Mixing genres

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  • Mixing genres

    Hello!

    It's been always told, that do not mix genres, just pick one and go with it.

    1) When I do have big bang action in the beginning, and later it goes into territory of horror, is there a chance that action spoils mood for horror?

    2) Instead of action I should introduce my horror character? Or when I introduce my horror character before action, is the reader confused?

    Please give me your thoughts about those matters?

    p.s. first this kind of movie that pops into my mind is "From dusk till dawn".

    Thank you,

    Mankiboi

  • #2
    Re: Mixing genres

    I've personally found it easier to stick with one genre, and hammer it home. Doesn't mean you have to -- but you don't want people to read your script and then say "what genre was that?" or "so you wrote a comedy/horror/action/thriller/romance type of thing?"

    I would try to open and stick with your genre. People go to horror because they want to see horror -- don't wait until Act 2 for horror. People go to action because they want to see action. If you are doing an action/horror, then show both.

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    • #3
      Re: Mixing genres

      Mixing genres can be a way to write a fresh script, but the big considerations are to let the audience know what they are getting early so they don't feel tricked, to find a pleasing and consistent-enough tone, and to make sure you have something that works for people emotionally.

      Genres are designed to meet the emotional needs of a certain group of fans. Romantic comedies are written in a tried-and-true way to give their fans the vicarious emotions of hoping for love, not being sure, and then finding true love. Action-adventures are to give fans of that genre the vicarious feeling of conquering dangerous foes at great risk and emerging a hero.

      If your story starts as one thing and turns into something else without warning, is your audience able to feel and appreciate the emotional roller coaster you take them on, or is it disappointing, satisfying fans of neither genre? If you're not careful, you may disappoint fans of both the genres you combine by not giving anyone the emotional payoff they want and expect. Then again, if you're a really skilled storyteller, it's possible to create a hybrid that works -- you have a breakout hit, meaning people of many types can enjoy your whole ride and find it very satisfying and fresh. It depends on your skill at creating effective emotion beyond genre expectations.

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      • #4
        Re: Mixing genres

        It's my firm belief that action has no place in a horror script/film. I can't think of one single great horror film that has a car chase.

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        • #5
          Re: Mixing genres

          i am compelled to beleive that bio's comment is a badump moment. horror is action is so many ways.

          vig

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          • #6
            Re: Mixing genres

            Originally posted by vig
            i am compelled to beleive that bio's comment is a badump moment. horror is action (in?) so many ways.

            vig
            Not true. Where's all the action scenes in The Shining, Rosemary's Baby, The Exorcist, Psycho, etc?

            The problem with mostly all modern horror movies is that they do have action scenes, as opposed to horror/suspense scenes, from the music to the editing to the pace to the acting...watch Scream to see what I mean. That is the antithesis of scary. It's action, not horror. Leatherface chasing that girl with a chainsaw in the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre...that's horror.

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            • #7
              Re: Mixing genres

              I think it's a question of tone. Action can be horrifying if you make it horrifying.


              IMHO you start telling your story with the first line on the page. If you are telling a horror story, you better start by telling a horror story and not some action movie. The action, if you start with it, better be horrifying.

              Action that is not horrifying has no place in a horror script just as a horrifying scene has no place in a rom-com or any other story.

              My .02

              Fortune favors the bold - Virgil

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              • #8
                Re: Mixing genres

                let's say a car chase is considered action, as you've stated. it's not that two cars are chasing each other, there are people driving the cars, so in terms of this discussion i would bridge my statements by saying it's people, chasing people.

                the most compelling and dramatic pursueing scene in the shining is the chase scene in the hedge maze with jack and the boy.

                that was action combined with horror that is movie legend.

                vig

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                • #9
                  Re: Mixing genres

                  Originally posted by vig
                  let's say a car chase is considered action, as you've stated. it's not that two cars are chasing each other, there are people driving the cars, so in terms of this discussion i would bridge my statements by saying it's people, chasing people.

                  the most compelling and dramatic pursueing scene in the shining is the chase scene in the hedge maze with jack and the boy.

                  that was action combined with horror that is movie legend.

                  vig
                  A chase scene can exist in horror (TCM, Shining, Halloween, etc.) but it all depends on how the scene plays out, and how different elements are used, such as editing, music, sound, acting, pace, cinematography, directing, etc. Those elements are used to make chase scenes fit into the horror genre, just like how they can be altered to make a chase scene fit into a comedy. Chase scenes exist in every genre, it's all about how various film elements are used to create a certain tone and feel for the scene.

