What does it mean to reinvent a genre?

Published by bizprat on

Genre films are constantly changing.

What are the great original films that have turned Hollywood upside down in recent years? What about the last few decades?

Movies like John Wick, The Matrix, Scream, The Usual Suspects, The Sixth Sense, District 9, Pulp Fiction, Alien, and many, many others all have something in common. They turned their respective genres and tropes upside down and delivered something completely original.

Genre films are back in trend today more than ever. These films don’t deal with mash ups or anything other than leaning into their respective genres. What they do differently is to focus on the tropics. They undermine, twist and totally shake it. They give the audience the comfort of the familiar before they pull the rug away from under their feet.

If you want to break into Hollywood with an original script, I recommend reinventing a genre.

What does it mean to reinvent a genre?

Look, I know I’m not a crazy famous screenwriter to give you advice on here. At best, I work every six months. I get paid to be here on this website. But just like the cool substitute teacher who’s been in the game too long, I’m here to tell you what it is. At no point on planet earth have there been so many people who have tried to write films. Sites like The Black List and Stage32 have provided great opportunities for people to break in. That is good news and bad news. The competition is tough.

The way to get read and rise is to become a genre authority. Choose one. Watch everything you can. Write down your list of tropes, then spend a few days thinking about how to break them.

At the beginning of this article, I wrote down a list of films. Everyone takes a tired genre and did something with it that ignited the world.

Watch John Wick. It took the story of the “last job” killer and did a “first job back” instead. If you look at the film from this perspective, it absolutely got people reading it.

Junk literature ‘His attitude towards gangsters made Quentin Tarantino a legend.

And we all know how Scream Slasher movies reinvented by calling out the tropics while still delivering the horrors.

My favorite example of this has to be The sixth Sense. We knew what ghost movies are like. We have seen so many haunting stories. This took a haunting story and turned it into a psychological thriller. It reinvented our understanding of haunted and motivated someone to help these lost souls find their way. It was such a clever way of understanding the tropics of what we wanted, tweaking it, and creating a groundbreaking story that is one of the greatest films of all time.

So if you’re trying to tackle a new movie writing strategy or come up with a movie idea, I suggest that you work on undermining and reinventing a genre that you love. It can be liberating, fun, and really refine your storytelling techniques.

Go write.

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