Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Screwball Comedy, Featuring the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup (1933)

Screwball Comedy is a style of comedy popularized in the 1930s. At its center is the need for Depression-era audiences to escape into mass entertainment. They are a product of their time. Typical romances (the right guy gets the girl), lampooning, or criticism of the leisure or upper class, parties, food, and, of course, music made these films excellent examples of what sound in film was capable of providing to audiences.

Protagonists are drawn from lower and middle classes, often centering around a male protagonist whose normal life is upended by falling in love with a feisty female. At the same time, usually, there is a mismatched couple who act as foil or counterpoint to this more appropriate couple. Marriage is always the end result. 

As the Hays Code took effect, screwball comedy remained safe social satire with a lot of farce. Fast-paced dialogue, puns or wordplay, and wit, sight gags, screwy or silly plot twists, mistaken identity, and zany characters are all characteristics of the Screwball Comedy style. Songs are sometimes slipped into the action. As you view Duck Soup (1933), look for the following characteristics:
  • Mistaken Identities
  • Crossdressing
  • Romantic storyline or plots (often with the lovers being mismatched)
  • Class or economic issues
  • Fast-talking dialogue (witty repartee) 
  • Ridiculous situations
  • Farce (sudden or unexpected entrances or exits, physical humor, etc.)
From Tim Dirks, AMC: 

"The Marx Brothers' classic comedy Duck Soup (1933) is a short, but brilliant satire and lampooning of blundering dictatorial leaders, fascism, and authoritarian government. The film, produced by Herman Mankiewicz, was prepared during the crisis period of the Depression. Some of its clever gags and routines were taken from Groucho's and Chico's early 1930s radio show.

It was the Marx Brothers' fifth (and last) film in a contract with Paramount Studios before they went on to MGM. The film was directed by first-class veteran director Leo McCarey, and its screenplay was written by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby (with additional dialogue by Arthur Sheekman and Nat Perrin). The film was devoid of any Academy Award nominations.

The outrageous film was both a critical and commercial failure at the time of its release - audiences were taken aback by such preposterous political disrespect, buffoonery and cynicism at a time of political and economic crisis, with Roosevelt's struggle against Depression in the US amidst the rising power of Hitler in Germany. 

Insulted by the film, fascist Italian dictator Mussolini banned the film in Italy. Fortunately, the film was rediscovered by a generation of 1960s college students, and by revival film festivals and museum showings. As a result, the film has attained immortal status. 

This was the last of the Marx Brothers films to feature all four of the brothers. Their next film (without Zeppo), for MGM and its producer Irving Thalberg, Hollywood's most prestigious studio, was their landmark film A Night at the Opera (1935), with a more developed and polished plot-line.

The comedians in the film attack the pomposity of small-time governmental leaders (Firefly as President), the absurdity of government itself (the Cabinet meeting scene), governmental diplomacy (the Trentino-Firefly scenes), an arbitrary legal system (Chicolini's trial), and war fought over petty matters (the mobilization and war scenes). 

The non-stop, frenetic film is filled with a number of delightfully hilarious moments, gags, fast-moving acts, double entendres, comedy routines, puns, pure silliness, zany improvisations, quips and insult-spewed lines of dialogue - much of the comedy makes the obvious statement that war is indeed nonsensical and meaninglessly destructive, especially since the word 'upstart' was the insulting word (Ambassador Trentino calls Firefly an 'upstart') that led to war between the two countries. 

Unlike many of the Marx Brothers other features, there are no romantic subplots (with Zeppo) and no musical interludes that stop the film's momentum - no harp solos for Harpo and no piano solos for Chico. There are, however, a couple of musical numbers that are perfectly integrated into the plot.

The film's title uses a familiar American phrase that means anything simple or easy, or alternately, a gullible sucker or pushover. Under the opening credits, four quacking ducks (the four Marx Brothers) are seen swimming and cooking in a kettle over a fire. Groucho reportedly provided the following recipe to explain the title: "Take two turkeys, one goose, four cabbages, but no duck, and mix them together. After one taste, you'll duck soup for the rest of your life."

