Working with Genre I

One of the most observable characteristics of American film is the continuing strength of genres or story forms. Genre is more than formula. More often, it is a type of story that has a visceral appeal to its audience. The scriptwriter who ignores the strength of that appeal does so at considerable cost. The Western, the gangster film, and the musical are forms synonymous with Hollywood. Film noir and the horror film, although originating in Europe, have proved to be enduring in North America. The popularity of genres means that most scriptwriters, during the course of their careers, will have to work with genre. Consequently, the screenwriter should understand genres and how to work with them. They are, in effect, a shorthand ...

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