Jul
06

What kind of screenplays are producers looking for?

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Chasing trends is a waste of time because by the time a trend is apparent it’s already too late–usually it takes a year or more to go from a green light to a released film. However, these genres are always in demand if the scripts are well-written.

COMEDY – especially comedy with a physical element, because these travel well. These days good foreign sales are essential.

ROMANTIC COMEDY – This is the most popular sub-genre. It’s one of the hardest to write because usually the story depends on keeping the potential lovers apart and these days there are fewer things that do that. Previously factors that served this function included miscommunication because they didn’t have cell phones and the internet and travel was slower; social attitudes against couples of different ages, or different races, or different religions, or different social classes; and more differences between the genders (women not allowed in certain occupations, for instance).

The elimination of such factors is good news for society, bad news for romantic comedies. You’ll have to work harder to come up with a plausible angle but if you manage it your script will have a good chance of selling. Movies that have done it include “When Harry Met Sally,” “The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and “Shakespeare in Love.”

PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER – This kind of character-based story needs to be clever and suspenseful, ideally with a twist in the story as well. Examples include “Fatal Attraction,” “The Game,” “Fight Club.”

If you don’t like these genres, don’t try writing them just because they are always popular. Odds are your script won’t be that good if you’re not passionate about the genre. However, if you have several ideas you like equally well and one of them fits one of these genres, I’d suggest going with that one.

(Want friendly guidance on creating characters, coming up with dynamic plots, and selecting settings that support your story? Get my book, “Your Writing Coach,” published by Nicholas Brealey and available from Amazon or your other favorite bookseller.)

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