The Story

The film opens with the flag of Freedonia (emblazoned with an "F") flying over the small village. The government of a "mythical kingdom" - the Balkan state of Freedonia, is suffering an emergency. It has gone bankrupt through mismanagement and is on the verge of revolution. The country's richest dowager millionairess, the wide and widowed benefactress Mrs. Gloria Teasdale (Margaret Dumont) has offered $20 million to sponsor and support the cash-poor government, but only if it is placed under new leadership.

The opening scene is the classic inaugural ceremony and lawn party for the conferring of the Presidency of the tin-pot republic to a newly-appointed leader, Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx), characterized by a supportive Mrs. Teasdale as "a progressive, fearless fighter." 

In the coronation setting (a spoof of all such gala events), royal court guards at the entry announce the guests. Meanwhile, the representative of the neighboring Sylvania [the name of the country where Jeanette MacDonald ruled in Ernst Lubitsch's The Love Parade (1929)], Ambassador and rival suitor Trentino (Louis Calhern), schemes to win Mrs. Teasdale's hand in marriage by wooing the rich heiress (with the ultimate goal of annexing Freedonia to Sylvania). He has hired the seductive, sultry, and sinuous Latin temptress/dancer Vera Marcal (Raquel Torres), to function as a secret agent and keep Firefly distracted [in a satire of all Mata Hari films]."

As you watch (and read), notice characteristics of Screwball comedies:
  • Mistaken Identities
  • Crossdressing
  • Romantic storyline or plots (often with the lovers being mismatched)
  • Class or economic issues
  • Fast-talking dialogue (witty repartee) 
  • Ridiculous situations
  • Farce (sudden or unexpected entrances or exits, physical humor, etc.)

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Resources for the Stressed

We're all in this together!

There's a lot of concern and anxiety surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. If you or your family needs help, or if you would like to help those in need, some of these resources may help:

In addition to the CDC Foundation launching a crowdfunding campaign to expand the agency's public health response to the coronavirus, there are many other local organizations and government agencies working to help individuals and businesses:
  • The New York State Department of Health has also set up a hotline to answer all your questions about the coronavirus at 1-888-364-3065.
  • Additionally, if you need to speak with a mental health professional, NYS has set up a hotline at 1-844-863-9314.
  • For any city residents in need of food or require help getting food delivered, visit
  • Amid a rise in reported harassment and verbal/physical assaults (especially of Asian Americans) as coronavirus spread, New York Attorney General Letitia James launched a hotline to report hate crimes and bias-based incidents. You can email, or call 1-800-771-7755.
Stay well and seek help if you need it!

Friday, April 24, 2020

Laurel & Hardy: The Music Box

Watch the short subject "The Music Box" starring Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy (1931).

The film won Best Short Subject at the new (for the times) Academy Awards in 1931. Since SOUND in film was still in its novelty, look for the following characteristics and complete the prompt question below as your participation/activity grade for the film:


1. Silent films in the comedy genre before 1930 focused mostly on physical "slapstick" humor--that is, physical jokes and humor. This technique is part of the larger tradition of FARCE. Laurel & Hardy were well-known SILENT film comedians, rivaling Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin (all of whom continued working into the 1930s and made sound films). As you watch the film, notice AT LEAST 3 examples of physical humor (there are hundreds...)

2. Comedy also plays around with mistaken identity. Again this is a tradition in FARCE. As you watch this film, identify at least TWO examples of mistaken identity and explain how this causes laughter/humor to the situation for the viewer.

3. Like Chaplin, Laurel & Hardy also focused their comedy on economic issues (remember: America was going through the Great Depression at the time this film was made). Humor (since the Ancient Greeks and Shakespeare) often uses the satirical technique of finding humor from flipping the condition of SUPERIOR characters with INFERIOR characters--that is, making characters who think highly of themselves objects of ridicule from characters who are (often economically) inferior. The servant is smarter than his master, the rich or socially powerful are idiots, etc. Find ONE example in this film to illustrate this & explain how the "joke" works.

BONUS: You might find examples of IRONY (situational or verbal or dramatic), examples of farce (quick exits and unexpected entrances), as well as witty dialogue or clever wordplay (wit and/or jokes). If you do, explain where these elements were found in the film and why they work to make this film funny.