                  So if the ending of Scream, for example, was supposed to be horrifying, they failed on a massive level.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Mixing genres

                    that's your opinion, if we based it purely on the numbers, the film grossed a gazillion dollars and it did what it was intended to do. Apparently it scared or entertained the audience.

                    vig

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                    • #11
                      Re: Mixing genres

                      Originally posted by vig
                      that's your opinion, if we based it purely on the numbers, the film grossed a gazillion dollars and it did what it was intended to do. Apparently it scared or entertained the audience.

                      vig
                      I never said it failed from a financial standpoint. I won't say that because it's not true. But what is true is that it's not a real horror movie. It entertained people the same way action movies and comedies do, not the way horror movies do. That is how it failed. It presents itself as a horror film but ends up being the opposite.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Mixing genres

                        Some of my favorite films are mixed genres. Take Beverly Hills Cop, for example. Great action flick. Great comedy flick. The action scenes were tense and gritty. The humor was dead on.

                        It certainly isn't easy to write that way, though. My first script tanked because of mixing genres. I wrote a story in the vein of Ghostbusters, but I wanted the horror/supernatural angle to be a lot more intense.

                        I wrote a wierd, wild script that had lots of crazy slapstick and one-liners, but it also had a ghostly villain that was pretty creepy. I went out of the way to rewrite and rewrite it to make the spooky aspects as truly scary as possible. I thought this was great because I truly thought I was "covering all the angles."

                        The script earned me representation, but everywhere my manager took it, we got mixed responses. One place would tell us to get rid of all the stupid humor and make it a total, full-on horror flick. Other places would tell us to tone down the horror and make it a Disney flick! ARGGHH!!!

                        One night a couple of years ago, a small production company was poised to buy the script. I was SOOOO excited. In the end, though, the execs that ran the company got into an argument over whether or not it was a horror or comedy, and they got so frustrated with the issue that they dropped the script all together!!!!

                        I've since learned that you really have to settle on one genre and roll with it. That's not to say you can't mix other elements in, but the genre has to be obvious to the reader. In the case of the script mentioned above, I would have honestly been smarter to tone down the silliness and go with horror. That was the heart of the story. In other words, don't wind up like me and have a room full of people ready to write you a check break into an argument over your story's genre!!!!!

                        Right now, I'm writing what I might have once called an Action comedy. Now though, even though the story has many funny aspects, I'm calling it simply an action film. Why? I took a look at my log line. I took a look at my synopsis. I took a look at my characters and what I have fleshed out thus far, and it became obvious that action is the core to this story. When writing it, though I might want to throw in some jokes, I know that making it action-packed is my primary concern. I feel like anyone that picks up the script will know that it's action, and that's where you want your reader to be.

                        If they have to guess, then your story has issues.
                        Goonies never say die!

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                        • #13
                          Re: Mixing genres

                          i don't know what you should do, but i'd keep an ear to what your story tells you to do.

                          and then try that. something knows what it's doing then.

                          good luck.
                          Last edited by AnconRanger; 01-07-2006, 09:20 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Mixing genres

                            I posed a similar question about a week ago (First Scene: Action, or Character?) Both methods had identifiable elements that spoke â€-supernatural†genre, but I was worried that the action beginning was setting up the audience for an action flick, when in reality, it was a supernatural thriller.

                            Although the action scene was dear to my heart, I reasoned that if I were to have an excitement-equivalent action scene in my story, I should save it until the end, where the audience will be surprised and delighted by it. If I put it right at the front however, it would mean that I would have to continually top it throughout the rest of the story - which would turn my story into an action flick instead.

                            My .02

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                            • #15
                              Re: Mixing genres

                              This discussion is all well and good, and there's nothing wrong in practice with mixing genres. But bottom line, if you're asking about writing specs, it's better to write solid, definable genre scripts than to write anything that you have to try yourself to figure out where it belongs in the scheme of things.

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