Master writing genres like a professional!
Oftentimes people assume writing genres is as simple as letting your story idea choose the genre type you should write. But it’s important to consider more than just the idea when choosing from the screenplay genres the industry has already created. Whether you’re writing comedy, a love story, or writing horror these tips + free download will show you why it’s important to know your genre before, during, and after you’ve completed your final draft.
Download Breakdown of Film Genres to get insights into writing genres and how to determine which screenplay genre would serve your story the best.
Five things to consider when starting a new screenplay:
1. Your story idea may dictate your choice.
What comes first, the genre or the concept? The first step to choosing between the screenplay genres is to find the one that best serves your original idea. Most scripts fail because the writers didn’t choose the best genre to tell their story.
Each genre will take a story idea in radically different directions. If you choose the wrong genre, you might as well toss out that great idea of yours. Start by identifying the goal of your protagonist and see which genre that might best fit into.
2. If you combine genres, make sure one of them is the primary one.
Hooking the reader could be easier than you think if you take a genre and flip it on its side or blend genres. Many films made today are a combination of multiple genres. You’ll find many action films also have a love story or a thriller element thrown in.
The reason to remain focused on a primary genre though is to be clear on your hero, his/her goal and the story beats. Then mix in the other genres where the fit in organically.
3. Know the beats of the specific genre you are writing.
Each film has story beats specific to their genre. Hitting those beats is often called “paying the dues.” The audience knows the genres they love, so they’ll feel cheated if the film they see doesn’t meet their expectations.
4. Take the genre and make it better.
While you want to give the story a familiar feel to please your audience, you also want to do more than just hit the standard beats. Push it farther. Keep asking, “What if…?” The best way to get noticed is to do what the industry calls, “the same, but different.” But do it better than just “different.” If you have a rescue scene, do it in a way we’ve never seen before on the screen.
5. Write what you love, not what you think will sell.
Spending years figuring out how to write a comedy isn’t a good investment of your time if you simply aren’t funny. Your lack of comedic skills and passion for the genre will show. The best way to choose what film genres to focus on in your career is to be honest about your strengths and weaknesses. Romantic writing might fit your skills better than writing an action film. But only you can be the judge of what genre fits you best. Once you figure out which genre comes most naturally to you, get your head in the game and stay focused on being the best writer you can be!
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