of PrivateEyeMonologue, though you can dispense with that if you really want." He poured out a shot of whiskey and offered it to Alice. She shook her head and after he took a sip, he continued: "The important thing is is that the world is very [[SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism cynical]]. There aren't going to be [[WorldHalfEmpty any happy endings here]], at least not for some people."''

!'''Choices, Choices'''

''"Ah, now here's where we get interesting," Bob took out a packet of cigarettes. "The film noir is essentially a modern genre, but you can make one in almost any time period. Most have been set in the Classic Period of Film Noir, the [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII 1940s]] and [[TheFifties '50s]], so [[FollowTheLeader many modern noirs try to ape those times]] and be DeliberatelyMonochrome where EverybodySmokes because SmokingIsCool" He searched himself for some matches, but was interrupted by Alice, who lit his cigarette with a chrome lighter. "Thanks. But you can take your AntiHero and plunk him down TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture and it can [[CyberPunk still be noir]]."''

''Bob let out a ring of smoke. "And then there's the plot," he said. "You can have your basic murder mystery, but you can also have a [[TheCaper heist]] or [[TheCon con]] of some sort. Then there's the McGuffin - it can practically be anything. In ''Casablanca'' it was the letters of transit, in ''The Maltese Falcon'' it was...well you can guess that. It was even [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] in ''Kiss Me Deadly'', where the MacGuffin was a mysterious box of glowing material. One character called it 'The Great Whatsit.'" He took another puff of his cigarette. "That's a great film, by the way, but we'll get to that later."''


''"So what are some things I should watch out for, Mr. Holder?" Alice asked.''

''"Glad you asked," Bob said. "There's a tendency to go overboard with the AntiHero - you know, make him so badass that he scares criminals into talking and all that. The AntiHero should be a man - just a man, like Chandler said - not a MarySue with [[{{Wangst}} the angst]] piled on."''

''He got up and looked out his slatted windows. "Another thing: the mysteries in noirs [[KudzuPlot tend to be pretty complicated]] and sometimes generate [[PlotHole plot holes]]. There's even a story about when they were making ''The Big Sleep'' [[TheMovie into a movie]] and [[WhatHappenedToTheMouse couldn't figure out how one character died.]] They called up Chandler himself and he said, [[ShrugOfGod 'Damned if I know.']] You gotta watch for those - make sure you know where all your characters are at a given time. And keep track of your {{Red Herring}}s."''

!'''Potential Subversions'''

''"Anything you would change?" Alice asked.''

''"Sure," Bob said. "Old noir films [[DoubleStandard tended to be a little bit sexist]], so try changing around some [[GenderAndSexualityTropes gender roles]]. Don't be afraid to make the AntiHero a woman. Or even a [[Series/VeronicaMars young girl]]."''

!'''Writers' Lounge'''

A good place to start is the Blog/TheUnitedFederationOfCharles and its description of Noir as a genre, covering both the classic Depression-era works as well as Neo-Noir attitudes in fiction. ''[[http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/2012/06/what-is-noir.html What Is Noir?]]''

!!'''Suggested Themes and Aesops'''

''"Existentialism, baby," Bob said. "That's what it's all about." Alice raised an eyebrow. "I mean it. In the words of one critic, noir is 'filled with existential bitterness.' The AntiHero is all about alienation, [[ScrewDestiny fighting fate]], and pushing back against the [[CorruptCorporateExecutive corruption]] of the [[TheGovernment system]]."''

!!'''Potential Motifs'''

''"Ha!" Bob guffawed. "A boatload! Try the DutchAngle. That one's great - gives you a real twisted worldview. And then there's the [[AbsurdityAscendant surreal]] and dreamlike. Heck, Hitchcock even got Salvador Dali to design some scenes in ''Spellbound''. Another important thing you'll want, if you're doing a film, if it's black and white, you've got to get the light perfect: [[{{Chiaroscuro}} stark, dramatic, and not a lot of it.]] Venetian blinds, a knocked-over lamp, even a veil pulled down over a dame's face falls into this category. Noirs are claustrophobic and dark; place your light carefully."''

!!'''Suggested Plots'''

''"You know," Bob said, "I'd love to see a CosmicHorrorStory FilmNoir. I really think those two genres could hit it off. I'd like to see some SteamPunk noir, too, and I'll be damned if there's enough UrbanFantasy noir out there. But if you really want to branch out. Give your Noir a little ScienceFiction edge by putting it in a CyberPunk setting."''


!!'''Set Designer / Location Scout'''

''"So what about settings?" Alice asked. "Could I set it in a [[BadGuyBar bar]]?"''

''"Sure, yeah," Bob said, slightly [[DistractedByTheSexy distracted]] by how her chest moved as she inhaled and exhaled. "Bars are good. [[BlindAlley Alleyways]], too. Anyplace that's dark and claustrophobic is good."''

!!'''Props Department'''

''"Now, this is a beauty," Bob said as he pulled out his [[RevolversAreJustBetter snubnosed revolver]]. "The Colt .38 Special, also known as the Detective Special, the snubby, the belly gun, or, as [[ICallItVera I call her]], Carol." He put the gun back in his desk. "There are other weapons, too. Brass knuckles, truncheons, things like that. I can give you a list. Just don't go wild - I don't know if you would find [[{{Ninja}} shurikens]] in a private dick's briefcase."''

!!'''Costume Designer'''

''"What about clothing?" Alice asked.''

''"Crumpled and on the floor is the way I like it," Bob said. "But if you gotta wear something, go simple. Men wear suits and [[NiceHat fedoras]]. Women...ah, [[RuleOfSexy as long as it looks good]], it's fine with me. You might want to try a [[LittleBlackDress black dress]] with [[StockingFiller stockings]], though. And remember - [[TrenchcoatBrigade everyone wears trenchcoats.]] [[BadassLongcoat Long coats just look cool]]."''

