Film Genres – Week 8

Yuanyuan gave us a lecture on film genres today.

Genre is a specific category of film; action, comedy, romance, sci-fi etc. You can get mixed genres such as romcom (romantic comedy) and crime-dramas.

A subgenre is a category within a genre. For example, some subgenres in horror are slasher horrors, comedy horrors and gothic horrors. For comedy there is slapstick comedy, mockumentaries, spoofs and dark comedies to name but a few.

So why are genres useful? Well, they let the audience know what they watching. Some people don’t want to be scared by thrillers or cry at tragedies so the genre makes them aware of how the movie might make them react. Genres are also useful for marketing; the genre is used to promote the film and target their specific audience. It can let producers know what type of film to make as there might be a type of genre becoming more popular, which could make more money as more people would want to see it.

Horror films

Genre is most recognisable by the emotional effect it tries to arouse in the audience, to horrify them. We were endlessly warned not to go down the horror path for our animation but we really wanted to give it a go so we took the risk, however, what we are aiming for is more of a thriller than a horror.

Genre Conventions and Iconography

  • Story formulas – the structure of the story, the plot.
  • Theme – unifying idea that the film expresses through imagery or narrative.
  • Character types – genre films are often populated by specific character type.
  • Setting – where a movie’s action is located and how that environment is portrayed.
  • Presentation – many genres feature certain elements of cinematic language that communicates tone and atmosphere, lighting and music.

Cinema can also define genres through the imagery. The movie’s iconography consists of reoccurring symbolic imagery throughout the genre.

This next video gives examples of iconography in thrillers and is very handy to my team’s project:

Audiences expect the genre to give them something old but also something new, so a film can accept or rejects the conventional iconography of it’s genre.

This got us thinking about our narrative’s location. We could have it in the bedroom of an abandoned house, hospital or even a decrepit motel. Maybe somewhere that would emphasise our implicit meaning.

Our story already has some iconography of thrillers (mostly of horrors) in it with the dramatic lighting, shadows and typical camera techniques.



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