1. Find at least 3 examples of DIEGETIC sound. Explain how SOUND makes this film funnier than it would be if it were silent.

2. Find at least 3 examples of SOUND EFFECTS a foley artist might use. A FOLEY artist is a film techie/artist who records sounds for the sound design of a film. [Example: the  sound of a speeding car or a crash sound when it hits a brick wall.]

Please ANSWER all 5 questions in a written response to the film. SUBMIT YOUR ASSIGNMENT TO OUR GOOGLE CLASSROOM! 

I encourage you to complete the assignment earlier, rather than later. The film "The Music Box" runs about 30 min.

If you have questions or concerns, please email me or drop a question in the comment section.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Hal Roach, Laurel & Hardy, The Little Rascals

A few reminders:

1. If you haven't completed your Metropolis research paper (see previous posts) you can still do that and turn it in. I moved the deadline to this marking period (must be completed by May 15!) to allow extra time. 

2. Also, we've moved on. If you haven't yet read/taken notes on sound in film (see previous post) or viewed this video, please do so...Crash Course #10 - Breaking the Silence

3. Check your district email daily! Check this blog daily and check your Google Classroom daily! You will be responsible for the activities/assignments given to you through these methods. Again, if you need a video conference with me, please ask for one. Otherwise, email me if you have any questions or concerns. 

Stay healthy and help your family out!

Today's diversion is...:

Sound Film Comedian Stars

Hal Roach was born in Elmira, NY (near us!), before moving to Hollywood. He worked for the Pathe Exchange Co. before working for MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) as a producer. He is best known for producing the comedy teams of Laurel & Hardy and The Our Gang comedies (or Little Rascals).

Laurel and Hardy
Not all silent film stars made the transition to talkies. One comic duo that did, however, was Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. This iconic duo made over 100 films together, initially short films, before expanding into feature-length films by the end of the 1930s. More can be examined by clicking on the link of their name above. Here are a few clips/films:
The Little Rascals (sample short films):
Little Rascals (Greatest Hits, 1) & Whatever Happened to the Little Rascals (information, although a bit grim)

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Sound In Film: Moving Out of the Silent Film Period

Please read and take notes on the following links/information on sound. See resources on our Google Classroom as well:

The Invention of Sound in Film

Joseph P. Maxfield (AT&T’s Bell Laboratories) invented the first phonograph linked to film (licensed by Victor as the Orthophonic Victrola) which became the basis for the Vitaphone sound-on-disc system.

The Vitaphone allowed actors to lipsync their performance while the sound was recorded after; (This helped to popularize animation!) An example is from the very young Disney Studios: Steamboat Willie (1928. The first Mickey Mouse cartoon--based on Buster Keaton's Steamboat Bill).

The first sound film was Don Juan in 1926. The Jazz Singer (cantor scene);  The Jazz Singer (1927), directed by Alan Crosland, starring famous vaudeville actor, Al Jolson is popularly given this award. Really both films were songs (or just music in Don Juan's case) that were played along like a record as sounds were synched with the film. The Jazz Singer gave birth to the Hollywood musical genre. See the following 7 min film documentary to examine The Jazz Singer a little more closely.

Warner Bros. and Fox Film began wiring their theaters for sound as early as 1926. By 1928, Western Electric developed a sound-on-film system, which later developed a new competitive major studio: Radio-Keith-Orpheum or RKO.

The conversion to sound created both positive and negative effects for film:

A. Led to a revival of national film elsewhere in the world
B. Cinema owners did not have to hire musicians for an in-house orchestra
C. Silent films were easier to distribute across the world (no need to translate) which later creates the need for dubbing (1932 -- ex. Paramount studios); before this, multi-lingual films make stars like Marlene Dietrich, Maurice Chevalier, Bela Lugosi, Ingrid Bergman, Greta Garbo, and Peter Lore more important--since they can speak different languages (and therefore sync their voices to film).
D. Film became a single media event
E. Films came to the theatres as final products, whole and complete
F. The immersive qualities of film and the viewer become inseparable
G. Dialogue became a necessity to tell the plot of a film
A. Produced panic and confusion in Hollywood
B. Many musicians lost their jobs
C. Early sound films from America were boycotted by certain countries; films were not as widely distributed, more costly to translate.
D. Silent film culture was destroyed
E. Films did not require additional music, some ambiance was lost -- sound film was seen as the killer of “film as the seventh art form”
F. Film was no longer a “theatrical” or “artistic” event
G. Dialogue became a necessity to tell the plot of a film
  • Diegetic sound: Sound that occurs in the universe of the film. Character dialogue or sounds that a character can hear that occur in the setting or location, etc.
  • Internal Diegetic Sound:  Sound that only we (the audience) can hear in the mind of a single character. The internal thought process of a character (like 1st person POV in fiction). 
  • Non-diegetic sound: Sound that only the audience can hear. Music scores and themes, the voice over of a narrator that is not present, etc. (generally 3rd person omniscient POV)
For more details and examples check here (3 min.) and take a crash course in film (10 min.)

