Tutorial: Make your own Film Noir story

Creating a  Film Noir film ---- Bel Magazine Issue 2

Inspired by Film Noir?


The best part about Film Noir is how the characters live in an imperfect world.

Criminals and heroes – which one is which?

Remember-  in Film Noir the good guy doesn’t always win.

What is interesting is how Film Noir stories have the same kind of characters. These characters are interesting because they are not perfect.

After you have seen the 3 Film Noir Films you must watch – you might want to create your own Film Noir Story.

Here are some tips on how to make your own Film Noir story:


Where is your story set?


In dark parts of town- where bad people live and do business.

They can be rich or they can be poor.

Action normally happens at night when the innocent and the good are asleep.

Anywhere in the world- as long as it is dark.


Who are your characters?


The Hero

–  Most of the time it is a male character.
–   He has his own mind and motives.
–   He is not a saint.
–   Sometimes he even decides to go along with the Master Mind’s plot.

The Femme Fatale

–  A female character.
–  Dangerous, vulnerable and beautiful.
–  She is sometimes The Master Mind.
–  Very good at lying, she makes you feel like she is The Innocent.

The Master Mind

– Someone who has created the events which will send the hero running here and there.
– A very mysterious person with dangerous assistants.
– Does not get his/her hands dirty until the very end.

The Assistants

– They can think and make plans but they are not as smart as the Master Mind.
–  They have good quick dialogue.
–  They can keep the hero away from the master mind until the very end.

The Innocent

–  Mostly the first boyfriend/partner/ room mate of the femme fatale.
–  He/she shall be betrayed/ killed/ go missing.
– The femme fatale/Master mind has done the crime.
– The Innocent are in the way of the Master Mind/Femme Fatale’s goal.


If you watch The Maltese Falcon you will see that sometimes the prize/money/goal can have its own mysterious story that adds to the actions and reasons why your characters do what they do.


The Prize

– It has to be something rare and very valuable.
– It has to be something that is hard to get ( like a big diamond or an inheritance)
– People will get betrayed and killed for this prize.
– It can be revenge against someone who had power over the Femme Fatale- or someone she knew.

Film Noir is not a genre where the good will always win- but what is interesting is how the evil win.


What happens in your story?


Murderers and thieves should be common in your story.

Has something been stolen?

Is someone missing – only to be found dead later in the story?

A good Film Noir is filled with murderers and thieves- but who stole what? Who killed who?

It is a mystery.

A character can die and come back to life- like The Master Mind can do this if you wish.

Your audience should be wondering what will happen next.

Who can your hero trust?

What is the point of your story?

Most film noir films have this point at the centre of all the action:

Sometimes the bad guys get away and the innocent pay.

Film Noir is the truly dark cinema.

One response to “Tutorial: Make your own Film Noir story”

  1. […] Elements of Film Noir: Make your own film noir story […]