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What Genre Is Your Screenplay

Genre is Like Color

We are drawn to certain colors (genres).

A genre of film is they type of story and the way it’s told. Once you have written a few concepts, examine them to see what genres they will naturally fall into. Some may straddle more than one, or be more marketable in a certain genre. Many people are drawn to a straight-ahead drama, but many scripts contain an additional element to drama to heighten the story. Ask yourself what genres draw you, and that’s an indicator that you will naturally know the conventions of that genre.


Screenwriters Seeking Sales

If you survey genres that are consistently popular in the low-budget realm (horror, thriller, action, they actually call these “genre” movies, and to a lesser extent; faith-based, R-rated comedy, drama, romantic comedy), go with one that you watch the most, know and enjoy. These ‘genre’ movies are often in demand due to their historical track record of salability without giant stars.


Producers are constantly looking for a marketable property, staying in tune with audience desire and the most popular genres. Genre is a tool that matches a project to an audience.  Many fans look for movies chiefly in one or two specific genres, bypassing everything else. 


Genres rise and fall in popularity over time. Westerns disappeared for a while, then came back. Biopics, musicals have undergone similar fluctuations, but what is important is that you learn the rules of that genre and use them.


As you probably have noticed, genre blending is occurring with one project labeled with 2-4 and sometimes more, genres. Here is a list of the acceptable genre classifications developed throughout the movie business:

The Many Genre Possibilities of Your Script

•           Action

•           Action/ Adventure

•           Action/Comedy

•           Action/Drama

•           Action/Thriller

•           Adventure

•           Animal

•           Animated

•           Autobiography

•           Biography

•           Biopic

•           Black Comedy

•           Blaxploitation

•           Broad Comedy

•           Caper Children’s

•           Combat

•           Comedy/Drama

•           Comic Book

•           Coming Of Age

•           Crime

•           Crime Drama

•           Cyber-Thriller

•           Dark Comedy

•           Dark Drama

•           Detective Story

•           Disaster

•           Docudrama

•           Documentary

•           Drama

•           Epic

•           Erotic

•           Espionage

•           Family

•           Fantasy

•           Film Noir

•           Foreign

•           Gangster

•           History

•           Hong Kong Action

•           Horror

•           Imax Interactive

•           International

•           Adventure

•           International Intrigue

•           Kung Fu

•           Legal Drama

•           Legal Thriller

•           Martial Arts

•           Melodrama

•           Memoir

•           Military

•           Mockumentary

•           Murder

•           Murder Mystery

•           Musical

•           Mystery

•           Mythology

•           Noir

•           Nonfiction

•           Occult

•           Performance Piece

•           Period

•           Period Adventure

•           Period Comedy

•           Period Drama

•           Political

•           Political Satire

•           Prison

•           Psychological

•           Pulp

•           Road Movie

•           Romance

•           Romantic Comedy

•           Romantic Drama

•           Romantic Thriller

•           Satire

•           Science-Fiction

•           Self Help

•           Serial Killer

•           Sitcom

•           Spoof

•           Spoof Comedy

•           Sports

•           Sports Comedy

•           Sports Drama

•           Student

•           Spy

•           Superhero

•           Supernatural

•           Suspense

•           Teen

•           Thriller

•           Thriller/ Horror

•           Tragedy

•           TV Animation

•           Twisted Drama

•           Urban

•           Urban Comedy

•           Urban Drama

•           Vampire

•           Zombie

Exploring genre mashups by combining two or more genres can create a fresh and engaging storyline, and also give you a few different ways to market your script. Mixing genres allows you to play with conventions and surprise your audience, all while maintaining a low-budget approach. For example, a romantic comedy set against a backdrop of a post-apocalyptic world could offer a unique blend of humor and tension. Many stories have a foot in 2 genres, so lead with the most obvious.

Here's a thought! If you're writing something that doesn't feel like it's working, ask yourself if you changed the genre, would it be more interesting? You may have a great idea, but you colored it in red, when the story really wanted to be blue.

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