Friday, April 17, 2020

The End of Marking Period 3; Marking Period 4 Info

All work for MP3, up to March 13 must be in today (or email me about an extension if you need one). Otherwise, I need to start closing my MP3 grade book. Thanks!

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Your Metropolis papers will be counted for MP4, not MP3 since most of the class did not complete this assignment. See our Google Classroom assignment for updates/information. I'll be collecting (at this point) all assignments from March 15 through May 15 when we return to school (if that happens). This will, however, not stop us from moving on with the course.

Welcome to Marking Period 4! While our closure has certainly done a number on our progress, it is the expectation that you continue with your classes (including assignments). We know that we will not be returning to the physical classroom until after May 15, so any assignments here will ultimately be required of you by the end of the marking period. Please make sure you work on these assignments/activities periodically to avoid having a raft of work to complete at the very end of the academic year.

As always, please email me, ask for a Zoom meeting with me if you need one, and keep in touch. I am available throughout the week (daily) and will get back to you within 24 hours if I receive your email or contact. Weekend responses may be a little longer. I have a life too.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Charlie Chaplin; Metropolis Paper (Synthesis) Due Next Week!

Remember that your Metropolis paper is due next week (Friday). The documentary The Metropolis Case, directed by Enno Patalas (2003), Transit Film can be very helpful. Take a look!

Remember, your paper should:
  • Include AT LEAST 3 secondary sources that are referred to and cited in your paper. (please include an MLA formatted works cited page with your paper). MLA format can be found here
    • PLEASE NOTE: You may not use Wikipedia as one of your 3 sources. You may use it as a 4th or 5th or 6th source if you wish.
    • Your MLA formatted citation page does NOT count as one of your page-required, double-spaced pages.
  • Please include a title for your paper that clarifies to your paper's thesis/topic. 
  • The paper is due March 26. 
To cite a film or video found on a website, use the following structure:

Last name, First name of the creator or director. “Title of the film or video.” Title of the website, role of contributors and their First name Last name (if known), Version, Numbers, Publisher, Publication date, URL.

Use this citation structure if citing a film or video found on a database, such as Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and/or HBO or Disney Plus.

Last name, First name of the creator or director. Title of the film or video. Role of contributors and their First name Last name, Version, Numbers, Publisher, Publication date. Database name, URL.

Probably the best known silent film actor and comedian is Charlie Chaplin. Learn about him below.

Charlie Chaplin, an Overview

"All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman, and a pretty girl." -Sir Charles Chaplin

Sir Charles Chaplin (1889-1977)
• Born in 1889 in London, UK to theatrical parents
• Chaplin’s childhood was one of extreme poverty and hardship
• Abandoned by an alcoholic father and left with a mentally unstable mother who was unable to support him, he struggled through life in the poor house and on the streets
• He learnt much of his timing and technique in the employment of impresario Fred Karno (1866-1941) whose troupe he left during an American tour in 1913
• Offered a contract by Keystone Films
• After 1914, he convinced Keystone producer Mack Sennett to allow him to direct his own films - often wrote, directed, acted and composed his own musical scores for his films
• In many silent shorts, he established the grammar and ground rules of screen comedy using his physical dexterity and pantomime skills to create expertly choreographed, visually humorous entertainment that mixed irreverence, romance, and pathos (feeling)
• Co-founder of United Artists in 1919
• Married Oona O’Neill (daughter of playwright Eugene O’Neill)
• His left-wing sympathies caused him to emigrate to Switzerland during the 1950’s, McCarthy period
• He published his autobiography in 1964 and was knighted in 1975
• Chaplin died on Christmas day, 1977
• A writer Performer, director, composer and icon, he was a vital figure in the development of the screen comedy Films (incomplete list): Making a Living (1913) Kid Auto Races at Venice (1914) The Champion (1915) The Tramp (1915) The Pawnshop (1916) The Rink (1916) A Dog’s Life (1918) The Kid (1921) The Gold Rush (1925) City Lights (1931) Modern Times (1936) The Great Dictator (1940) Limelight (1952) A King in New York (1957) A Countess from Hong Kong (1967)
Sample Charlie Chaplin films can be found in the resources on your Google Classroom.

