Friday, September 23, 2011

Dramas, the Lost Genre

What's not making it to the theater that we are missing?

What genre is not getting enough attention?

What kind of characters are you jonesing for?

How do we bring them back?

My opinion: Big, sweeping dramas like Terms of Endearment or Dead Poet's Society or The World According to Garp or Forrest Gump or Out of Africa or ET. The Help's success proves that dramas can do well. We need more.

I realize dramas are hard sells, especially original dramatic scripts. Dramas based on bestsellers usually win out over originals because they have a built-in audience.

It's very difficult to sell an original dramatic script. Period pieces (not including Jane Austen stories obviously) and Westerns are the kiss of death. Most times execs will pass outright on period pieces and westerns without even reading them. Perhaps if they have a big director and are based on an old movie, i.e. True Grit, there's a fighting chance.

With this in mind, writers are steering clear of drama, unless they are lucky enough to secure a writing gig to adapt a bestselling novel for which the studios have the rights. In the world of filmmaking, everyone's wanting to write the sure thing and dramas are not that.

I can't blame them. We all need to survive. Filmmaking is a business and we try to produce product that we know will sell. The more you are beaten down by a genre, the easier it is to give up the fight for its survival. And the dramatic genre has been getting a beating.

But at the same time, how can we ignore an incredible genre that has the power to change lives? Drama is the one genre that can touch a person's soul. Comedy, thrillers, action - they make great entertainment. But drama feeds your mind and body. It inspires, makes us laugh and cry, challenges us, and gets us thinking.

In fact, here's a few scenes from some great dramas that have always touched and inspired me:

We learn so much from a great drama. I hope we can find a way to resurrect this genre. The world needs some inspiration. Perhaps if we all ask for what we want, the studios will listen? We really don't know until we make that effort.

Here's mine: Please studios, make an effort to greenlight more dramas. Thank you.

No comments: