When it comes to film producing, both investors and distributors are continually finding ways to reduce their risk and increase the opportunity for reward. One way to get the attention of these folks, is to focus on film genres that sell.
A while back, a good friend sent me a feature drama project to review. I took a look at the project and let him know that unless he got some serious star talent in the film, the prospects for selling it would be limited. This is because independently produced dramas can be a tough sell, even with star talent.
While we are on the subject of “tough sells” consider avoiding comedies that are too edgy… Meaning there’s a lot of sex, cursing, or drug use. Outside of appealing to the market, there are certain international territories (like China) that have censor boards. And these countries wont even consider films that touch on subjects they deem too controversial.
With all this in mind, I came up with an idea for my friend’s film. I read the script again, and realized it wouldn’t take too much to turn his edgy indie drama, with a no-star cast into an action film. In fact, it would make the script even better. This suggestion came to me for one reason only – Around the world, ACTION sells. And you usually don’t need an A-lister to sell it.
Finding Film Genres That Sell
Action films fit into a category referred to as “evergreen.” These films play well internationally because you don’t need to know the language to understand the action. And as a result, when I attend film markets lots of buyers ask if I have action films.
In addition to action, other film genres that sell include sci-fi and horror. These films tend to be attractive because they have an easy identifiable, built-in audience. And if you find these genres are not interesting to you artistically, you might consider making Christmas themed, dog or cat films… Or heck, sometimes non-offensive RomComs tend to also attract buyers.
All of this to say, you need to find the balance between art and business. You have to decide your goals for the film. If your goal is to get your independent voice out there with an edgy drama, you’re welcome to do so. Just know that this may reduce your distribution opportunities.
And if your goal is to make money on the film, your best bet would be to focus on film genres that sell. If you’re interested in learning more about developing your film, check out my series on film distribution.