Complete your Metropolis paper drafts! Watch some silent film comedy!

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

My Email

Some people are mistyping my email then wondering why I'm not receiving your work. Here, again, is my actual email:


NOT:! No, no, NO!

If I do not respond to an email within 24 hours during the week (Monday through Friday), please drop me a comment on our blog (this one) or one from our Google Classroom and I'll see what the problem might be.

Also, if you need to, you may request a Zoom meeting with me if you need to speak to me directly.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Slapstick & Silent Film Comedy

Slapstick & Silent Film Comedy

The name "slapstick" comes from the bataccio — a club-like object composed of two wooden slats used in commedia dell'arte. Actors using the slapstick may hit each another repeatedly with great audible effect while causing very little actual physical damage. The term "slapstick" became synonymous with the style of silent film comedy most frequently found in the comedic silent films of Mack Sennett, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Hal Roach, and other comedic directors.

Later, the animated films from Warner Brothers Studio and Walt Disney will utilize many of the common gags found in comedic silent films. Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tom & Jerry, and Donald Duck are just a few examples.

Slapstick is characterized by broad humor, absurd situations, comedic or farcical action such as chase scenes, and, of course, physical violence. Watch various clips below and note the actor/director where appropriate. Take notes on the film styles and view the films for ideas for your own stories, plays, and films.
Buster Keaton: known as the great "stone face" because of his deadpan expression. Along with Charlie Chaplin, he is one of the most beloved and skilled silent film comedians of his day. For example, you can view the feature film as extra credit: "Steamboat Bill". Here's the famous storm scene. Look for examples of silent film comedy techniques in the short films and clips below.
Buster Keaton: One Week (1920)Sherlock Jr. (1924) -- these are shorter works you can view online.
Note the following clips (keep track of key names and information in your notes):
Mack Sennett: comedian Billy Bevan (scene from Wandering Willies - 1926) and another clip with Vernon Dent & Billy Bevan
Mack Sennett: comedian Harry Langdon (scene from Fiddlesticks - 1927)
Mack Sennett: comedian Harry Langdon (scene from Smile Please - 1924) & another scene (the skunk) from the same film.
Mabel Normand: The Extra Girl (clip, 1923)
Fatty & Mabel Adrift (1915) Mabel Normand & Fatty Arbuckle
Fatty Arbuckle: Coney Island (1917)
Fatty Arbuckle & Buster Keaton: The Butcher Boy (1917), The Cook (1918) The Garage (1920) 
Harold Lloyd: from The Freshman (1925)
Harold Lloyd: from Safety Last (the clock scene) (1923)
Charley Chase: Accidental Accidents (Hal Roach directing)
Ben Turpin: Seein' Things (1928), part one; Seein' Things (part two)

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Fritz Lang's Masterpiece: Metropolis (1927)

Fritz Lang born in Vienna, Germany, 1890 -- the son of an architect, he dropped out of college to fight in the Great War (WWI)

After the war, Lang met the German producer Erich Pommer who worked for Germany's largest and most successful movie company: Declar

Later Declar becomes UFA (the largest film company in Europe)!

Fritz Lang Selected Chronology
1919 - Lang directs his first film “Halbblut” (the Half-Caste)
1920 - Meets writer Thea von Harbou, marries her in 1922

Thea von Harbou wrote all of Lang’s films (including Metropolis) until 1933 when they divorced.

