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Drum roll for the genre cookbook…

July 22, 2009

Not everyone needs a gimmick an angle for their blog, right?

If you are opinionated and/or interesting and/or insightful and/or funny and/or useful and/or colourful and/or surprising and/or practical people will want to read your stuff anyway, right?

So here’s my angle.

Like it or not, genre matters. A lot. It’s right up there with your title, your concept, your logline. You should know what genre you are working in, and what that means for your project. Genre is your friend.

So, I’m going to start polling people about what are the key films that capture the essence of given genres. Not simply your favourite films, but films that you think define the genre, that any new work would be measured against.

Each week I will suggest a new genre, and at the end of the week I will collate whatever results I get in. Tell me as much or as little as you want. Film titles only, or write something about why you have selected the films you have, what specifically do they have to say about the genre? Links to the scripts would be great, and to any articles you have written or read about same, I’ll collate those too.

In phase II I’ll start to go back through the genres and analyse the key films to draw out the commonalities and reach some conclusions about their typical ingredients. To produce a genre cookbook if you like.

Either comment on this post, or write something up on your own blog and link back here so I can track you, or use the hashtag #genrecookbook on Twitter. (Follow me here for updates.)

So, where to start? Somewhere easy. Not even with a whole genre, but a sub-genre.

Everyone needs a zombie spec in their portfolio, right? I recently had not one but two, count ’em, two — that’s one for each reader — high concept ideas for zombie flicks (ie, a 3 word logline which would tell you right off the bat what the film was about). But the only zombie film I remember seeing is Shaun of the Dead and I’m not sure that counts.

So, people, what are the key films that define the zombie genre, the must-sees or must-reads?

Next week I promise we’ll do something with a broader appeal.

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