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All About How To Write A Low Budget Screenplay For Screenwriters: #8 Selecting A Genre

Genre is one of the most important building blocks in your story design. Genres rise and fall in popularity in television and movies. The studios and streamers seek particular genres based on audience tastes, seasonality, what will sell, and building their library with diverse offerings. Independent distributors and production companies look for particular genres that they know their customers want, and will make a profitable project. The cost factor is implied in most genres.

Movie Genre Communicates Budget Level

When you think of genres, you can probably select the ones right away that can be done more cost-effectively than others.

In terms of writing a low budget screenplay, you don’t have to lead with the budget, but you do have to have that in your subconscious. Cost matters. You may have a genre that you like the most, watch all the time, and are a natural expert in.

If your viewing habits tend to one or two particular genres, you will know it better than others. This doesn’t mean you have to write for it, but it will come easier to you, because there’s a good chance that you know the conventions of that genre. It’s challenging to write for a genre that you dislike. Therefore, if you see that there are certain genres that are consistently popular (horror, thriller, action) and you want to write in one of those to increase your chances of making a sale, go with one that you enjoy. Avoid one that you really can’t stand.

Genre Picture - Movie Terminology

Horror, thriller and action (often referred to as ‘genre’ pictures in the industry) are the genres that producers and distributors are looking for fairly regularly. There’s a number of reasons for that.

The first is that you can make a very good movie in those genres for relatively lower budgets than say – action-adventure, science fiction (unless you have a real twist on an idea).

The other reason is that these genres tend to ‘travel’ well. This is a topic that's upcoming. Genre pictures are easier to translate into other languages and are visual in nature. That means that if your horror movie gets dubbed or subtitled – and the translation from English to another language isn’t perfect– the movie is quite visual and the audience will understand what’s going on. They won’t be confused, and will still enjoy the film.

One of the most important things about selecting a genre is to remember what the audience wants, needs and requires from that genre. You must deliver that, in can be portrayed or written in a new way, or something that’s a variation, but don’t ignore it. If your horror movie doesn’t have anything scary in it, then why would that audience want to watch it? Remember why your audience will show up for your specific movie.

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