1925-1926 - Lang makes the film Metropolis which is drastically cut and distributed over the world Lang forms his own production company; Thea is his main writer.
1927 - Metropolis is screened to the public for the first time.
1931 - Lang directs (with actor Peter Lorre)
1932 - The Testimony of Dr. Mabuse (banned in Germany because it criticized the Nazi party)
1933 - Lang immigrated to the U.S.
1934 - Lang is offered a contract by David Selznick, a producer at MGM. He goes on to make several films (mixing styles), ends up going blind and dying in 1975.

MAJOR FILMS: Halbblut (Half-Caste) (1919) Dr. Mabuse (1922) (serial) Die Niebelungen (Siegfried; Kriemhild's Revenge) (1924). Metropolis (1926) Spies (1928) M (1931) The Last Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1932) Fury (1936) You Only Live Once (1937) Western Union (1941) Man Hunt (1941) The Ministry of Fear (1944) Cloak and Dagger (1946) Secret Beyond the Door (1948) The Big Heat (1953) Moonfleet (1955) While the City Sleeps (1956). Die Tausend Augend des Dr. Mabuse ("The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse") (1960).

Film history and analysis:

Reviews are written to encourage an audience for a film. The film historian's job is to connect history (both world history and events, as well as the history of film) with the artistry of film and the film industry (including the actors, directors, producers, editors, technicians, cinematographers, and writers).

You are going to pick a topic for a film PAPER--a scholarly research paper that examines an aspect of Metropolis, the film. Here are your choices:
1. Write about the effective use of special effects (including titles and music to affect tone); You may look here for further help in writing your paper.
2. Write about the effectiveness of the cinematography (the shots, angles, lighting, composition of the shots, mise-en-shot, mise-en-scene, etc.) and the cinematographer of the film: Karl Freund
3. Pick a major character in the movie and analyze the actor's portrayal of the character: i.e., examine his/her acting, effective portrayal of the role, etc. The cast list can be found here at
4. Write about the effectiveness of the plot, film script, and story elements of the film: Frequency, Narration, Story, Plot, Order, Narrative Format, Sequence, etc. and the film's author: Thea von Harbou (see link above).
5. Write about the film as a historical vehicle. Answer: how is Metropolis the epitome and culmination of the Golden Age of silent film? What events in the 1920's triggered it--how did it affect the people of its period, etc?
6. Write about the effective use of theme in the film. Why is the film still relevant today? How has the film inspired other films after it? Why is this theme important for us to learn? What does it say or criticize about humanity?
The nitty-gritty details:
  • Your paper should be between 4-5 pages, double spaced. It will count as an exam.
  • Your paper should include AT LEAST 3 secondary sources that are referred to and cited in your paper. (please include an MLA formatted works cited page with your paper)MLA format can be found here
    • PLEASE NOTE: You may not use Wikipedia as one of your 3 sources. You may use it as a 4th or 5th or 6th source if you wish--just not the first 3...! You may use the materials I've linked from this page--or check the internet. That may have something...?
    • Your MLA formatted citation page does NOT count as one of your 4-5 pages, double-spaced pages.
  • You will need to take notes, research your topic, and type your final paper. See the MATERIALS on our GOOGLE CLASSROOM. 
  • Please include a title for your paper that clarifies your paper's thesis/topic. 
  • The paper is due April 17 (the proposed end of the marking period). 
  • As you watch the film, you should begin to conduct your research and gather your sources. You may find it helpful to use the links I've provided as a starting point:
The Metropolis Case (part 1; parts 2-3 can be viewed online as well...)
Roger Ebert's Film Review
IMC's Film Review
Metropolis' Occult Symbolism
Metropolis: Masterpiece or Museum Piece (podcast review & analysis)
Metropolis Special Effects (clip)
Hyperinflation in Germany, 1920's
Rise of Communism & Fascism in the 1920's 
Why was the Weimar Period the Golden Age of Germany?
The Spartacist Rising
The Roaring 20's: Crash Course

Please contact me with questions or concerns. See our Google Classroom for materials (including a copy of the film!) and instructions.

The Murky Middle (Even More Advice)

Aristotle wrote that stories should have a beginning, middle, and end. Middles can be difficult. You might have a smashing opening to a stor...