Choosing the right genre is crucial to selling a screenplay. After hours upon hours of hard work spent carefully tailoring and forming characters, plots, storylines, events, and the overall quality of a script, the writing has been finished. The ink has dried, some tremendous ideas have come to life on paper, and with any luck at all, they’ll one day come to life on the big screen.
However, there’s just one small problem: the script’s core genre falls somewhere around “nature exploration adventure”. That simply won’t sell.
One of the most important and integral elements of screenwriting that all writers should consider when crafting scripts that will (hopefully) be reviewed by agents, executives, and eventually, actors, is that genre matters. More specifically, genre can make or break any script’s chances of progressing to the big and/or small screen, and writers who’re new to the industry should therefore stick to the tried-and-tested genres of comedy, drama, horror, fantasy, and action for their works. In addition, make sure you market it to people who specialize in that genre.
While it can be tempting to create an entirely innovative script in a commonly overlooked and underdeveloped genre, writers new to the industry should resist the urge—at least at first. To get one’s foot in the door, he or she will need to craft extraordinary content that’s specifically centered on an already-existing genre. Once a reputation for high-quality entertainment writing is established, then large-scale innovations may be implemented.
But in the meantime, it’s imperative that all potential television and film writers create remarkable work that falls under a widely accepted genre—or some functional combination of these genres.