The action world is full of memorable one-liners. Gangster films have sinister mobsters and ruthless hoodlums. Dramas are all about serious realism while screwball comedies can get away with fart jokes.  Adventure films have exotic locales, but if you’re writing a western, you better have dusty towns and six-shooters. Science fiction scores with aliens and futuristic technology. And when it comes to slasher films, don’t hold back – the audience is actually rooting for the killer.

Understanding film genres (and sub-genres) is important, because let’s be honest: people rarely go to the movies to be surprised.  They know the action hero will survive, that the girl will get the guy, and the villains will get their just deserts. Nobody goes to a rom-com to face reality.

The truth is that love is hell and sometimes the bad guys win, but in the movies, love is a holy elixir and the hero always saves the day. Screenwriting is not about reinventing the wheel. The key to writing a sellable script is to understand the genre and meet the expectations of its audience.


Romance film can be defined as a genre wherein the plot revolves around the love between two protagonists. This genre usually has a theme that explores an issue within love, including but not limited to: love at first sight, forbidden…



A Mystery/Suspense film centers on a person of authority, usually a detective, that is trying to solve a mysterious crime. The main protagonist uses clues, investigation, and logical reasoning. The biggest element in these films is a sense of “whodunit” suspense, usually created through visual cues and unusual plot twists.…



Supernatural film is a genre that centers around supernatural elements, such as ghosts, gods, goddesses, and miracles. Supernatural films deal with the unknown questions of life; therefore, they tend to incorporate religious elements into the plot. Since they emphasize the unknown, Supernatural films are considered quite suspenseful. These films often cross over into other genres, creating hybrids like Supernatural-Comedy and Supernatural-Drama.…



A Sport Film revolves around a sport setting, event, or an athlete. Often, these films will center on a single sporting event that carries significant importance. Sports films traditionally have a simple plot that builds up to the significant sporting event. This genre is known for incorporating film techniques to build anticipation and intensity. Sport films have a large range of sub-genres, from comedies to dramas, and are more likely than other genres to be based true-life events.…


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