Screenplay: Picking A Genre

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Selecting a genre is one of the most overlooked decisions that new writers make. What do we mean by that? We mean that early writers will often pick a genre that is far too advanced for their skills. Genres gain difficulty the closer they get to real-life. The reason for this increase in difficulty has to do with a writer’s ability to mimic reality that every audience member understands subconsciously. Make a slight mistake, and the audience without knowing, might lose interest in the story feeling it to be inaccurate. A good rule of thumb is that the audience knows reality, they don’t always know fantasy.

Fantasy Genres

In a fantastical fantasy setting you are the limiter. Meaning, the audience can no longer set the policies of how your story is to look and feel. You determine if the characters are on Earth or on a far away planet or in an alternate dimension. This genre gives new writers an opportunity to create stories without the overwhelming burden of mimicking reality. It also gives younger writers a chance to profit from two decades of living in this genre via toys and video games. The gift to society is that the young can see optimism unlike the cynical old. It is this proximity to a youthful mind that can be very beneficial to audiences looking to escape their world for a couple hours.

Literal Genres

Any genre that forces the story to portray reality accurately requires a writer who is incredibly observant. The talent of being observant includes every metric of the human condition. This includes understanding the evolution of the mind through each decade. How does a 10 year old see the world, a 25 year old, a 50 year old and a 90 year old? If one hasn’t lived these decades themselves, the writer must dig deep to get at the differences that really matter to an audience. The stories that take on a more literal translation of life need to dig deep, and that depth is often inaccessible to younger writers who are yet to experience long-term states of mind associated with age. However, there are some writers who have experienced a tremendous amount of life before they reach their 20th birthday. In these rare cases, we have prodigies such as Quentin Tarantino who wrote beyond the typical level for writers his age. Yet, even Tarantino wrote lighter in his earlier years and far deeper as he began to understand the human condition further.

Natural Selection

In the end, the best method of selecting your genre is to let your instincts take over. Just realize that if you bottom-out quickly, you might take into account the information in this article. You might find that some of your stories will benefit from a decade of incubation prior to realizing. The goal is to create something incredibly powerful for not only you, but the paying audience. We are here to touch the hearts of the viewer. To give them something they’ve yet to acquire through their own experiences.