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What is a 'genre'?

This film is part of the series "Picking A Genre For Your Independent Film"

Picking A Genre For Your Independent Film

Ben Lyons (Producer) gives expert video advice on: What are the most popular genres? and more...

What is a 'genre'?

Nobody likes to have their movie put into a box, but a genre is just style of movie whether it's a comedy, a romantic comedy, a horror film, a teen slasher film. Genres can get more and more specific as you want them, but they're basically about: What kind of movie is it? Is it a drama? Is it an action movie? Is it a period piece? Is it a horror movie? That's pretty much what a genre is.

Popular genres go in waves. In the 70s you had a movie like 'Love Story', which became a national phenomenon. Obviously there were romantic comedies in the 1980s, and now horror movies are popular. Genres come and go in terms of being hot at the box office and successful. Somebody once said that if you have horses, elephants, and swords, you're probably going to make some money. The things like that are never going anywhere. Period pieces, huge sweeping swashbuckling epics, are timeless, but they're expensive nowadays, so it's a big risk. Comic book movies do well and things with star power do well, so movie genres are always coming and going in terms of what's hot at the box office.

Can genres be mixed together?

Independent films don't really get put into an entire box. Sometimes they're a mix of several genres. Independent movies can be funny, they can be moving, they can be thought provoking, all at once. A movie like 'Little Miss Sunshine' has its funny moments, but then it's also very serious and sad, and makes you think about your family, and life. It's dark and it doesn't really fit into one genre. Is it a comedy? Is it a drama? Is it a romantic kind? What is it? It doesn't really fit into any kind of box.