Every Musical Biopic Ever

In which I map it out

(trailer is a miniature of the following)


Establishment of band of hometown/university friends. Shots of small-time gigs at local clubs. Unrecognizable snippets/early drafts of what will evolve into hits.

Idiosyncratic performance methods (e.g., dancing) which lead family/naysayers to ridicule the band’s dream of mainstream success. Band members stand by these peculiarities, knowing they can’t abandon what makes them them.

Protagonist/narrator musician confesses to first girlfriend that he wants more from his life. Dramatic irony: he should be careful what he wishes for…

Influential somebody likes aforementioned idiosyncratic performance methods. Career gathers speed. Collective pact that fame and fortune will never come before friendship.


Worldwide acclaim. Fame and fortune starting to come before friendship. Montage of sold-out shows, crazy afterparties, and introduction to hard drugs.

Pivotal songwriting scene: emergence of one of the Big Ones. May or may not also be the movie title.

Crossover from strictly commercial into critical approval. Collective acknowledgment of imminent legendary status. First evident cracks in foundation—flare-up of members’ festering differences and exacerbated character flaws.

Major scandal involving drugs/politics. Future success jeopardized. Dark/blue-lit scenes manifesting protagonist’s doubt of self and system.

Possible courtroom scene featuring quotes and general irreverence which reinforce the mythology.

Protagonist admits that despite his promiscuity he does ultimately want love, as a total rejection of conventional romantic partnership would threaten societal norms. ‘Funny’ bandmate jokes that protagonist’s notorious sexual escapades aren’t quite finished yet. Comic smash cut to bedroom scene, where protagonist confirms bandmate’s prediction.

Career headed for the rocks. Someone dies, or nearly.


Tough late-night conversations. Squandered recording sessions. Mutual admission to missing the lighthearted simplicity of the early days.

Shot at redemption. Protagonist apologizes to bandmates/family/love interest(s). Montage of work charged by renewed vigor (and more hits).

Spectacular comeback signified by limited engagement or series of shows. Once-idiosyncratic performance methods now iconic. Authenticity wins out.

Vignette and/or text tying up “where are they now” loose ends. At least one is funny because this isn’t all drama.

Credits supplemented by live stills from respected photographer. Soundtrack streamed thousands of times, sparking a resurgence in the group’s popularity and speculation over whether its (living) members will go on tour.

Optional: scene featuring deep cut which turns it into a belated hit

Optional: Discovery of Sexuality

Published by Cecilia Gigliotti

Cecilia Gigliotti (she/her) lives in Berlin with a beloved ukulele named Uke Skywalker. She co-hosts and produces the music commentary podcast POD SOUNDS. Her free time goes toward dancing, reading books new and old, drawing cartoons, taking city walks, and devoting too much thought to the foibles of her heroes. Connect with her on Instagram (@c_m_giglio, @ceciliagphotography, @pod_sounds_podcast) and see what else she's up to (linktr.ee/ceciliagigliotti).

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