Mixing Genres in Your Script (Plus Examples)
As the world of screenwriting has gotten more popular over the years, people began to mix genres as a way to push the envelope of screenwriting forward. Some mixed-genre pieces work better than others, but it’s a lot more in the mainstream today than it once was.
If you're looking for an exercise for your own writing, look at one of your script ideas or completed scripts and see how you can implement a mixed genre into it. This doesn't mean you have to change the entire plotline, but know how a mixed-genre can affect it.
To highlight the importance and popularity of mixed genres, down below will take a closer look at examining what a mixed-genre is. From there, we'll discuss a few mixed-genres and some examples of each. Let's get started!
What is a Mixed Genre?
A mixed-genre is precisely what it sounds like, a combination of genres. In the early days of screenwriting, you might have a story that is solely meant as a comedy, drama, noir film, etc. Today, that's not the case anymore.
Over the years, screenwriters have started to experiment with combining genres as a way to create original and exciting films. Plus, it adds a lot of extra flavor to the creative process with your writing when you have more than one genre to work with.
Comedy and Drama or Comedy and Horror
Comedy is probably the most natural genre to add to any other style. Whether you're writing a thriller or a drama, adding comedic elements to it can spruce up your script and make it easier for viewers to digest. The Coen brothers are experts at creating dark comedy stories that have elements of drama and comedy throughout most of their films.
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Even in the more severe and extreme sense of genre with horror, we still see a lot of horror films feature elements of comedy. For example, we can see the combination of comedy and horror in Get Out and Us from Jordan Peele.
Adding comedy to any script will certainly give it another dimension you might’ve not considered before.
● Get Out (2017) - Horror and Comedy
● Us (2019) - Horror and Comedy
● Fargo (1996) - Drama and Comedy
● A Serious Man (2009) - Drama and Comedy
Coming of Age and Horror
Another unusual combination of genres is the standard coming of age story, but implementing it in with a polar opposite style. Generally, with a coming of age story, we typically follow a young boy or girl and how their relatable life unfolds.
With the method of combining it with something opposite, we get a unique story that gives us something completely different than the ordinary.
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● Let the Right One (2008) - Coming of Age and Horror
● It (2017) - Coming of Age and Horror
● Snowtown (2011) - Coming of Age and Thriller
Musical and Drama
Musicals were probably the first genre of screenplays that featured elements of other genres. Since there have to be scenes in between the musical performances, there's usually an implementation of different genres at this point.
Generally speaking, musicals implement elements of drama and comedy, but there aren’t any rules when it comes to mixing genres.
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● La La Land (2016) - Musical and Romance
● Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) - Musical and Horror
● Frozen (2013) - Musical and Animation
Other Mixed Genres
When it comes to mixing genres, there aren't any rules. Of course, your screenplay should have a consistent style, and you don't want to get carried away too much. However, don't be afraid to add elements of individual styles into your script.