Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Writing genres that are not your own

Okay so we all hear as screenwriters that you have to be specialized in a genre. And I get that. Mine is comedy. I've studied, written tons, feel like I'm just always getting better and better. Feel like it's really my specialty at this point. But, I also seem to be getting all these opportunities in other arenas. So what's a writer to do? Well heck, I'm not one for looking a writing opportunity in the mouth. So if it comes my way, then I jump on it! So I've recently been concepting for a Cartoon Network producer. Luckily most of what they want these days is comedy, so it wasn't that far off my comfort zone. But, the new shows on there are really zany. Push the envelope. Don't even have to make sense, as far as a world, that is. So that was something new for me. I was working with a writer friend who loves animation, so that helped. But even he had to wrap his brain around the fact that we really had to push our ideas. If it made sense, then it wasn't pushed far enough. And it was a fun exercise. And we ended up coming up with a bunch of ideas we really liked! We're still waiting to hear from the producer on what she liked, but I can say that I'm really happy with what we came up with. And if I hadn't tried to learn a new genre, I never would have had this chance. And most recently, an opportunity to write horror film shorts has come into my life. A producer I had written something for years ago, I contacted recently and he said he needed horror shorts. Okay, horror movies are the ONE thing I won't go see because they scare the heck out of me. Yes, I know, that's the point. But I can't sleep if I see them! So I don't go. But, again, I am not one to turn down an opportunity to write for a producer and get something actually produced. So I told him yep, I can do that! And proceeded to watch all the horror film samples he wanted me to see. Sure, I didn't sleep that whole week because I was scared out of my mind! And then also, once I'm writing, I get so many ideas they come to me at all hours of the night. But I've sort of learned part of being a writer means having odd sleep patterns at times. But so far the producer has approved two of our ideas! And I plan to give him even more. The more produced, the better, in my opinion. And now I have this awful feeling I'm going to become an expert in writing horror movies! LOL Which would be so funny since that was so not my intention. But I don't know. I feel like being a screenwriter is a journey. And we don't always know where we will end up. And that's it not really our decision to figure out when and where our success will happen. Sure, we can guide it. We can study the craft we want to excel in. But screenwriting is all about story telling. If you learn the craft, you can learn to write almost any genre. You just may surprise yourself where your success comes from. Success in any form would be fine by me.