If a certain genre sells more than another, what’s the problem? Identify the most popular one and write in that genre.
The problem is that Hollywood sees certain genres as being in flux.
According to screenwriting guru, Michael Hauge, some genres are currently hard to sell. If your story concept falls within one of those, your effort to acquire seed money from a major studio will be that much harder.
Here are some of the genres in question:
Musicals in the mold of Oklahoma are almost impossible to sell. Feature-length, MTV-inspired Flashdance type movies, however, are not.
“If you buy into the idea that genre sells, but are sold on writing in a currently unpopular one, your best bet is to self-finance. Who knows? Your story might just help reawaken a sleeping giant.”
Westerns are currently a difficult though not impossible sell, unless a big name director gets behind the project, as are period films, meaning anything pre-1970s, biographies, and science fiction—due to the high budgets associated with this latter genre. Here, again, the attachment of a specific director to the project can make all the difference—as The Terminator, Aliens and Avatar directed by James Cameron, has clearly proven.
Perhaps the most acceptable of these financially-jittery genres is the horror film, especially if independent financing is sought.
Of course, in saying this, I do not mean to suggest that films belonging to these genres never get made—only that they are not favoured by the big studios, off the bat.
By contrast, genres representing action adventure, suspense thriller, love story, comedy, drama or any combination thereof, tend to be viewed favourably by Hollywood. If your script belongs to any of those genres, its marketability is high.
Genre sells means that certain genres are easier to market to studios and independent producers. Choosing a poplar genre maximises the chance of a first-time writer achieving success.