Thursday, September 30, 2010

What's In, What's Out

Now I'm not 100% convinced that genre really dictates sales -- not sub-genres certainly. Not to the final customers. But buyers aren't so convinced. And we sell to them.

They have no crystal ball which tells them what will sell well and so they go with what rules they can figure out from the market. And if the buyers aren't even selling to consumers -- but rather to other distributors or to retailers then "conventional wisdom" is even more important because the retailers/sub-distributors can only go by "well, this sold well last year". So just keep in mind who our buyers are: not regular people but rather people who have to market to people who in turn have to market to regular people.

So I'm talking here about the bottom of the well of the indy-feature market:

What's in?
  • Vampires. Of the non-sparkly variety. Right now they want horrible vampires, not sexy ones.
  • Creatures. Everyone loves creatures. The more creature-y the better. Mythical creatures. Creatures from the deep.
  • World Destruction. If you can put the numbers "2012" in your title, you're ahead of the game. Don't ask me why. World monuments must be destroyed. Empire State Building, Eiffel Tower. St. Louis Arch. That sort of thing. Blow 'em up. 
  • SyFy likes movies which are out-of-doors. Big. Out in the open. Not in confined spaces.

What's out?
  • Zombie pictures. Right, they do very well in North American theatrical but for whatever reason they don't do well overseas. And SyFy can't make a zombie picture work. Maybe AMC can -- we'll have to see. Maybe there's just been a glut of zombie pictures. Who knows? I have this whole theory about how a "zombie picture" isn't even a genre but that's a whole 'nuther story.
  • Pretty vampires. Apparently that market is already being well served thank you very much.
  • Non-descript aliens from the sky. Apparently we want creatures we have some sort of familiarity with. I dunno, like "octoshark" is better than some sort of new Alien. Apparently.  
So I have a script with zombies and alien creatures, a dude in a Mobile Infantry suit, a digital holographic cat, and a witch. They're just gonna hate that aren't they? I'm on page 42. All I have to do is that amount of work again and we'll have a feature. Well, maybe it should be 90 pages. I gotta get our main crew back out into the Wasteland again to fight dinobots...


    Chance Shirley said...

    Living in Alabama, I have all the "out-of-doors" anyone could ask for. And it is a cheap--free actually--place to shoot.

    That said, I still don't understand what SyFy wants. I guess I'll go look at their movie schedule.

    Also, I'm thinking we need another outlet for genre fare on basic cable.

    Chance Shirley said...

    So, SyFy is hyping a movie about a killer tree. But they don't like zombies or space aliens or robots.

    Whatevs, SyFy.

    Andrew Bellware said...

    They get low ratings with zombies. Who knows why? They just want better ratings to Universal doesn't fire them.