!!'''Casting Director'''

''"Besides the AntiHero and the FemmeFatale," Bob said, "there are plenty of other characters you can add. TheMafia's a nice choice. Sometimes there are two {{Femme Fatale}}s - there's the good one, who often comes around to the AntiHero's side, and TheVamp, who sometimes dies by the AntiHero's hands and sometimes gets away [[KarmaHoudini scott clean]]. You can also add TheIngenue to provide a nice contrast with the FemmeFatale. There's also the ConMan and the CorruptHick - oftentimes [[DirtyCop a sheriff or police chief.]] If you're doing it [[CityOfSpies in a particular setting]], [[UsefulNotes/ColdWar like Germany or Russia]], you can also include ThoseWackyNazis and DirtyCommunists."''

!!'''Stunt Department'''

''"{{Chase Scene}}s are nice and simple," Bob said. "There was even a HallOfMirrors scene in ''The Lady from Shanghai'' which was great. Fight scenes, however, tend to be like [[HobbesWasRight Hobbes']] philosophy of human nature: nasty, short, and brutal. Like [[Creator/HumphreyBogart Bogart]] said, they'll beat your teeth in and then [[KickThemWhileTheyAreDown kick you in the stomach for mumbling.]]"''

!'''Extra Credit'''

''"Anything you would recommend I watch or read?" Alice asked as she got up from her chair.''

''"Going so soon?" Bob said. "Yeah, there are plenty."''

!!'''The Greats'''

''"Chandler's Philip Marlowe books are a must, as are Creator/DashiellHammett's. As for films, well, besides the ones I've already mentioned, like ''Kiss Me Deadly'' and ''The Big Sleep'', there's ''Chinatown''. And for a newer one, which is actually set in high school, but still contains all those noir mannerisms and lingo, see ''Brick''. It's great, I swear."''

!!'''The Honorable Mentions'''

''"Don't go yet, sweetcheeks. You'll also want to check out a couple of noteworthy detectives outside the typical genre. I've a good friend called Guy, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBdcQmZ9TBc Guy Noir]], he's on National Public Radio Saturday afternoons, as part of '' A Prairie Home Companion."

"A Prairie Home Companion?" ''Alice repeated, as if she may not have heard properly.''

''"Yes; I'll admit, it's a parody of the Noir genre, but listening to this style on the radio can really show you a whole new dimension to your usual setup. And another buddy of mine is [[http://rogueking.com/life/calvin-hobbes-tracer-bullet Tracer Bullet]]. He's retired now, sad to say, but he used to appear in [[ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes a newspaper comic drawn by a guy named Bill Watterson.]] You heard of him?"''

''"Oh, I've heard of him." Evidently she'd received a favorable report.''

''"That's him, noir in the funny pages. His records show up with the ''Calvin and Hobbes '' gang, pretty sparingly, but worthwhile, I assure you. And then there's a show'' Anime/{{Noir}}, ''Japanese thing, pretty good. Got some thematic similarities, but not really FilmNoir in the same way that you and I might be lookin' for."''

''Alice seemed a bit dismayed at this remark, as if she was [[{{Metaphorgotten}} going through a bucket of birds and just found a corpse]].''

''"What about videogames?" she asked with a raised eyebrow''

''"[[GrumpyOldMan Ah these kids and them new-fangled videogames]]," Bob [[GrumpyBear grumbled like a bear woken up three weeks too early.]] "Well if you want videogames, I'd suggest the VideoGame/MaxPayne series. Yeah, I know what made it sell was that BulletTime stuff, but it's seen as the best modern example of noir in the genre. Besides, any story that combines [[Myth/NorseMythology Ragnarok, Valkyries, and other such Norse lore]] with a solid noir pedigree and [[PrivateEyeMonologue metaphors]] that all go down smoother than a 12-year whiskey? Kudos to Remedy for bottling lightning."''

''He stopped in thought for a second before slapping his hand to his face. "I forgot!" he continued hurriedly "There was a CosmicHorrorStory Noir Game. Discworld Noir. One of those Point and Click ones." He stubbed out his cigarette into the dirty ashtray. "Came out pretty well, although you'd need to know the series to get the most out of it. Of course there's the aptly-named ''VideoGame/LANoire''. And then there's [[VideoGame/TheWolfAmongUs the Wolf Among Us]], which is great if you want an investigator whose done as much [[TheBigBadWolf bad]] as good. "''

''"One more thing, before we get to the end of my little speech. A man named Kinky Friedman has a nice take on the genre, with a little Texas taste thrown in for good measure, like throwing a pot of salsa on top of a deep-dish pizza, but less disgusting."''

!!'''The Epic Fails'''

''"I do have to mention, though, that both ''Series/{{Charmed}}'' and ''Series/{{Smallville}}'' did a NoirEpisode. They did TheThemeParkVersion and were generally considered horrible. ''Series/{{Moonlighting}}'''s noir episode, however, is considered especially good, with a cameo by Orson Welles himself."''

''"And that's that, baby," Bob said. "So, you ready to write one?"''

''"Oh yes," Alice said as she reached into her handbag. "And like you said, I need a good plot. A murder mystery is nice."''

''"So, if I might ask, who's going to be your dead guy?"''

''"You, Mr. Holder." Alice [[DramaticGunCock pulled out a pistol and pointed it at him.]]''


''"Amateur"'' He scoffed, holding his own smoking pistol in his hand, he puts it back in his desk drawer.