To what extent do generic conventions be seen to restrict film makers, or to provide a recognisable template to which film makers flourish.
(usually 1 hour – had 20 mins )
I feel that film-makers have genre specific templates, results in the same storyline and narrative being regurgitated over and over again. I believe that this will quickly bore the audience if this was all that film makers did, and would stop them going to see and even watching new movies, as they have already seen it all before. This would, in turn, kill the film industry.
For example, western films used the same template over and over. Based in a desert, had Red Indians, Bandits, an Antagonist and Protagonist, wooden houses, saloons, gun face-offs, horses, cattle, guns and cowboys. All of these things are used in almost every western film ever made. This made the genre become quite boring and repetitive, and if you look at the current film market today, westerns have pretty much died off. A ‘new’ western film has not been released for many years, which shows that the format of using a template did not work well for this genre.
Horror films all now seem to follow this trend. They usually contain; Helpless women, dark rooms and environments, set in suburbs or places (close to home), contain an Antagonist or killer who is usually some sort of ‘deformed’ male, teenage girls, sex, drugs, a weapon. These are all used (one way or another) in most horror films. For example, in Dracula, the weapon they use against him is a crucifix. In the Exorcist, they use Holy water. In the Shining, Jack Nicholson’s character uses a fire axe. In Nightmare on Elm Street, Freddy Kruger has makeshift claws. Many horror films follow in these conventions, but for some reason, unlike western, horror films are still being mass produced and made by the bucket load. This is possibly due to the fact that people want to see horror films for a different reason to Westerns. For this reason, using a template in a horror film seems to work, as the audience go to horror films to see the blood, gore and deaths that it contains, rather than going to see a compelling and intriguing storyline. In Saw for example, they had already bought the rights up to Saw 8, which shows that they plan on re-selling the same storyline and template, before they have even made 3 films prior to it.
Another Genre that does this is ‘RomComs’. These films take the usual ‘Boy meets girl, falls in love, split up, get back together’ storyline and uses it in most films that are made for the genre. The ending very rarely changes in RomCom’s, as the audience go to see them to get a good feeling from the film, so this makes the films storyline boring and predictable.
I feel that if film-makers use a template for a film, it really hinders them in their ability to have total creative control during the production of their own film.