An excerpt from my script review for Stir of Echoes which will be available 08/15/16:
1.) Marketability of the Idea
Are horror scripts selling?
Today I want to take a genuine look at this question.
After reviewing LIGHTS OUT, my opinion was that if you could write horror, you definitely should. (I even suggested trying it even if you didn’t specialize in it.)
And then last week I had a discussion with a manager I’ve been going back and forth with and brought up the idea of taking my own advice.
I was urged to avoid horror, as it’s currently a “tough sell”.
Before dismissing the advice, know that this individual isn’t exactly new to the business. This comes after his having an issue selling a script that was both on the Black and Blood Lists, and he still had a hard time.
Can horror really be that out of demand?
(After reading the script in question, I’m curious if it wasn’t the project that was the issue, not the genre. It was a GREAT idea as a logline, but then the script failed, in my opinion, to truly deliver on what was promised.)
Business hats on…
As some of you know, I have an online retail business.
There are products the boss and I keep in stock on a regular basis, because we make decent profit on them AND they’re generally in demand regardless of the time of year.
These “staple products” are how I view horror projects for studios and producers.
This genre has the most dedicated audience and in most cases, turns a healthy profit.
Let’s look at the second portion of that statement.
Here are some more popular examples, and are there a ton of cheesy ones that go straight to video? Sure, but there’s still a dedicated audience like our beloved Captain who watches most of them.
The cheesy ones tend to have lower budgets too, so producers have an easier time getting their money back.
Again, looking at this from a business standpoint, as a studio executive, I would want to schedule a certain percentage of my projects for horror each year, because they are the best chance I have for a return on my investment compared to other genres.
But am I missing something? Am I simply cherry picking horror examples for financial analysis?
Is the movie industry truly different from other businesses in terms of rate of return and hedging one’s bets?
I’m the first to admit I don’t know everything, and would love to hear from those of you who are in the industry.
Maybe the manager I’m chatting with has customers who aren’t interested in horror, and that’s why I was given this particular advice.
Or maybe I’m completely wrong and horror’s run its course for the time being.
Please, voice your suggestions either way.
Oh, and since we’re here for it…
Want more helpful screenwriting tips and movie/script reviews? Follow this link to our Discussion Forum.
And be sure to check out our Notes Service, where I give my detailed thoughts and suggestions on your script.