Genre hopping

stock-photo-movie-poster-of-film-genres-vintage-background-53192449Once upon a time I was obsessed with film, so I enrolled in a film program at college. It didn’t take long for me to start thinking like a filmmaker, looking at the world in terms of camera angles and editing. I tried my hand at a variety of styles, which can be seen on my YouTube channel.

I looked at all kinds of films, and thought how much fun it would be to make films in different genres. Then I started writing the COPOUT screenplay, in which the different segments emulate (and even mesh) the standard film genres.

One day I told a fellow film student that I was working on a spaghetti western segment of COPOUT. He replied by telling me how much he would love to make is a spaghetti western. Oh yes, I was living the dream.

I realise that writing a story in a particular genre helps readers know whether they want to buy it or not. If you’re the type who read westerns, and I’ve written an Arthurian epic, you’re not going to buy my book. Occasionally genre crossing is successful, as in the original Star Wars film, which is at heart western, samurai movie, swords and sorcery fantasy, and sci-fi. Sometimes genre-mixing succeeds, but more often it fails, as in the case of Cowboys and Aliens, a film which the producers thought would satisfy people who liked westerns and/or sci-fi films.

Writing prose in the style of well-known movie types has been challenging and fun. I’ve done my best to capture the atmospheres and styles of each of these common tropes, and give them something fresh while anchoring them in the story I am trying to tell. Only you can say if I have succeeded.

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