Hot spit! September's almost over!
Where did the year go? I can't believe the fall films are already hitting the screens. It seems like only yesterday that I talked about the trend genres to write in 2002.
Let's look back and see how well my pseudo predictions turned out.
1. Fantasy - specifically magicky movies.
2. Ghost stories / Horror.
3. Animation (well, duh).
4. Offbeat thrillers.
5. War movies.
6. Science fiction.
1. Well, as far as fantasy goes, HARRY POTTER deux is on its way, as well as the third installment, so that genre seem safe. Although I have to say fantasy isn't an easy route to a spec sale. Specs by their nature have to be quite accessible, so perhaps a good, dense fantasy story would be difficult to properly tell. The fantasy I've seen bought and sold this year have been classic properties; books and legends that are at least slightly familiar to audiences.
2. Horror and ghost stories are still rock solid. A good, scary story is a perfect way to introduce yourself to the market. I also suspect that it's easier to get rewrite assignments off of a horror spec. It's also possible to keep the budget quite low if you focus on writing taut, suspenseful scenes.
3. This year I learned that animation is actually pretty much impossible to break into. The big boys at DreamWorks and Disney pulled a lot of hair to get where they are, and in return they write their own stuff. If animation's your dream, you must become an animator. The fact that nobody should write an animated spec should completely discourage you from trying it, unless you can write it as live action and hope that somebody envisions the piece as an animated feature. Then they still won't make it.
4. Offbeat thrillers are great as specs. Everybody is still looking for specs like these, but remember to keep them offbeat. A serial killer who paints his victims' toenails green is not offbeat.
5. War movies may finally have played themselves out, at least WWII movies have. Nineteenth century wars are hipper. Ancient history is an even better setting for a war movie, and that's still fairly expensive for a spec. Unless war is your thing, I have to say I'd avoid writing about it.
6. Science Fiction is hot, hot, hot. The old properties are being snapped up right and left, but new MATRIX-y stuff is even more fun. Speaking of THE MATRIX, when the hell is the next MATRIX movie coming out? Why are they teasing us with hints and bits and pieces when the movie is so far away?
So much for last year's predictions. What's on the horizon now? Keep in mind that my speculation is consistently rash -- most of what I anticipate will not come to be.
1. The Western. The gritty 70's era westerns, not the Guess Jeans-ad westerns. I may eat these words with extra mustard soon, but the post-UNFORGIVEN westerns didn't slake the thirst for the purity of this genre. What about an offbeat western? A modern western? Trailer park-y western? Anyone?
2. The gritty cop drama. Several such films will probably hit this year, bringing the oomph of LAW & ORDER and C.S.I to the big screen. The trick is to retain the character development (think NYPD BLUE) that ongoing series allow.
3. A new-millennium Vegas movie. Or a great period Vegas movie. Anything that capitalizes on the place-that-isn't-a-place locale. It's such a CASABLANCA-like setting... a waystation, a no-man's-land where nothing is really what it seems. Great place for a thriller/romance/mystery.
Nothing else seems to be bubbling up, at least in my mind. Truly, the next genre can't be predicted -- it will just appear as a great little independent flick, or a studio picture that turns a simple genre into an Oscar sweep.
In other words, it's up to the writers. What genre will you revive?